FY 2021 Tax Season

Free income tax preparation assistance for Soldiers, retirees, and family members with taxable incomes of up to $38,000, and Gold Star family members regardless of their incomes, will be available through May 17, 2021. 

Because of health considerations for our customers and staff during the pandemic, this will be a drop-off service only (no appointments will be offered).

Tax returns will be prepared by Legal Assistance staff (we have no external resources to assist with tax preparation this year) using TaxSlayer software as part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

The VITA program has operated for more than 50 years, offering free tax assistance to low- to moderate-income taxpayers. All VITA staff who prepare returns must take and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards. This training includes maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of all taxpayer information. In addition to requiring staff to certify their knowledge of the tax laws, the IRS requires a quality review check for every return prepared at a VITA site before filing.

Tax returns will be processed in the order they are submitted to our office. Soldier Readiness Processing (SRP) and other legal emergencies may delay the processing of returns. Depending on the volume of customers, it may take two or more weeks to prepare your tax return. When your return is ready, you will be called and asked to come to the Legal Assistance Office to sign your return before it can be electronically filed.

Drop-off times.  You may drop off your supporting documents (see the checklist below) at the Legal Assistance Office, Room A2-68, Clark Hall (Bldg. 10720), from 9 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 (DONSAs). All supporting documents must be dropped off at the same time; we will not accept incomplete or partial submissions.

 

Please note that tax assistance is not available to taxpayers:

-  who do not have an Armed Forces Identification Card

-  who do not have Social Security numbers or ITINs

-  with taxable incomes in excess of $38,000

-  who are engaged in any private business activities (except FCC providers)

-  who own rental homes

-  who have more than 10 stock transactions

-  who have foreign income

-  who have health savings accounts

-  who have estimated tax penalties

-  who must file Schedule K-1 (partnerships)  

 

Supporting documents:

You must submit the following documents for drop-off service:

  • A copy of photo ID for you (and your spouse if filing a joint return)

  • Copies of Social Security cards for you, your spouse, and your dependents

  • Wage and earning statements (Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R) from all employers. 

W-2s are usually available from your employer in mid- to late January. For Soldiers, W-2s will be available at www.mypay.dfas.mil. An LES cannot be used as a substitute for a W-2.

  • Your interest statements (Form 1099-INT) and dividend statements (Form 1099-DIV) from banks and brokers, including mortgage interest statements (Forms 1099)

  • Unemployment Compensation (Form 1099G)

  • The total you paid to your 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)

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

  • Health Coverage Statements (Forms 1095-A, B and C)

  • If you are married and filing jointly, and one spouse will be absent at the time you plan to review and 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 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (the office is closed on federal holidays and DONSAs), 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 will file a state return, visit your state’s taxation department website for their POA form).

 

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

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

  • Divorce decrees and receipts for alimony paid or received (note, however, you cannot deduct alimony paid if you were divorced after Dec. 31, 2018, and you do not include alimony received as income if you were divorced after Dec. 31, 2018)

  • Child custody and support orders

  • Receipts for IRA contributions

  • Receipts for educational expenses and Form 1098-T from the educational institution

  • Receipts and other supporting documentation if you plan to itemize your deductions rather than take the standard deduction (the 2020 standard deduction for single or married filing separate is $12,400, the standard deduction for married filing joint is $24,800, and head of household is $18,650)

 

Do-It-Yourself Free File Software

Tax Resource Center at Military One Source. 

The Tax Resource Center at https://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-legal/tax-resource-center provides a suite of free tax services for the military community, including personalized support from tax consultants, easy-to-use tax preparation and e-filing software, and helpful information on filing your tax return in the military.

IRS Free File. 

The IRS Free File Program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and many tax preparation and filing software industry leaders who provide their brand-name products for free. It provides two ways for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal income tax online for free:

(1) If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $72,000 or less.  Traditional IRS Free File provides free online tax preparation and filing options on IRS partner sites. IRS partners are online tax preparation companies that develop and deliver this service at no cost to qualifying taxpayers. Please note, only taxpayers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) is $72,000 or less qualify for any IRS Free File partner offers. Seventy percent of Americans are eligible to file their taxes for free online using one of the Free File IRS partners. The IRS does not endorse or recommend any company, so it is up to you to review the full list of online offers at https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile and pick the one that best fits your needs.

(2)  If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is greater than $72,000.  Free File Fillable Forms are electronic federal tax forms you can fill out and file online for free. If you choose this option, you should know how to prepare your own tax return. Please note, it is the only IRS Free File option available for taxpayers whose income (AGI) is greater than $72,000.

Free File Fillable Forms are available at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free.

 

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.

You can also visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DrumTax.