Tax Season is Just Around the Corner: Let’s Get Ready
Getting ready for the 2020 tax season should start now. The most important task is to make sure you have an active myPay account and your mailing address is correct. If you have updated your information with another government agency, such as the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) or the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting Service (DEERS), you also need to update your information with DFAS and vice-versa.
Log on to myPay
If you’re not using myPay, now is a great time to get started. With the refresh this spring, myPay is now simpler, streamlined and more mobile-friendly. That means it’s easier to manage your pay account using the web browser on your computer or with a connected device, like your smartphone or tablet.
The advantage of using myPay is that your 1099-R tax statement will be available much sooner in myPay than through postal mail. 1099-Rs generally become available in myPay in late December, while paper copies aren’t mailed until mid-to-late January. In addition, in myPay you can download or print your current year tax statement, as well as prior year 1099Rs (up to four prior years for retirees and up to two prior years for annuitants).
While you’re in myPay, you can also easily check to make sure we have your correct mailing address.
It’s easy to get started with myPay
If you’ve never used myPay, you can request an initial password on the myPay homepage using the “Forgot or Need a Password” link. The password will be mailed to the address you have on file with DFAS and you will receive it in about 10 business days.
Once you receive your password in the mail, you can return to the myPay homepage and log in with your social security number and the password you received in the mail to create your myPay profile.
Reactivating your myPay account
We know that some of you only use myPay once a year to get your 1099-R during tax season. Then, when you do try to access your account, you discover that your password is expired, lost or forgotten. If this sounds like something that has happened to you, please update your password now, before the tax season starts. Waiting to update your password might mean longer wait times and potential delays in receiving your tax documents.
If your myPay account is in an inactive status because your password has expired, you can follow the simple steps below to reactivate your account.
- Go to mypay.dfas.mil in your web browser on a computer or connected device
- Click on the “Forgot or Need a Password?” link and enter your Login ID or Social Security Number
- Choose to send a temporary password to your email or mailing address of record
- When you receive the temporary password, go back to myPay and log in to reactivate your account.
Please don’t wait until January, February, or March to access your myPay account so you can be prepared for tax season.
The self-service options available through myPay simplify the management of your military retirement or annuity and give you access to personalized information about your account.
Check your tax withholding
Now is a good time to check and adjust your tax withholding, if needed.
Use the new IRS Tax Withholding Estimator
The IRS has a new online Tax Withholding Estimator to help you determine how much tax you need to have withheld. The calculator helps taxpayers estimate if the right amount is being withheld from their income to cover their tax liability. The estimator uses a simple, six-step question-and-answer format using information like marital or filing status, income, withholding, adjustments, deductions and credits.
The mobile-friendly estimator replaces the Withholding Calculator:
The IRS urges both pension recipients and wage earners to do a Paycheck Checkup now and review their withholding for 2019. This is especially important for anyone who faced an unexpected tax bill or penalty when they filed earlier this year. It’s also a critical step for those who made withholding adjustments in 2018 or had a major life change, such as marriage, the birth of a child, adoption or buying a home.
According to the IRS, people most at risk of having too little tax withheld include those who itemized in the past, but now take the increased standard deduction. They also include households with two wage earners, employees with non-wage sources of income and those with complex tax situations.
In addition, anyone who changes their withholding in the middle or latter part of this year should do another Paycheck Checkup in January. That will help ensure that they have the right amount of tax withheld for all of 2020.
According to the IRS, the Tax Withholding Estimator will ask you to estimate values of your 2019 income, the number of children you will claim for the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, and other items that will affect your 2019 taxes. This process will take a few minutes.
To use the estimator, IRS recommends you:
- Have your most recent Retiree Account Statement (RAS) or Annuitant Account Statement (AAS), which is easily available in myPay.
- Have your most recent income tax return handy; a copy of your completed Form 1040 will help you estimate your 2019 income and other characteristics and speed the process.
- Keep in mind that the Estimator’s results will only be as accurate as the information you provide. If your circumstances change during the year, come back to this Estimator to make sure that your withholding is still correct.
- The Tax Withholding Estimator does not ask you to provide sensitive personally-identifiable information like your name, Social Security number, address or bank account numbers. The IRS does not save or record the information you enter on the Estimator.
Changing your federal tax withholding
If you need to change your withholding, you can do it easily in myPay. Or you can fill out and mail an IRS Form W-4 if you are a military retiree or an IRS Form W-4P if you are an SBP annuitant. Be sure to use the 2019 forms if you are sending the form before January 1, 2020. The forms are available on the IRS website and are also linked from our Forms page.
DFAS customer service representatives cannot provide tax advice or recommendations on withholding. Please consult a tax professional if you have questions about your taxes.
Page last updated on Sept 25, 2019