Intuit, the makers of financial products like TurboTax and Quicken, just announced they have released TurboTax Military Edition. This tax software is designed specifically for military members, and as far as I know, is the first of its kind!
Anyone who has ever served in the military knows how complicated military pay and benefits can be. The servicemember’s base pay is only part of the story, with servicemembers also earning a variety of nontaxable pay and benefits such as BAS, BAH, incentive pays, tax free combat zone pay, and more. In addition, many servicemembers may have more complicated returns because they (or their spouses) may have to file more than one state return, based on their state of residency, or because they have moved at some point in the previous tax year.
When you add all this up, it can make for one fairly complicated tax return!
I’m happy to see TurboTax took notice of the complexities many of our servicemembers face, and also created a solution. Let’s take a look at TurboTax Military Edition’s features:
TurboTax Military Edition Review:
TurboTax Military Edition was created specifically for military members and covers common topics that affect military members’ tax returns. The program works by guiding the military member through a series of questions designed to maximize your return. The questions will cover many issues military members may not know could affect their tax returns, such as state of residency, filing in multiple states, combat pay questions, tax free benefits such as BAH and BAS, and deductions for uniforms, permanent change of station moves, dependents, and special tax provisions for earned income tax credits.
Here are some Military Tax Filing Tips from TurboTax:
- Combat Pay – Pay received in combat zones is exempt from federal taxes.
- Special Provisions for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – Military members can elect to use non-taxable pay in order to be eligible for the EITC credits. (this can be a substantial savings!).
- Moving Deductions – Active duty servicemembers may be able to deduct reasonable un-reimbursed moving expenses if the move is for a required PCS.
- Travel Deductions – National Guard and Reserve members may be able to claim unreimbursed travel expenses if they travel more than 100 miles away to perform required duties.
- Uniform Deductions – National Guard and Reserve members may be able to deduct the cost and maintenance of uniforms if they are not allowed to wear certain uniforms when off duty.
- Waived Penalties – If a military member is called to active duty and it causes financial hardship, they are able to waive the 10% penalty tax for early withdrawal from an IRA or other retirement account.
- Job Search Expenses – Military members transitioning to civilian life may be able to deduct job search related expenses such as travel, resume preparation, and outplacement agency fees.
- Charitable Donations – You can claim charitable donations automatically deducted from your paycheck.
Based on personal experience, I would also like to add that military members should consider:
- Retirement and investment contributions: Contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan, IRAs, and other retirement or investment accounts may be affected by tax free income earned in combat zones.
- Bonuses, incentive pay, and other benefits should also be considered when filing your tax return with TurboTax or any other software program.
- Guard and Reserve members may have other deductions in addition to the travel expenses listed above.
- Filing deadlines: Military members who are serving overseas may be eligible for a free tax deadline extension due to their overseas service.
I’m very happy a leading tax preparation software company stepped up and created this software program. There are millions of military servicemembers around the world who have complicated tax returns. There are many ways servicemembers can file their return for free, but so far as I know, this is the only program I know if that is specifically designed for military members. And that is the key point that makes this program so valuable to servicemembers: you can’t take a deduction if you or your tax preparer don’t know about it.
Learn More – and Get a Limited Time Discount
You can learn more at the TurboTax website. For a limited time, TurboTax Military Edition is free for junior enlisted personnel, rank E-1 to E-5. You can prepare and file your federal and state tax returns with TurboTax Military Edition for free, through Oct. 15, 2013. Discounted prices are available for E-6 to E-9 & Officers through Feb. 14, 2013.
Free and discounted for a limited time: Click this link to get the limited time TurboTax Military Edition offer.