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It's that time of year again...tax season

Tax season kicked off on Jan. 19, 2016; it is important to gather all the documents required to successfully file taxes. The IRS Form 1095-C, a new form in MyPay, provides Service members proof of 2015 health care insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act. For assistance with filing out taxes, seek help through one of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Hutto)

Tax season kicked off on Jan. 19, 2016; it is important to gather all the documents required to successfully file taxes. The IRS Form 1095-C, a new form in MyPay, provides Service members proof of 2015 health care insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act. For assistance with filing out taxes, seek help through one of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie Hutto)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As we settle into the New Year, many Service members are keeping an eye on their mailboxes for tax forms and anticipating how they will spend their tax returns.

Tax season kicked off Jan. 19, 2016, and it is important to gather all the documents required to successfully file taxes. There is a new form in MyPay under taxes called the IRS Form 1095-C. This form provides service members proof of 2015 health care insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act.

When it comes to filing taxes, there are a few options available: prepare your taxes on your own, pay a tax professional, or use a certified volunteer tax preparer free of charge.

Service members, retirees, and their family members qualify for the latter of the three options and can receive free assistance through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

According to the Military One Source website, the VITA program consists of volunteers who are IRS certified to prepare and file taxes; some of which are uniformed personnel. These specialists are equipped to handle military-specific tax issues, such as combat-zone benefits and applying Earned Income Credit guidelines.

Regardless of current assignment or duty station, service members can utilize one of these VITA sites worldwide.   

"For those stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, there are two conveniently located offices at the Retiree Activities Office and Hillsborough Community College," said Capt. Kyle Carter, the chief of legal assistance with the 6th Air Mobility Wing legal office.

The Retiree Activities Office, located between the commissary and Base Exchange, started taking appointments Jan. 18.

"Reservations will fill up fast; however, walk-ins are available every day starting at 8:30 a.m.," said Carter. "Friday appointments are reserved for active duty; however anyone in uniform will be given priority any day they show up."

The Hillsborough Community College's tax service, located in Brandon, Florida, started taking appointments Jan. 15. Appointments will be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The site is open Feb. 2 through April 16, but will be closed on March 15, 16, 17, 19 and 26. 

As a military member, there are countless options available for preparing taxes. Just be sure to file by April 18.

To make an appointment at the Retiree Activities Office call (813) 828-0248.

To make an appointment at the Hillsborough Community College's tax service call (813) 828-3224.

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http://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-and-legal/personal-financial-management-and-taxes?content_id=281472