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VITA Connects Service Members to Tax Support

VITA Connects Service Members to Tax Support

Story by Patricia Babb on 01/29/2019

The 2019 tax season is now underway, and, once again, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is open to eligible Navy personnel, dependents, and retirees at select locations around the globe.

VITA links active-duty and retired service members and their dependents, as well as deployed civilians, to free, self-service tax software via Military OneSource at www.militaryonesource.mil.

“VITA is designed to accommodate the increasingly busy lives of Sailors and their families,” said Lt. John Schwietz, the Navy’s VITA program manager at the Office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington, D.C.

As the trend toward self-service tax preparation gains more momentum, VITA has evolved, and the Navy no longer requires Region Legal Service Offices (RLSOs) to stand up brick-and-mortar tax centers. Therefore, Schwietz advises those interested in filing their taxes in-person to first consult the below list of VITA tax centers, and also contact their local RLSO for more information about availability and hours of operation.

“While VITA tax centers are an excellent resource, many find it more convenient to simply access the very same tax filing software used at the tax centers and file on their own,” Schwietz said in reference to the software provided via Military OneSource at www.militaryonesource.mil.

“Customers can securely file their taxes from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection,” he added. Users in need of assistance also can call the Military OneSource helpline to reach tax counselors seven days a week.

The following VITA tax centers are offering self-service VITA services to eligible customers. Customers eligible for VITA under 10 U.S.C. section 1044 can locate the nearest RLSO at http://www.jag.navy.mil/legal_services/legal_services_locator_rlso.htm.

RLSO Midwest VITA Tax Center
Great Lakes

RLSO Southeast VITA Tax Center
Guantanamo Bay
Key West

RLSO Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia VITA Tax Centers

RLSO Japan VITA Tax Centers

RLSO Northwest VITA Tax Centers
Whidbey Island*

RLSO Southwest VITA Tax Centers
San Diego*

* A site that limits VITA services to E1 to E6 service members and their dependents.

Customers are advised to have the following items on-hand when preparing their taxes:
Valid identification for taxpayer/s
Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)
Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number and address
2016 adjusted gross income from last year’s tax return (if you have a copy, VITA volunteers can show you where this amount is)
IRS E-filing PIN (you can get one at irs.gov or call IRS at 866-704-7388
Income data (W-2s)
All end-year tax documents (1099s)
Student loan payment information
Receipts for child care payment
Receipts for educational expenses

For more information about VITA and tax preparation, read frequently asked questions at http://jag.navylive.dodlive.mil. For more news from Navy Judge Advocate General, visit www.navy.mil/local/jag/.

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