Military Times Article on Payroll Tax Deferral and a Cheat Sheet

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Here’s a cheat sheet developed by Dr. Dustin Schuett* for the issue discussed in the article below:

Here’s a link to the Military Times article:

More than a million troops to get temporary pay hike with payroll tax deferral — but there’s a catch

*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense or the United States Government.

Info on Social Security Payroll Tax Deferral for Active Duty

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BLUF – If your monthly basic pay is less than $8,666.66 per month you are going to get extra money deposited in your accounts for the rest of the year, but they will take it back in early 2021.

Here’s the military relevant text from the DFAS page discussing this COVID related Presidential initiative:

In order to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Presidential Memorandum was issued on August 8, 2020 and guidance followed by Internal Revenue Service on August 28, 2020, to temporarily defer Social Security (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) tax withholdings. This change is effective through the end of the 2020 calendar year.

Military Members – Effective for the September mid-month pay, DFAS will temporarily defer the withholding of your 6.2% Social Security tax if your monthly rate of basic pay is less than $8,666.66. If your monthly rate of basic pay is at or above this threshold, your social security tax withholding will not be affected by the temporary deferral. Military members can use their August or prior LES as a good reference for their typical Social Security tax amount. The Social Security tax is labeled as “FICA-SOC SECURITY” on the LES and is calculated as 6.2% of basic pay.

Military members are not eligible to opt-out of the deferral if their Social Security wages fall within the stated limits. The deferral will happen automatically.

Per IRS guidance, collection of the deferred taxes will be taken from your wages between January 1 and April 30, 2021 for both military members and civilian employees. Additional information on the collection process will be provided in the future.

If a military member or civilian employee separates or retires in 2020 before the Social Security tax can be collected in 2021, they are still responsible for the Social Security tax repayment. Additional information on the collection process will be provided in the future.

For questions on the temporary deferral of the 6.2% OASDI withholding:

Still have questions? See the FAQs for more information.

VITA Connects Service Members to Tax Support

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From Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) — The 2019 tax season is underway, and, once again, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is open to eligible Navy personnel, dependents, and retirees at select locations around the globe.

VITA links active-duty and retired service members and their dependents, as well as deployed civilians, to free self-service tax software via Military OneSource.

“VITA is designed to accommodate the increasingly busy lives of Sailors and their families,” said Lt. John Schwietz, the Navy’s VITA program manager at the Office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington, D.C.

As the trend toward self-service tax preparation gains more momentum, VITA has evolved, and the Navy no longer requires Region Legal Service Offices (RLSOs) to stand up brick-and-mortar tax centers. Therefore, Schwietz advises those interested in filing their taxes in-person to first consult the below list of VITA tax centers, and also contact their local RLSO for more information about availability and hours of operation.

“While VITA tax centers are an excellent resource, many find it more convenient to simply access the very same tax filing software used at the tax centers and file on their own,” Schwietz said in reference to the software provided via Military OneSource.

“Customers can securely file their taxes from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection,” he added. Users in need of assistance also can call the Military OneSource helpline to reach tax counselors seven days a week.

The following VITA tax centers are offering self-service VITA services to eligible customers. Customers eligible for VITA under 10 U.S.C. section 1044 can locate the nearest RLSO.

RLSO Midwest VITA Tax Center

Great Lakes

RLSO Southeast VITA Tax Center

Guantanamo Bay

Key West




RLSO Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia VITA Tax Centers





RLSO Japan VITA Tax Centers




RLSO Northwest VITA Tax Centers




Whidbey Island*

RLSO Southwest VITA Tax Centers


San Diego*


* A site that limits VITA services to E1 to E6 service members and their dependents.

Customers are advised to have the following items on-hand when preparing their taxes:

Valid identification for taxpayer/s

Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)

Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number and address

2016 adjusted gross income from last year’s tax return (if you have a copy, VITA volunteers can show you where this amount is)

IRS E-filing PIN (you can get one at or call IRS at 866-704-7388

Income data (W-2s)

All end-year tax documents (1099s)

Student loan payment information

Receipts for child care payment

Receipts for educational expenses


For more information about VITA and tax preparation, read frequently asked questions at For more news from Navy Judge Advocate General, visit

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For more news from Navy Judge Advocate General, visit

TurboTax® Deluxe Online Federal Free Until 15 MAR 2019

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USAA active-duty military and reservists can get TurboTax Deluxe Online Federal at no charge until March 15, 2019. Read about the details here:

Save Money With TurboTax® and USAA