Filing state and federal income taxes may be the last thing you want to deal with right now, especially if you or your service member are deployed. But as overwhelming as it may seem, filing your tax return should not be difficult. The Internal Revenue Service has recognized that service members and their families often face special circumstances, and has put in place ways to make this annual obligation less of a burden.
If you are a service member or are filing on behalf of one, there are a few things you should know before getting started.
- File returns in your permanent home state. If you are stationed somewhere other than your permanent home address, in most cases you will still pay state taxes to your home state. For instance, if your address of record is in Kansas, but you are stationed in California, you will file state taxes with Kansas. Spouses working outside their home of record in most cases will also have to file a state tax return for the state in which they are employed.
- Access your tax statement online. As a member of the Armed Forces, you can view and print out your W2 form before it is mailed to you. Go to myPay at https://mypay.dfas.mil. You will need your personal identification number (PIN) to access your W2 form.
- Be sure to have power of attorney if filing for a deployed service member. Attach a copy of your power of attorney to your tax return. You may use IRS Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative. The form can be found at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2848.pdf.
- Find answers to your questions on the IRS Web site. The IRS has a detailed tax guide for members of the Armed Forces at www.irs.gov/publications/p3/index.html.
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