WASHINGTON, - Defense officials encourage military families to once again take advantage of the free electronic tax filing services offered through Military OneSource.
People can access the H&R Block at Home program by going to Military OneSource at http://www.militaryonesource.com/ and clicking on "Tax Filing Services."
More than 200,000 servicemembers filed their tax returns through this resource last year, officials said.
"We have such a mobile force, and you have folks dispersed all over the world. It's a quick link for the family to link up with the [servicemember]," said Tommy T. Thomas, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy. "It's a convenience for you to be able to go on that site and file that tax form."
The program is open to active duty, Guard and Reserve servicemembers, regardless of activation status, as well as spouses, dependent children and family members standing in for a deployed servicemember.
Participants can e-file up to three state resident returns for each federal return, Thomas said. However, he added, they should ensure they're filling through Military OneSource. People who file through H&R Block directly may be charged for services, he cautioned.
The program is set up for basic returns. People who wish to upgrade to the premium program also may incur charges.
For tax assistance, filers can call a Military OneSource tax consultant from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, seven-days-a- week, at 800-730-3802.
"That's a tremendous service," Thomas said. "We feel it's important to give our military families the absolute best."
Along with the consultants, people with complicated tax returns can visit a legal assistance office on a military installation for more in-depth advice, he said.
Whether online or on base, people should file early, Thomas advised.
"Don't run up against the 15 April deadline," he said. "And when you get the return, look at it as the means to secure your family's finances," whether its paying off debts, adding to a savings account or contributing to a Thrift Savings Plan.