Military Retirees: How to Make Tax Season Less Taxing
Tax season requires finding and organizing a lot of paperwork. Here are some tips for making the process easier and less stressful.
Tip 1: Make a checklist of the documents you need
Whether you are doing your taxes yourself, or having someone else prepare them for you, the first step is to gather all of the documentation you need.
Make this process easier by creating a checklist of the documents you will need and checking them off as you receive them. With a checklist, you'll know what paperwork you have, and what you might need to track down, so you won't have to do a last-minute hunt for a missing receipt or form.
Tip 2: Put all of your tax documents in one place
Choose a specific place to put all of your documents as you receive them. If you are gathering paper documents, use a folder or box you can easily identify.
One retiree uses a specific plastic folder he orders each year from the office supply store. The folder has multiple pockets to keep receipts and other documents organized, and since he only uses it for taxes, he can tell it apart from other paperwork. If you are gathering electronic documents, create a folder on your computer specifically for your tax documents.
Tip 3: Hop online, not in line for your military retirement pay tax documents
Military retirees who need retirement pay tax documents have options beyond waiting on a phone call with a busy customer care center.
The fastest and most secure way for a military retiree to obtain a copy of their 1099R is through myPay, the online pay management system of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which allows retirees to download or print a 1099R from the comfort of their home. myPay is available 24/7 from your web browser, and is easy to use. Find out how: go.usa.gov/xEqst
Retirees who only need a 1099R mailed to either their address on file or to a one-time, temporary mailing address can submit their request online at AskDFAS (this option also allows retirees to request a prior year 1099R). The 1099R will be in the mail within ten business days.
Tip #4: Let your fingers do the ordering
Military retirees who do not have internet access, but who have a current mailing address on file with DFAS can get a copy of their 1099R mailed using the telephone self-service option, by calling 800-321-1080, and selecting option "1" for self-serve. The 1099R will be in the mail within ten business days.
Those retirees who prefer postal mail can send DFAS a written request by mail (or fax), but should plan for up to 30 days for processing.
Military retirees with unique situations can speak directly to one of DFAS' customer care representatives at 800-321-1080 (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern). Depending on call volume, you may have to wait on hold while they assist other customers.
Instructions for using any of these options to get tax documents can be found on a special "Taxes" information page for military retirees on the DFAS.mil/retiredmilitary website at: go.usa.gov/xQ34G