I’m often asked if I know of any TurboTax service code USAA offers for military service members. The United States government has actually contracted with TurboTax to allow all military personnel, all enlisted active duty and reserve military to file free federal and state taxes with TurboTax Online. Oddly enough, the TurboTax military discount is not valid for officers according to the TurboTax website. (Not to worry because the $20 discount can work for officers of the military.)
How to Get TurboTax Military Discount
The key to getting this discount is to start your tax return from the TurboTax Free File landing page instead of the military page. This might sound counterintuitive, but military servicemen and women have reported difficulty using the military specific page. It’s actually easier to go through the TurboTax Free eFile page even though the TurboTax military page exists.
USAA TurboTax Service Code
It would seem natural to check if there’s a USAA TurboTax service code or discount. While there are plenty of $20 discounts available for TurboTax deluxe and premier (like the coupon we have below), there isn’t a specific military service code or promo code. The discount applies before you reach the final step to submit or file your taxes, which seems a little off, but that’s the way the process flow works.
What about a TurboTax discount for Military Veterans?
Veterans do not qualify for the current military discount but can still file for free at the $34,000 income threshold. If you earn more than this and need to pay for TurboTax, you can still save up to $20 if you have to use a paid product.
When it comes to finding a discount on TurboTax, this year you can expect a $10-$20 discount on their most popular products: deluxe and premier. Saving $20 on the deluxe edition of TurboTax is a 33% savings from its original price of $60 to its sale price of $40!
USAA TurboTax Service Code
While there are plenty of discounts you can use through USAA, there is not a specific USAA TurboTax service code. Just be sure to use the Free File option at TurboTax to avoid upsells if they’re not applicable.
TurboTax Military Discount
So is TurboTax free for military members? Yes if you meet certain qualifying factors. Here they are in abbreviated form:
- Active military personnel, active military and reserve
- E1-E5 Military Rank (as of Jan 2020)
- E6 and above $5 discount (better off saving $20 with this discount)
How to File: Military TurboTax
- Access TurboTax Free File
- Enter your W-2 information (access from myPay account)
- Verify your military rank (military discount will be applied when you’re ready to file)
Documents You’ll Need:
- Photo ID / Military ID
- Social Security Card for all family members
- W2, W-2G, 1099-R and any other tax forms received.
- Any Investment Tax Forms
- Charitable contribution receipts
- Child care receipts
- Previous year tax return
- Bank routing number and account number (for direct deposit)
Military taxes can be pretty complicated. TurboTax will walk you through benefits and deductions you’re eligible for including:
Tax-Exempt Allowances: As a military member, you are eligible for housing and food allowances, which are exempt from state and federal income tax as well as social security tax. This is a huge benefit that often accounts for more than 30% of service members’ compensation!
Combat Zone Exclusion: If you are deployed into a combat zone, your base pay and any re-enlistment bonuses paid during that time is excluded from your taxable income. There is a cap for officers but not enlisted members.
Travel and Transportation Expenses: If you have traveled on official business away from your permanent duty station, you can deduct unreimbursed travel and transportation expenses. This includes travel to official meetings away from the regular workplace as well as business-related lodging, meals, and other necessary expenses.
Other Military Tax Benefits
I have to hand it to TurboTax for its intuitive software that guides service members to get the biggest deductions possible. Here are some of the most common military deductions that are covered when you use TurboTax:
- Housing Allowance
- EITC – Earned Income Tax Credit
- Combat Pay
- Uniform Deductions
- Moving Deductions
- Travel Deductions
- Job Search Expenses
- Thrift Savings Plan Contributions
- IRA contributions
What TurboTax Versions Are Available for Free?
According to TurboTax, all enlisted active-duty military and reservists can file both their federal and state taxes for free. This includes the following products: Federal Free Edition, Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employment editions
Here’s a quick summary of each version of TurboTax and why you might need each one.
Federal Free Edition: You can use the Turbotax free edition for simple tax returns (1040EZ and 1040A).
Deluxe: This is the most popular version and is great if you own a home or want to deduct your charitable donations or student loans.
Premier: This version includes everything from the Deluxe version and is perfect if you have investment accounts, rental property, or if you recently refinanced your home
Self-Employed: If you are an independent contractor, freelancer, or a business owner, this version helps you in deducting mileage, home office, and various business expenses.
Conclusion: Should I Use TurboTax?
I’ve personally been happy with TurboTax and have used them to file my personal taxes/family members’ taxes for the past 12 years. With the military discount, it makes sense to use TurboTax as you’re can access all four of their flagship products for free.
Just be sure to file early in case you have any complications with your taxes and need to chat with the TurboTax support team. They’re usually really good about resolving issues, but if you wait until April 15th to file your taxes, you leave very little room to fix any issues.
So give yourself plenty of time and access your myPay account early to get a head start on your military tax forms.