Leave no deduction or discount behind

by Kim Suchek

Hello military community,

As we start off the New Year many families look forward to positive goals and the unpleasant task of filing our taxes with a prayer to collect a check from Uncle Sam. To help you make positive choices and file your taxes; here are some resources that I have had positive feedback about from military families in the past few years.

Keep in mind these resources will provide assistance to military families with filing taxes and providing answers to questions during tax season.

Military OneSource Tax Filing Services provides free access to the H&R Block at Home online tax filing service for military families. This service allows military members to complete and electronically file federal and up to three state tax returns. It is available for active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve, and spouses. You must have a Military OneSource account. www.militaryonesource.mil/pfm?content_id=268827

IRS Free Filing is a program available to taxpayers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) is $60,000 or less. This program helps you find a Free File company that’s best for you out of the numerous companies that participate and offers fillable forms when preparing your own tax returns. Free file opens January. www.irs.gov

Tax Slayer has a free military edition for active duty service members to prepare federal and state returns online.  www.taxslayer.com/Products/free-military-tax-filing

TurboTax offers discounts on its software that’s customized for active duty military and reservists. Service members with pay grades of E1-E5 can get the software for free, while E6 and up can get the software at a discounted price. turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/military-edition.jsp

Taxbrain offers a 20 percent military discount for eligible tax filers. Be aware the package price varies depending on answers to their questionnaire.

Also, one tax break that many people (including me) forget is the Residential Energy Tax Credit & Home Energy Improvements. This is offers tax breaks for installments of energy-efficient home improvements in 2014. Depending on the improvements, you may be eligible for a $500 tax credit. The home improvements that might qualify you for the tax credit include: Doors, windows, insulation, HVAC systems, water heaters, roofs, skylights and biomass stoves.

The Residential Energy Tax Credit had expired at the end of 2013, but Congress renewed it through 2014. That means you may be able to claim the tax credit when you file your 2014 federal taxes. Congress did not extend the tax credit through 2015 so make sure you file all home improvements now.

The system may be down while the IRS updates its website with information about the renewal, and posts a 2014 version of FORM5695, which you will need to use to claim the credit. Make sure to check out the Energy Star website at www.energystar.gov/ or www.Houselogic.com to see if the specific energy-efficiency home improvements you made qualify for the credit. These sites may also need some time to update as well.

Generally, a 10 percent tax credit is available for installing energy-efficiency improvements. But your tax credit is capped for some items. For example, you cannot claim more than $200 for windows, and a new air conditioner will earn you no more than a $300 tax credit. There’s also a lifetime cap of $500, so if you took the tax credit in prior years, you have to subtract the credit you claimed from $500.

The cost to install your energy-efficiency improvements may, or may not be included. For example, window installation is included, but insulation installation is not. This tax credit applies only to your main principal residence. It’s always best to double check all questions with a tax advisors before you file anything you are not 100 percent certain is legal.

Blessings from my family to yours,

Kim Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at Kim@MilitaryResourceBooks.com and visit my website at MilitaryResourceBooks.com for updated information and other resources not listed in my book.

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