Friday, February 9, 2007

TOP STORY >>Military OneSource offers free online tax filing

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — The Defense Department’s Military OneSource family support program is once again offering free, online tax preparation and filing for servicemembers and their families, officials said. The service began Jan. 15. It’s available to active duty servicemembers, National Guardsmen and reservists and their families. This is the second year of the program. Last year, more than 327,000 tax claims were filed using a similar program, said Jane Burke, principal director in the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy.

Burke added that servicemembers can put their tax refunds to good use as a deposit in a savings or retirement account or to pay off debts. “How to use the refund may be the first financial decision of the year” for servicemembers in improving their financial readiness, Burke noted. DOD is launching a campaign called “Military Saves” to encourage servicemembers to save money and eliminate or reduce their personal debt. Filers who use Military OneSource’s online system can expect to receive their refund within 10 days, Burke said. And Military OneSource tax consultants, she said, are trained to answer questions on preparing and filing taxes and provide other financial management information.

The Military OneSource service augments the long-standing voluntary income tax assistance program offered through legal centers at most military installations, Burke said. Volunteers at the centers provide free tax preparation and filing services, she said.

The service available through Military OneSource’s Web site “is a new option where people can do their taxes online for free,” said Army Maj. John Johnson, executive director, Armed Forces Tax Council. Tax-filing assistance also is available through the Internal Revenue Service’s electronic filing program.

Military OneSource’s online tax preparation and filing was very popular with servicemembers and their families last year, Burke said. “It is just one more way we can help improve the quality of life for our troops and their families,” she said.
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