Military OneSource provides tax assistance service
As tax season nears, Military OneSource and H&R Block have joined forces again to provide a free online tax preparation service for service members.
During an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel, Tony Jackson, a program analyst for the Military OneSource program office, detailed the services available for troops and their families.
“Military OneSource is a gateway to a free tax preparation service partnered with H&R Block,” he said. “We also have tax consultants who can provide assistance, whether it’s seeking and filling out tax forms or any other tax-related information.”
Jackson emphasized it is a safe and secure way for service members to prepare taxes online.
Fiscal cliff legislation affects military, civilian paychecks
The legislation President Barack Obama signed Jan. 2 postponed the fiscal cliff and means changes to military and civilian paychecks, Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials said today.
The legislation increases Social Security withholding taxes to 6.2 percent. For the past two years during the “tax holiday” the rate was 4.2 percent.
The increase in Social Security withholding taxes affects both military and civilian paychecks, officials said.
For civilian employees, officials said, this will mean a 2-percent reduction in net pay.
For military personnel, changes to net pay are affected by a variety of additional factors such as increases in basic allowances for housing, subsistence, longevity basic pay raises and promotions. Service members could see an increase in net pay, no change or a decrease, military personnel and readiness, officials said.
For military members, Social Security withholding is located on their leave and earnings statement in the blocks marked “FICA taxes” — for Federal Insurance Contributions Act.
Defense Department civilians will see the change on their leave and earnings statement under “OASDI” — for old age, survivors, and disability insurance.
AF releases selective reenlistment bonus list
Three Air Force specialty codes have been added to the selective re-enlistment bonus list, and two have seen an increase in bonus amounts, Air Force Personnel Center officials said. In addition, one career field has been removed from the SRB list and one will see a bonus decrease effective today.
The selective re-enlistment bonus program is a force structure tool that helps the Air Force maintain the right numbers and skill levels in critical and chronically undermanned fields, said Michael McLaughlin, AFPC chief of re-enlistments.
“The list isn’t significantly different from earlier, however one career field is being removed from the list, so Airmen need to be aware of the changes. Also, a public affairs career field conversion will affect its members as well,” he said.
Increases and additions were based on retention/manning trends and career field manager input.
Decreases were the result of two career fields merging; the career field being removed has achieved health retention and manning status, McLaughlin said.
Reservists to get help with travel vouchers
Air Force Reserve Command is adding resources and changing business practices to make travel voucher processing easier for reservists.
Throughout FY13 the command will increase the number of Defense Travel System travel technicians to assist reservists with their travel vouchers, according to Michael Burgess, AFRC chief of financial operations at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. Placing travel technicians at the unit-level will help speed up the voucher process, Burgess said.
In addition, the Air Force Reserve Order Writing System will change some of its business rules that allow travel orders to import into DTS for travel arrangements and subsequent voucher filing. Once these changes are implemented (known as DTS: Phase II), nearly two-thirds of the AROWS-R orders generated each month will be imported into DTS.
“Right now, at our tenant locations, when a reservist files a voucher it goes from the unit to the base financial services office and then to the Air Force Financial Services Center at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., for computation and payment,” Burgess said. “If there is an error, the travel voucher gets sent back to the base for the member to correct the error.