Editor’s note: This story is adapted from one originally published by U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria
STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. Army Europe and Africa will not offer face-to-face tax preparation and filing services this year, due to fiscal constraints and manning shortages. However, free preparation and filing methods are available to community members, as well as paid commercial options. Military members have free access to an online tool (MilTax) provided through MilitaryOneSource which is purpose-built for their needs and includes personalized consultation services if needed. Regardless of the method, individuals remain responsible for filing a complete and accurate return.
The tax filing season began Jan. 24, and for most taxpayers the deadline is April 18, 2022. U.S. citizens living abroad are granted an automatic two-month extension. The extended deadline is June 15, 2022. As a reminder, do not forget that you must attach a statement to your return when you submit it — explaining why you qualify for the extension.
Options available to Stuttgart military community members include:
MilTax for Service Members and Families
- MilTax is a free service for Service Members provided by the DoD through Military OneSource. It’s built to account for deployments, combat and training pay, housing and rentals, multistate filings, living OCONUS and more. MilTax also provides free one-on-one help from tax professionals with special training in military-specific tax situations in case of any questions. Learn more about the program here.
Please note: the U.S. Army does not endorse any specific commercial tax preparation service.
IRS Free File
The IRS Free File Program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and many tax preparation and filing software industry companies who provide their online tax preparation and filing for free. It provides two ways for taxpayers to prepare and file their federal income tax online for free:
- Guided Tax Preparation provides free online tax preparation and filing at an IRS partner site. Our partners deliver this service at no cost to qualifying taxpayers. Taxpayers whose Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $73,000 or less qualify for a free federal tax return.
- Free File Fillable Forms are electronic federal tax forms, equivalent to a paper 1040 form. You should know how to prepare your own tax return using form instructions and IRS publications if needed. It provides a free option to taxpayers whose AGI is greater than $73,000.
State tax returns are not supported by the IRS Free File Program.
Free and reduced-price virtual options for Service Members include (no federal endorsement implied):
- TurboTax has a military discount that allows all enlisted active-duty military and reservists to file their 2021 federal and state taxes for free. This offer is not valid for officers, and it excludes TurboTax Live products.
- TaxSlayer has a military offer that allows active-duty military to e-file a federal return for free. Do expect an additional cost when filing state taxes.
Other free and reduced price virtual options may exist for Service Members and Civilians.
On-Post Paid Services (H&R Block)
- In-person commercial services are offered by H&R Block at the Panzer Mall. Hours of operation (subject to change) and contact information is available on the Exchange website.
Documents you will need to file your taxes
When using any tax preparation software or paid service, you will need to have certain documents available. For service members using software, it is likely you will need your prior year return to set up an account. Once you created an account, follow the prompts to input data from your current year tax documents. Finally, use your prior year return to check your current return. Remember to include all bank and interest bearing accounts, student loan interest, childcare expenses and taxable information.
- Social Security Card/SSNs (or ITIN) for all persons claimed on the tax return
- Form W-2: Shows the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck for the year and is used to file your federal and state taxes
- Form 1098: Real estate tax documents including mortgage interest statements
- Form 1099: Alimony, child support or related payment agreements, interest and dividends, earnings from self-employment
- Any other documents indicating earned income, such as scholarships
- Any documented income from rental properties
- Records of moving expenses related to a new military assignment, retirement, separation and etc.
- Receipts/documentation for deductibles
- Child and dependent care information