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Title:AARP, others offer free tax prep help to Veterans, military and families

Author:VAntagePoint Contributor

Date:March 2021

Source:VAntage Point Contributor © 2021, Reprinted with permission

Volume:Volume 3 Issue 173

As we inch closer to the April 15 tax deadline, AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide is among the programs aimed at helping the military community and others file their state and federal tax returns. Tax-Aide is free and available (appointment only) to all Veterans, military personnel and their families regardless of age or whether they are AARP members.

"In this new environment of COVID, Tax-Aide has instituted a range of tax preparation assistance models that can help Veterans, those currently in the military and others," said Lynnette Lee-Villanueva, vice president and national director of AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. "From safely delivered in-person service, virtual assistance and hybrid options — we are here to help."

The nationwide tax help program is geared toward people 50 and older or those who have low to moderate incomes, but Tax-Aide is open to anyone free of charge. AARP membership isn't required to take advantage of Tax-Aide's knowledgeable volunteers, nor will there be any sales pitch for other services.

If you'd like to look for an appointment to receive tax filing assistance from AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide, click here to get started.

Due to the pandemic, Tax-Aide availability is limited this year. Other programs offering free tax help include Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE), Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), IRS Free File and MilTax.

In addition, here is some helpful information specifically for military Veterans from CPA and tax expert Lisa Greene-Lewis of TurboTax. See the rest of her tax advice for military Veterans on aarp.org here.

VA payments exempt from federal taxes:

  • VA education benefit payments.
  • VA disability payments.
  • Interest from VA life insurance policies.
  • Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.
  • Money paid to a survivor of a member of the armed forces who died after Sept. 10, 2001.
  • Payments made under the compensated work therapy program.
  • Any bonus pay from a state, county, city or town because of service in a combat zone.

Fast facts on state taxes:

  • States typically offer tax benefits only to Veterans who were honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty.
  • State benefits usually include some form of exemptions on property taxes, according to value.
  • Benefits are often transferred over to a spouse or surviving spouse of honorably discharged Veterans.
  • Many states include additional benefits for Veterans who are disabled.
  • Every state's revenue website outlines state benefits for Veterans and how to apply for them.

Bookmark the Veterans, Military and Their Families page on aarp.org to stay up to date with the latest news and information affecting older Veterans at aarp.org/veterans. AARP resources for Veterans are free and available to nonmembers.

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