Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Meet John Eakins of Military Tax Services

One of the main reasons that Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) John Eakins started Military Tax Services is because of all the mistakes he kept seeing on military tax returns prepared by other tax preparation organizations. He also found most military tax returns are prepared by tax preparers who have very little or no military tax law knowledge on a state-by-state basis.

It occurred to John that no one was really one-hundred percent focused on military tax returns in all fifty states on a year-round basis. If the person doing the military tax return was only doing this part of the year on a part-time basis, how much of a military tax expert could they really be? He decided to start a tax preparation firm that is one-hundred percent focused on the military, full time and year round.

The aim of Military Tax Services is to help every one of their clients get the full refund they are entitled to for both Federal and State. MTS does this by carefully analyzing the military tax code and dedicating their services to doing one thing well, military tax returns. Military tax laws are complex. The highly trained professionals at Military Tax Services work exclusively with military taxes for both state and federal returns, staying current on the ever-changing IRS rules and the various regulations for each of the fifty states.

1. What are some of the factors that make tax preparation especially complex for members of the military?

What can make a military tax return complex are all the different state tax laws. Each state has their own way of taxing military income. This becomes especially important on a joint tax return with income from two different states. For example, the active duty person has a home state of North Carolina and spouse has income from a different state. Also, a big percentage of the military will have a different home state from whatever state they happen to be filing their military tax return in for the current tax year.

2. How do you help people make sure they aren't "leaving money on the table" when it comes to their taxes?

Most often when I see money being left on the table, it's due to state taxes. This is an easy fix, and you can always amend a tax return for the past three years.

3. Why would it be a mistake for military families to simply use one of the common tax prep software programs?

Software comes in several different versions and may or may not do a good job depending on your situation. Also, a lot of the free versions are the most basic stripped-down versions. Lastly, I have seen a huge trend towards Q and A in tax software. This does make it easier to complete a tax return, but if you answer any question wrong for any reason, you may be liable for an incorrect tax position.

4. When did you start Military Tax Services, and what do you like the best about your job?

I have been involved in the military market for over ten years and actually look forward to tax season. The best part of my job is helping other people. I take great satisfaction in taking someone who is stressed out about their tax situation and getting them to a point where they are actually happy with their tax situation.

5. If you could give the average person (military or non-military) just three pieces of advice to keep in mind when it comes to taxes, what would you say?

First, if you get any letters from any taxing authority, do not ignore them. Also, if you don't understand what the letter is requesting, seek professional help, take action, and then follow up.

Second, everyone has a different tax situation. And yes, someone with the same rank and pay can receive a larger refund than someone else. This can be because of extra taxes being withheld, filing status, credits for education or savers credit, and dependents.

Third, if you are positive you are receiving money back in your tax return, don't stress out over your filing date. But remember, the Government owes you money! If you don't file within three years, you have given up your chance to file, and the Government keeps your hard-earned money.

Thanks, John!

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