The holiday season is in full swing, which means there is a slim chance you are worrying about tax prep season, right?
Of course you’re not. Taxes aren’t usually something you worry about until after the New Year, but now is actually a great time to think about switching your tax forms to electronic delivery, and there’s an easy way to do it.
Why should you opt-in to e-delivery?
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service is urging all active-duty and reserve service members, retirees, annuitants and civilian customers to switch their W-2 forms, IRS forms 1095-B/C and Leave and Earnings Statements over to electronic delivery instead of paper copies.
That way, those who like to file as soon as the New Year rolls in can get access to their forms in the first week of January instead of waiting for them to arrive in their mailbox a month later. Cutting out the hard copies also means your forms are more secure – there’s no chance of them being stolen or delivered to someone else.
Also, the more people opt in to e-delivery, the less it costs to physically mail tax forms. The DFAS doesn’t pick up the tab for those mailings, the DoD does, and each military service has to pay its share.
And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, let’s put that into perspective.
By the end of 2016, there will have been 2,507,036 wage and tax forms mailed out to members of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps who have not opted in to e-delivery, according to DFAS statistics. Each form costs 60 cents to mail. That’s a $1,504,221.60 bill that the services have to pay.
And that number doesn’t even include the LES forms that are sent out from month to month, or the forms that go out to Department of Defense civilians and other beneficiaries. Those numbers weren’t immediately available to calculate, but I think it’s safe to say that they would add up to a lot of money that could be put to good use elsewhere – if people opt in to e-delivery only.
Now, if a hard copy is what you need, that’s fine. Tax forms like the new 1095-B/C, by default, are mailed due to federal laws and other regulations. But MyPay gives you the choice to change that.
What if the Affordable Care Act changes?
There’s been talk of President-elect Donald Trump possibly trying to change parts of the Affordable Care Act, so you may be wondering why you should worry about the 1095B/C form. DFAS said that if the ACA is changed or replaced, those forms will likely remain necessary to verify health insurance coverage.
How to make the e-delivery switch
All federal employees, both civilian and military, should have access to the DFAS MyPay website. Once you’re logged onto the site, you’ll be at the main menu.
Under the “Taxes” section, click where it says “Turn on/off hard copy of IRS Form 1095.” If the current 1095 delivery method is listed as “electronic only” already, then you’re good to go – no action is needed. But if it says “hard copy” or even “electronic and hard copy,” you’re given the option to change to electronic only. Click on the “yes” button, then “yes” a second time to confirm it.
Think you did this already? Check again. The 1095-B and 1095-C forms were new as of January 2016, so DFAS stats show very few people have opted in to e-delivery for them yet.
Back on the MyPay main menu, you can do the same procedure for your W-2. It’s listed right above the option for the 1095.
Civilian DOD employees should also opt in for the LES forms, too, which are the records that come out every pay period that are sent to each individual reflecting their earnings, deductions and leave information. Under “Pay Changes” on the MyPay main menu, click where it says “turn on/off hard copy of LES.” Then follow the same procedure as above.
For more information, contact your local tax office.