Military Personnel & Returning Veterans


Many enlisted members of the military earn less than $30,000 and are raising children. In addition, many National Guard members and Reservists have been activated for duty, which can result in a significant reduction in a family’s income. When enlisted members transition out of the military, they tend to experience longer periods of unemployment than civilians and tend to earn lower wages. Military families and returning veterans may qualify for tax benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), but not realize they are eligible.


  • Military units’ Family Assistance Centers
  • Local American Red Cross
  • Local Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • Job training and vocational programs
  • Programs designed to support returning veterans


1. Reach out to families of military personnel.

Make sure families are aware of the EITC, the CTC, and free tax filling assistance programs in their communities. Find them through local Family Assistance Centers and organizations that provide support to families of units called up for active duty such as the American Red Cross and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.


2. Inform military personnel and veterans about MilTax.

MilTax is a free tax filing software designed to address the needs of military families. Users can file a federal tax return and up to three state returns. Tax professionals are also available to answer any questions.

3. Incorporate tax credit outreach with programs for returning veterans.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) provides valuable resources for returning veterans, including assistance with finding jobs and information about benefits for veterans. TAP is well-positioned to disseminate tax credit information as well.

4. Engage job training and vocational programs.

Returning veterans are often faced with the need to go back to school so that they can secure employment. Inform job training programs about the EITC, CTC, and free tax filing assistance.

Female industrial worker looking away while driving forklift truck

5. Work with VITA sites on military bases.

There are nearly 50 VITA sites at U.S. military installations. Contact these VITA sites and ask whether veterans recently leaving the military can use the VITA services offered at the post or base. Families that don’t live near a military post and returning veterans may not get the relevant tax information they need since there are special rules about military combat pay and tax credit eligibility some tax preparers may not be familiar with. Use this locator tool to identify military VITA sites.

6. Share information about the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit and expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. 

The 2021 American Rescue Plan included multiple temporary one-year tax credit changes. The 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit is worth up to $3,600 for each child under 6 years old, and $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17 years old. The 2021 expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is worth up to $1,500 for workers not raising children or up to $6,700 for workers raising children in their home. 

People who were eligible for the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit or the 2021 expanded EITC and didn’t claim them can file a 2021 tax return by April 18, 2025. Learn more about filing prior year taxes. 


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