The VITA program provides free individual income tax preparation for all military personnel and family members eligible for legal assistance (e.g. active duty, retirees, reservists on active duty orders of 30 days or more, and dependents). The program is a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the military.
VITA will make special accommodations to deploying service members.
• February 4, 2021 will be the first day we provide services for the 2020 Tax Season.
• IMPORTANT INFO CONCERNING REFUNDS: The IRS announced on January 15, 2021 that the first day they will receive tax returns is on February 12, 2021. This means the earliest any refunds will be sent by direct deposit is late February. Also, any returns done before February 12 may have different calculations as the IRS adopts any changes made by Congress. Tax payers who prepare returns prior to February 12 may potentially have to return and re-sign their tax return.
• Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 0800-1700 for Signing Completed Returns
VITA is free of charge and operates on a first-come-first-serve basis. In addition, VITA has the ability to send tax preparers to individual units aboard Camp Pendleton to bring Marines and Sailors up to full tax prepared readiness. Because it will be difficult for VITA to provide this service as the tax season progresses, please contact VITA ASAP with your request.
Intake/Interview & Quality Review Sheet (Bring this form filled out to expedite the check in process)
Frequently Asked Questions
• Where is VITA?
The VITA Center is located in Area 22, Building 2264, across from the MCAS Camp Pendleton,
VITA Clerk: (760) 763-2517
• What do I need to bring?
- The Intake/Interview & Quality Review Sheet filled out. (To expedite check-in process, all VITA taxpayers must complete this form)
- Military Identification Card(s) and a second issued identification
- Social Security Card(s) for yourself and anyone you intend to claim as a dependent on your taxes
- Power of Attorney (e.g., Married Filing Joint, Spouse Deployed)
- Last Year’s Federal and State Tax Returns
• What other forms/statements do I need to provide?
- All income statements
- Wage statements – Form W-2
- Pension or Retirement Income – Form 1099R
- Rental income and expenses (limited to 3 rental properties)
- Interest and Dividend Income – Form 1099-INT/ Form-1099-DIV
- State Income Tax Refund Amount – Form 1099-G
- Social Security Income – Form SSA-1099
- Unemployment Income – Form 1099-G
- Commissions Received/Paid information on sales of Stocks or Bonds – Form 1099-B (limited number of stock transactions; NO cryptocurrency transactions)
- Self-Employment Business Income & expenses and any Form 1099-MISC (limited to under $35,000 in gross sales/income; no inventory)
- Lottery or Gambling Winnings Form W-2G
- Income from Partnerships, S Corporations
- Trusts and Estates-Schedule K-1
- Record of Purchase or Sale of Residence
- Alimony Paid or Received (Payer’s/Payee’s Name and Social Security Number)
- IRA Contributions
- Student Loan Interest - Form 1098-E
• What credits/deductible expenses should I bring?
All IRS forms (ex: Statements and expenses for rental properties, 1098-T Tuition Statement, EIN or SSN for Day Care), all receipts and other documentation for itemized deductions. NOTE: the standard deduction is preferable unless qualified deductible expenses are greater than the standard deduction. However, for some states like CA, itemized deductions may result in a higher deduction on state taxes.
Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)
Married Filing Separately
Head of Household
There is an additional standard deduction of $1,300 for taxpayers who are over age 65 or blind. The amount of the additional standard deduction increases to $1,650 for taxpayers who are unmarried.
• Can I deduct charitable expenses?
For the 2020 tax filing season you may deduct up to $300 in charitable cash donations even if you claim the standard deduction.
Only those who itemize deductions can claim amounts higher than $300.
• Does VITA prepare Schedule C?
We can complete Schedule C returns on a limited basis, but for complicated returns you must contact a tax professional.
• Does my spouse have to be there if I am filing a joint return?
Both spouses have to be present to sign the return either together or individually. If you have a valid power of attorney giving you permission to complete tax returns for your spouse, your spouse does not need to be present with you.
• Do you prepare amendments to previous year’s taxes?
Yes. However, we are very busy during the tax season assisting tax payers with current year returns. We ask that any amendments that need to be filed wait until after April 15th
• What do I need to bring when I do amend my taxes?
You need to bring your original return and documentation for any portions of your return that need to be modified.
• I have a specific tax question not addressed here. Where can I go to find the answer?
The best resource is the IRS. They are here to help you. Information can be found at www.irs.gov or obtained by calling the IRS help line at 1-800-829-1040.
• What tax services are NOT provided by VITA?
a. Income from a Business including Self-Owned Businesses, Partnerships, Day Trading, or Corporations.
b. Certain Capital Gain/Loss Issues, including:
(1) Sale of any asset other than stock, mutual funds, or a personal residence.
(2) Determination of basis issues pertaining to: stock acquired other than by purchase or inheritance (such as a gift or employee stock option plan); inherited property other than Fair Market Value (FMV) of the property on the date of the decedent's death; property acquired from a decedent who died in 2010; and, property received as a gift.
(3) Like-kind exchanges, wash sales, and worthless securities.
(4) Form 1099-B issues pertaining to the boxes on: wash sales; Bartering: Profit or loss realized on closed contracts; Unrealized profit or loss on open contracts-prior or current year; or Aggregate profit or loss on contracts. Entry of large number of stock transactions may result in denial of services.
(5) Reduced exclusion computations/determinations in the sale of a home (i.e. due to home used for business Purposes or as a rental property).
(6) Deductible casualty losses and gains a taxpayer postponed from the sale of a previous home before May 7, 1997.
(7) Cryptocurrency sales or exchanges.
c. Schedule K-1 issues: Taxpayers who require use of Schedule K-1 for any reason other than simple interest income.
d. Schedule C forms resulting in net losses.
e. Self-employment income greater than $35,000
**The above list may be adjusted depending on any updated guidance from the IRS.