Military tax statements should be available online on myPay by no later than Jan. 25, according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Some will be available online weeks earlier; the schedule depends on your status and your branch of service. For those who receive their tax statements by mail, those forms will be mailed no later than Jan. 31.

Military retirees will have access to their retiree 1099R statements on myPay starting Dec. 15.

As for tax statements on myPay for active duty and members of the Reserve components:

• Reserve Army, Navy, Air Force W-2: Jan. 8

• Active duty and Reserve Marine Corps W-2: Jan. 13

• Active duty Army, Navy, Air Force W-2: Jan. 25

Tax statements for annuitants will be ready on myPay by Dec. 19; federal civilian employees serviced by DFAS will have access to their W-2 statements by Jan. 20.

Starting in January, DFAS customer service phone numbers will provide prompts for those who need tax statements reissued. DFAS also provides for online requests through its askDFAS feature. Click on “Contact Us” at the top of the myPay site for more information. Phone and online requests are answered within seven to 10 business days with printed and mailed documents.

While you can start gathering your documents and working on your tax returns, you can’t file the returns immediately. The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t start accepting tax returns generally until late January. That start date hasn’t yet been announced, but it should be announced in early January.

Service members and their families have options for free tax preparation, through on-base tax centers with trained, certified volunteers who also have training in military-specific tax questions. In addition, Military OneSource offers free MilTax Preparation and e-Filing software starting in mid-January. Military tax consultants are also available year-round through Military OneSource for those with questions.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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