Tax Tips: Free tax help for members of the military

If you or your spouse are in the military, you might qualify to receive free help with filing your federal tax return. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is available to members of the military, and the process is managed by the Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC).

The VITA sites on military bases provide free tax advice and tax preparation services. They are also trained to deal with issues specifically related to the military, such as combat zone tax benefits.

To utilize the free services, you must bring the following items with you to the military VITA site: photo identification, social security cards (you, spouse, and children), all relevant tax statements you've received like W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s. Also bring your prior year's tax return if you have it, and your banking information in the event that you'd like your refund direct deposited.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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