Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the 2021 Filing Season.
7th Army Training Command Legal Office
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — U.S. Army Europe and Africa will not offer face-to-face tax preparation and filing services this year, due to fiscal constraints and manning shortages. But there are free online services available to active-duty service members; alternatively, service members may choose to hire a commercial preparer to file their taxes. Regardless of the method, individuals remain responsible for filing a complete and accurate return. So here’s what you should know:
What you need to know about this tax year
The tax filing season begins Feb. 12, and the deadline is April 15, 2021. U.S. citizens living abroad are granted an automatic two-month extension. The extended deadline is June 15, 2021. As a reminder, do not forget that you must attach a statement to your return when you submit it — explaining why you qualify for the extension.
Filing options for service members
The U.S. Army does not endorse any specific tax preparation service. However, these are low-cost and free options for USAG Bavaria community members:
Documents you will need to file your taxes
When using any tax preparation software or paid service, you will need to have certain documents available. For service members using software, it is likely you will need your prior year return to set up an account. Once you created an account, follow the prompts to input data from your current year tax documents. Finally, use your prior year return to check your current return. Remember to include all bank and interest bearing accounts, student loan interest, childcare expenses and taxable information.
Although the 7th ATC Office of the Staff Judge Advocate no longer provides tax preparation services, the OSJA will continue to provide free tax advice and assistance, such reviewing a letter from the IRS, in the normal course of LAO. For more information on requesting a regular legal assistance appointment please visit the SJA page.