Military members need a robust tax solution to keep up with complex tax situations. TurboTax can handle your tax needs. And good news – there is a TurboTax Military Discount. Intuit offers TurboTax Online free of charge for E-1 Through E-5, and they offer discounts for military members E-6 and up. See below for more information on the discount, and read the rest of this review for more information about TurboTax, and how it is a great solution for your tax needs.
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, and other non-taxable compensation. Earning tax free combat zone pay can also impact both your state and federal tax return.
To top it off, many military members and their spouses have unique tax situations based on self-employment income, real estate rental income, or possibly even having to file more than one state tax return due to a recent relocation, or based on their state of residency.
When you add all this up, it can make for one fairly complicated tax return!
Intuit, the makers of financial products like TurboTax, Quicken, and Mint.com, have one of the top tax software programs on the market. And they offer a Military Discount for all current servicemembers, including active duty, Guard, and Reserves.
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 features and the details of their Military Discount.
TurboTax Features & Review:
TurboTax pays attention to the small details when creating their tax software. Several years ago they created TurboTax Military Edition. This version of the software was created specifically for military members and included features to account common tax issues faced by many military members. These features are now baked into the main software version.
Completing your tax return and filing your taxes with TurboTax is easy. The software guides you 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 tax returns in multiple states, combat pay questions, tax free benefits such as BAH and BAS, deductions for uniforms, expenses related to permanent change of station moves, dependents, special tax provisions for earned income tax credits, and much more.
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 (more info on deducting travel for Reserve 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.
TurboTax Features & Versions
TurboTax offers several versions of their software. You can see the chart below, which covers a basic overview of the features each version covers. Which version you choose depends entirely on the complexity of your return and your needs.
Here are the basic details (visit the TurboTax site for a more detailed overview):
- Federal Free Edition: Free for everyone. But this version only covers simple tax returns, including the 1040EZ, and 1040A.
- Deluxe: This edition maximizes your deductions and returns, and makes it easy to claim a variety of deductions and tax credits.
- Premier: The Premier version is ideal if you have investment income, rental property income, and some other more advanced needs.
- Self-Employed: This version is ideal if you have personal ans business income and expenses.
How to Choose the best TurboTax Version for Your Needs: Each version includes the features found in thee previous versions. So you can start your return online for free with one of the lower versions and upgrade as needed. The good news is you don’t have to pay until you file your return. And if you start with the Federal Free Edition and find out you need to upgrade, just continue with your return. The TurboTax online software automatically saves your information as you go.
TurboTax Military Discount Details
TurboTax offers its military discounts by your pay grade. Simply upload a copy of your W-2 (find out when military tax forms are available through myPay). TurboTax will automatically apply your discount when you file your taxes. Please note this discount offer is only available for TurboTax Online program.
Also note TurboTax offers the Federal Free edition. That version may be sufficient for your needs, even if your pay grade is E-6 or above. As noted above, you can always start with the free version and upgrade if needed. You only pay when you file your return.
Military Discount by Pay Grade: E1 – E5
- Free federal and state filing with Free Edition or Deluxe
- $5 off discount or bigger for Premier and Self-Employed
Military Discount by Pay Grade: E6 and above
- $5 off discount or bigger on all TurboTax federal products
TurboTax Gets My Seal of Approval
I’m very happy a leading tax preparation software company stepped up and created this software program. There are millions of US military servicemembers serving around the world. Many of us 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 to 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.
I don’t hesitate to recommend TurboTax.
Free and discounted for a limited time: Click this link to get the limited time TurboTax Military Edition offer.