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Take Advantage of No Cost Tax Assistance and Preparation

taxes

By Debbie Gregory.

The bad news is that the tax filing deadline will be here before we know it. But the good news is that you have until Tuesday, April 17, 2018, to file your 2017 returns and pay any taxes due. The filing tax deadline is later this year due to several factors.

The usual April 15 deadline falls on Sunday this year, which would normally give taxpayers until at least the following Monday. However, Emancipation Day, a Washington, D.C., holiday, is observed on Monday, April 16, giving taxpayers nationwide an additional day to file. By law, Washington holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way federal holidays do.

And here’s some more good news: there is free tax preparation assistance available to veterans, seniors, and low-income earners.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) grant program is an IRS initiative designed to support free tax preparation service for the underserved through various partner organizations. This service helps low- to moderate-income individuals, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speakers file their taxes each year.

In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

Military OneSource provides free tax preparation and filing services and tax consultations. MilTax, Military OneSource’s free tax services, provides easy-to-use software that is designed specifically for the military community that can be used from mid-January to mid-October. MilTax consultants are also available to help military members and their families for free. You need to be an eligible Military OneSource user to be able to access the free e-filing software, and will need to log in to your Military OneSource account to get started.

Another free service is MyFreeTaxes, managed by the United Way. MyFreeTaxes operates the only free online tax preparation and filing assistance platform available in all 50 states and Washington D.C. The services are available to those who earned $66,000 or less in 2017, and allows qualified Veterans, active-duty military, their families and all other qualifying taxpayers to file both a federal and state tax return, absolutely free.

The IRS.gov/FreeFile allows taxpayers to choose from a variety of industry-leading tax software options in order to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost. If you earned $66,000 or less last year, you are eligible to choose from among 13 software products. If you earned more, you are still eligible for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

Important tips to remember for those who serve:

  • Identify the types of pay and allowances you receive that are not included as part of your gross income
  • You may receive a deduction for moving expenses when you have a permanent change of station
  • You may be able to deduct the cost of work-related education

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

With a Little Help From Your Peers: Military Connection

Military Connection: onesources

By Debbie Gregory.

Now you can talk to someone who gets it: Military OneSource has expanded confidential services for service members and their spouses through a “peer-to-peer” specialty consultation service. This is the newest resource to support and connect service members and their families with professionals who understand military life.

Peer support can promote wellness, healthy stress navigation, stronger social connections, and improve overall quality of life—all built upon a foundation of trust.

The military’s unique life, in which deployments, relocations and transitions are commonplace, makes it essential to find consultants with similar life experiences. Military OneSource’s peer consultants are  accessible at 800-342-9647. The consultants are military retirees, reservists, Guardsmen, spouses and separating service members, all of whom have trained in best-support practices at the Defense Centers of Excellence.

Probably one of the best features of the service is that callers never get an answering service; a live person answers every call, regardless of whether it’s an urgent need or just a friendly conversation. The peer consultant’s goal is to help callers deal with stress before the stressors get out of control.

Military OneSource has a wide and growing array of resources, so their consultants can connect callers to the information outlets they might need. Although not a crisis line, if someone calls in crisis, the peer on the other end of the line will use all the resources at their disposal to ensure the caller gets the help they need.

Active-duty service members, Guardsmen, reservists –regardless of activation status — and family members are eligible to call the service. Veterans who have been separated from military service for up to 180 days also are eligible. Veterans who are past the 180-day cutoff will be given a warm handoff to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

While talking about stress may seem intimidating, having the support of someone who has “been there” can take the stress out of finding the resources you need.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

With a Little Help From Your Peers: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory

When You Need to Talk to Someone Who Gets It: Military Connection

military connection: one

By Debbie Gregory.

The DoD is offering a peer-to-peer counseling service to help military service members, transitioning troops and family members deal with issues before they become crises.

Available through Military OneSource, the new service offers assistance from counselors who have at least a master’s degree in the social or psychology field, as well as military experience to help with a host of issues.

With that level of education and experience, peer support counselors can chat confidentially with clients and assist with any underlying issues that might be associated with someone’s need to chat, online or by phone.

Because Military OneSource is the central one-stop service that offers military families a host of direct services as well as information on a vast array of resources, it made efficient and effective sense to add peer-to-peer support to its list of services.

Talking with someone who understands the stress you are experiencing, because they’ve personally been there too, can relieve some of that stress. The peer consultants have firsthand life experience as service members or military spouses in addition to their training. If the situation necessitates, clients can receive a warm handoff to obtain up to 12 sessions with a clinical counselor, per issue.

Active duty, National Guard and Reserve service members, their families and veterans are eligible to receive Military OneSource confidential peer-to-peer specialty consultation up to 180 days after separation from the military. It’s important to note that using the confidential services will not negatively affect your career or the career of your spouse.

For transitioning service members who will soon re-enter the civilian sector, peer-to-peer counselors will offer their expertise during what might be a turbulent and life-changing time.

A confidential peer-to-peer specialty consultation is a relaxed conversation that can be about the challenges of military life, such as deployments or frequent relocation. You can schedule your confidential peer-to-peer specialty consultation by calling Military OneSource 24/7 at 800-342-9647.

Military life is full of exciting and challenging times. Now you can talk to someone who gets it.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

When You Need to Talk to Someone Who Gets It: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory