• Marie Demene

E-filing Options Make Tax Time Easier On Members Of The Military And Their Families


Active-duty military personnel have options for free federal tax preparation.


One is IRS Free File. This program offers, online tax preparation, electronic filing, and direct deposit of refunds, at no cost.

Members of military and their families who have income of $73,000 or less in 2021 may choose from any of the IRS Free File tax software companies to help them prepare their tax returns online.


IRS Free File Fillable Forms is available for those with income of any amount and is most suitable for those who are comfortable preparing and electronically filing their own tax return.

Here's how IRS Free File works:

  • Using any smart phone, computer or tablet, the taxpayer goes to the IRS Free File page on IRS.gov to see all Free File options. This year, there are eight products in English and two in Spanish.

  • Military personnel who meet the income requirement can select from any of the providers that have Free for Active Military for adjusted gross income of $73,000 or less in their offer.

  • The taxpayer selects a provider and follows the links to their web page to complete and electronically file their tax return.

E-filing combined with direct deposit is the fastest way to get a refund.

MilTax is another free tax resource available for the military community, offered through the Department of Defense. MilTax is a suite of tax services available for members of the military and their families. Honorably discharged service members, including Coast Guard veterans, can also use Miltax until 365 days post-separation or retirement. There are no income limits. MilTax includes tax preparation and electronic filing software, personalized support from tax consultants and current information about filing taxes. It's designed to address the realities of military life – including deployments, combat and training pay, housing and rentals and multi-state filings. Eligible taxpayers can use MilTax to electronically file a federal tax return and up to three state returns for free.

Using tax software programs like MilTax or IRS Free File can help taxpayers figure things like their earned income tax credit, child and dependent care credit and recovery rebate credit. This year, taxpayers will need Letter 6419, 2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, to reconcile advance child tax credit payments and Letter 6475, Your 2021 Economic Impact Payment, when using IRS Free File to prepare their taxes. Active duty military stationed in combat zones have more time to file their tax returns. However, those with spouses and families may choose to file as soon as they can to claim various tax benefits for which they may be eligible. If only one spouse is present to file a joint return, they must have proper authorization to file a joint tax return on behalf of their spouse.

Taxpayers can visit the IRS website for more tax information for members of the military.

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