U.S.

December 5, 2013

Prepare now for tax season, DOD official advises

Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — With a month left before the start of tax season, service members should begin gathering documentation to file their 2013 taxes, said the director of the Pentagon’s office of family policy and children and youth said.

In a recent interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Barbara Thompson suggested visiting the Military OneSource website for tax filing resources, and to learn what will be necessary to file, such as W2 forms, Social Security numbers and receipts for deductions such as child care, education, medical expenses and donations, among other write-offs.

Tax preparers at Military OneSource will do short-form tax filing free of charge for service members and their families, Thompson said.

Relocations and deployments have tax implications, Thompson noted. For example, deployed service members can receive an extension to file taxes after the normal April 15 filing date.

“It’s very helpful to have someone who is experienced to help you through the cumbersome issue of taxes and tax returns,” she added.

The tax preparers at Military OneSource are up to date on changes in tax laws, and can answer military-specific questions, Thompson said.

Installations also offer volunteer income tax assistance to service members and their families, while certain banks and credit unions provide education and training on tax preparation, Thompson said. She advised that service members organize their taxes by starting a file beginning each Jan. 1 for the following year’s tax papers, such as receipts and other write-offs.

“You don’t want to wait until the last minute,” she said.

Service members and families who prepare long-form taxes with deductions such as mortgages and rental properties might want to consider hiring a tax expert to file for them, Thompson said.

“It’s best to get advice to make sure you have everything covered,” she added.

Additionally, people who do their own taxes need to stay on top of current tax information, Thompson said. “Sometimes tax laws change, so you have to be really smart about doing your own taxes,” she added.

States’ tax laws often vary, too, and because of relocations, some service members have to file local taxes in more than one state, she added.

“That’s where (tax consultants) can really be of great value to make sure you know what the requirements are for states,” Thompson said.

Filing federal and state tax returns usually results in either a tax return or money owed back to the government. Expecting to receive a tax return, but instead finding out that money is owed can be a shock, Thompson said. Looking at W2s to determine how much money in taxes is being withheld is a good indicator of whether or not one will owe money.

Service members who receive a tax return face important decisions on what to do with the money, Thompson said.

“Do you use it to buy down debt, or put it in a savings account?” she asked, advising people to not blow their tax refunds in a spending frenzy of unnecessary purchases.

A tax return is also well-spent in a retirement savings account, she added.

“It’s important to think about what you’re going to do with that money and how you can best utilize it for your financial well-being,” she said.

Meeting with a financial planner to learn the “lay of the land,” and what tax deductions might apply to a service member’s finances is a good idea, Thompson said. “It’s really important to be savvy about that.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Airmen encouraged to vote, obey AFI on political activities

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — As the political season approaches, we should all be encouraged to do our civic duty and go out and vote. However, as an Air Force member, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here is a short noninclusive list to help you determine what is or is...
 
 

Cyber Airmen create virtual help desk

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) — The Air Force Enterprise Service Desk is going virtual, and Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland will be the first to see it as it rolls out across the Air Force, starting the end of August. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has challenged...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Johnny Saldivar)

Proper flag display honors nation’s history, ultimate sacrifices

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — From front yards to the top of the White House, people have flown U.S. flags as emblems for sacrifice and independence. But to honor Old Glory, they must display it with proper eti...
 

 

Avoid legal issues this political season

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Election season is right around the corner and political campaigning is ramping up. It’s a good time to review campaigning restrictions placed on military members and civilian Department of Defense employees. Restrictions are imposed to avoid any inference that an individual’s political activities imply or appear to imply official...
 
 

AF Assistance Fund may not hit 2014 goal

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — In spite of persistent economic difficulties, active-duty and retired Airmen have contributed more than $6 million to the Air Force Assistance Fund, or AFAF, during this year’s fund drive. Although the annual AFAF drive has yet to garner this year’s $6.4 million goal, contributions continue to roll in from the 79 assistance...
 
 

Social media requires care, caution with political material

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) – Most Americans are born with a political rattle in their hands and learn to shake it early. While U.S. culture promotes opinions and debate, Airmen should be reminded that, while on active duty — and even for reservists who may be perceived as active military representatives, participating in politics...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin