The Internal Revenue Service today recognized military tax programs with its Exemplary Electronic Return Originator (ERO) Award (link not available)at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Atlanta, Ga. yesterday. The Executive Director of the Armed Forces Tax Council, Army Lt. Col. Tom Emswiler, accepted the award on behalf of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps tax programs.
The awards to military tax programs mark the first time the IRS has recognized organizations other than tax firms. In prior years, the IRS had honored one tax firm in each state that filed a large percentage of its customers' returns both electronically and with few errors.
The armed forces operate tax centers on military installations, ships at sea, and with deployed units throughout the world. Last year, service tax centers prepared and electronically filed 418,112 federal tax returns. This made military tax programs the largest non-commercial filers of electronic tax returns.
Commanders support the program by detailing servicemembers to prepare returns and by providing space and equipment for tax centers. The IRS supports these efforts by providing tax preparation training to servicemembers at sites around the world. Additionally, because the IRS can process electronic returns more economically, it provides tax preparation software to the military at no cost.
This combined effort ensures that servicemembers receive free tax assistance from well-trained and equipped military tax preparers. Most servicemembers who file electronically and select direct deposit receive their refunds in as little as one week.
The armed forces provide tax preparation and electronic return filing as part of more comprehensive legal assistance to servicemembers. These services are considered an important benefit for servicemembers and contribute to military readiness and quality of life.