Tip #1: Take advantage of free tax services.
There are plenty of resources that provide free tax-filing services to veterans. To narrow down your options, read about the 5 Best Free Tax Software.
Tip #2: Don’t forget about credits & deductions available to everyone.
Just like any other tax-paying individual, you may be able to take advantage of certain tax incentives. For example, if you’ve searched for a job, then in next year’s tax return you can deduct expenses for creating a résumé and cover letters, related transportation costs, and fees for phone minutes used to call prospects, hiring an employment agency, and business networking events, to name a few. Also, many disabled veterans are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is targeted at low- to moderate-income working individuals and families.
Tip #3: Keep your records in a safe place.
To qualify for veterans’ tax benefits, you need to show evidence of your status as a U.S. veteran. Keep all your relevant documents in one place and make copies if you want to be extra safe. If you do misplace any of your important records, contact the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs for replacements immediately.
Tip #4: Know your eligibility.
Don’t make assumptions about what you’re eligible for. Every benefit stipulates its own eligibility rules, some more detailed than others. For example, to receive a Specially Adapted Housing Grant, veterans must prove they are experiencing very specific physical losses or loss of use in certain body parts.
Tip #5: Track your tax liability.
Remember taxes are not withheld from military payments, so it’s important to keep track of your tax liability. According to the IRS, prior to leaving the military, you should complete Form W-4P (Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments) to tell the Defense Finance & Accounting Service (DFAS) how much tax to withhold from your monthly retirement pay.
Tip #6: Remember tax benefits change year by year.
Check the eBenefits.va.gov, and U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) websites every year to make sure you’re taking advantage of every possible tax break.