Sydney and her husband doing their taxes online. Sydney is holding their baby.

MilTax: A Modern Way for Military Families To File Their Taxes

My husband doesn’t like to do it.

File our taxes, that is.

I, on the other hand, find myself in anticipatory glee each year — as the end of January rolls around — wondering what our returns will total, dreaming up our next splurge … a king bed? A new television? With our single military income and multiple-dependent household, tax season usually leaves us walking around with a little extra money in our pockets each spring, and this has become a big motivator in filing our taxes promptly each year.

I seem to be mostly alone in my love for tax season. I find most people I know dread filing their taxes and put it off until the last possible second. While I can’t relate, I can imagine the reluctance many Americans share is a result of owing money after filing, or because they believe some of the misconceptions that exist about filing taxes.

Perhaps, people anticipate the process will take an extensive amount of time to complete or require fees and payments they cannot afford at the time. Or, perhaps, people worry about running into certain roadblocks, such as residency issues, lost paperwork, or the inability to answer certain questions with accuracy. They may fear the IRS auditing them and not having proper validation to prove themselves. Or, in the military world, people may worry about how they will account for unique military living situations, like OCONUS assignments or multistate residences, or military-specific tax breaks, such as deadline extensions, combat pay exclusions, deductions for moving expenses and uniforms (among many other things).

I think the bottom line with filing taxes as a military family is it can be both complicated and overwhelming in certain situations — even if it does ultimately prove to be financially favorable in many cases.

Because of this reality, one might think there was a better way for military families to file their taxes that was simpler and more catered to the specific financial situations that arise in military life … and I am happy to share that there is. It is called MilTax, an e-filing tax resource and software available through Military OneSource and the Defense Department.

MilTax is available to anyone eligible for Military OneSource benefits, which includes active duty, reservists, National Guard, transitioning veterans up to 365 days post separation or retirement honorably or medically discharged service members, DOD civilians, survivors and more. Services are available not only to service members, but their immediate family members as well.

Consultations for assistance or support can be virtually scheduled 24/7, and individuals also have the option to receive in-person assistance at Volunteer Income Tax Support Assistance office locations on installations. VITA support may be available elsewhere in your state but is not available in every state or location.

Unlike the traditional tax filing methods and e-filing programs, MilTax is completely free to users. The software provider guarantees calculations to be 100% accurate. Military families can count on receiving all credits and tax deductions they are eligible for, as the software is designed to assess these military-specific circumstances in the most efficient and effective way possible.

I wonder if a software such as this — that’s free, confidential, comprehensive and catered to military living and financial situations — could be a vital step in helping military families become a little less averse to filing their taxes.

I know I’ll be trying MilTax next year, and maybe I can even convince my husband to enjoy it, too.

Written By Sydney Smith
Army Spouse

Sydney has been an Army wife for four years and has two children. She often writes on the raw experiences military spouses face during challenging times, striving to be a voice of encouragement and validation among the military spouse community.

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