Authorized exchange shoppers — to include the newly eligible service-connected disabled veterans and caregivers — can receive a 10 percent discount on tax preparation services at the H&R Block offices located in exchange complexes on certain Army and Air Force bases.
But before you go to these offices at Army & Air Force Exchange Service locations, and pay anything for services, remember that you can get free tax preparation help through two programs offered by the Defense Department and the services, particularly for active duty members and their spouses, and when space is available, retirees.
*The tax center on base is under the separate jurisdiction of military legal assistance officials with preparers trained through the Internal Revenue Service program, in partnership with the Armed Forces Tax Council and the services.
* In addition, Military OneSource offers tax preparation software for free to service members and their spouses. This software allows those eligible to file federal and up to three state tax returns for free. For single service members with even the most basic tax return, that could mean a savings of around $150. This Military OneSource MilTax program actually uses H&R Block software tailored to the military. The MilTax program also offers one-on-one personalized support from a trained tax consultant. These MilTax free benefits are available to active duty, National Guard and Reserve members and their families, survivors and veterans who have left the military within the last 365 days.
The MilTax services — the free software and help from tax consultants — are available year round.
That reimbursement for spouses' professional re-licensing costs is taxable.
Separately, the discount offered by H&R Block offices located at AAFES complexes, are available to a wider population. According to the AAFES website, there are 75 H&R Block locations on Army and Air Force bases in the continental U.S., and 15 offices at overseas locations. Find a complete list here. These services are available to all authorized shoppers, regardless of branch of service. The discount could be helpful for retirees who may not be able to book an appointment with the tax center on base, and especially for those who became eligible to shop at exchanges and commissaries and use certain other retail facilities on base as of Jan. 1.
The 10 percent discount is based on the fee that would be charged for an identical return prepared at an H&R Block office off base.
In addition, H&R Block offices at the AAFES locations offer a free second-look tax review program, looking at last year’s returns for accuracy; and a 100 percent accuracy guarantee in the event of an audit. If errors are later discovered, H&R Block will pay the penalty and interest at no additional cost to the filer.