July 15, 2020, brought to an end the longest income tax filing season in U.S. history. On that date, Fort Drum’s FY 2020 Tax Advisory Program also came to a conclusion. Legal advice regarding tax withholdings, filing status, who can be claimed as a dependent, tax deductions, tax credits, charitable donations, and letters from the IRS can still be obtained at the Legal Assistance Office, Room A2-68, Clark Hall (phone 315-772-6587), but 2019 income tax returns are no longer being prepared.

 

FY 2021 Tax Season

Free income tax preparation assistance for Soldiers and family members with taxable incomes of $69,000 or less will likely be available beginning Feb. 1, 2021, and ending April 15, 2021. This webpage will be updated with more specific information as the opening date of the 2021 tax season draws near.

Now is the time to review your W-4 and make changes to your tax withholdings by adjusting the number of allowances that you claim. If you owed tax to the federal or state government when you filed your 2019 taxes, you should strongly consider increasing your tax withholdings by claiming fewer allowances for the remainder of the 2020 tax year. If you received an exceptionally large refund, you should consider decreasing your tax withholdings by increasing the number of allowances you claim so that you will have a greater use of your money during the year.

The IRS provides an income tax withholding estimator at https://www.irs.gov/individualrogs/tax-withholding-estimator to assist you with this process. If you still have questions about tax planning, call the Legal Assistance Office at (315) 772-6587 to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney.

Remain diligent with your record-keeping in anticipation of the next tax season. It is far easier to assemble everything you need over the course of the year than to search for it at the last minute.

You will need, at a minimum, the following documents when you prepare your tax returns next year:

  • Social Security cards for you, your spouse and dependents;

  • Birth dates for you, your spouse and dependents;

  • Your W-2 (usually available from your employer in mid to late January – for Soldiers, W-2s will be available at www.mypay.dfas.mil. Your leave and earnings statement is not sufficient.);

  • Your bank account and routing number to receive your refund by direct deposit; and

  • If you are married and filing jointly, and one spouse will be absent at the time you plan to file your return, you will need a general or special power of attorney (POA) that specifically covers filing taxes. You can get a POA at the Legal Assistance Office in Clark Hall on a walk-in basis from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (the office is closed on federal holidays and days of no scheduled activities), or you can obtain IRS Form 2848 on the IRS website at www.irs.gov (the IRS form can only be used for federal returns. If you also plan to file a state return, visit your state’s taxation department website for their particular POA form).

 

The following additional documents may be necessary depending on your circumstances:

  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) assignment letter for you, your spouse and dependents;

  • Proof of foreign status, if applying for an ITIN;

  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R from all employers of all of your family members;

  • Interest and dividend statements from banks and brokers, including mortgage interest statements (Forms 1099);

  • Divorce decrees and receipts for alimony paid or received;

  • Child custody and support orders;

  • Receipts for IRA contributions;

  • Total paid to day care provider and the day care provider’s name, address, and tax identification number (the provider's Social Security number or the provider's business Employer Identification Number); and

  • Receipts and other supporting documentation if you plan to itemize your deductions in lieu of the standard deduction.

  

Need more information?

The IRS provides a wealth of information on their website at https://www.irs.gov/.

New York state tax information can be found at https://www.tax.ny.gov/.