The "Armed Forces' Tax Guide"
Internal Revenue Service Publication 3, "Armed Forces' Tax Guide," details special tax situations for those serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard. Many service members take the easiest route and use the shortest, simplest form.
“Probably a good 80 percent or more of service members will file the 1040-EZ because they don’t own property or have very many investments,” said U.S. Army Reserves Maj. Monica Rigaud, a financial manager for the Department of Defense.
When service members marry and file jointly or have property, investments and charitable donations to consider, they must use longer tax forms so they can take advantage of subtle differences in tax law that pertain only to service members, said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Cowden, a trained community volunteer for the AARP Foundation.
Cowden counsels service members on their taxes at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. He and Rigaud offered tips for military members preparing to file their taxes.
“What the government does is provide (the service member) with 95 percent of the cost considered standard to move the family,” said Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Cowden.