Free help filing taxes gives boost to military spouses

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DEAR ABBY: My husband is a commander in the Air Force Reserve, recently deployed overseas. In his absence, I have been trying to establish a support group for the spouses of the deployed reservists in his unit.

A number of questions have come up among the spouses regarding the filing of income taxes for 2005. I am wondering if you know of any resources available for military service and family members, especially reservists. Could you please help me find accurate information and/or sources of assistance in this area? Thanks!

KATHERINE L. JOHNSON

DEAR KATHERINE: Every year, when tax season rolls around, there are always lots of questions. Some of them come in January, but most arise just before April 15. The good news is, help is now available for military service and family members at no cost.

This year, the Department of Defense is providing free access to the popular TurboTax filing program to all active duty guard and reserves (regardless of their activation status) and their family members via the Web site www.militaryonesource.com. This free program serves as an online tax mentor and helps in the preparation and filing of both federal and state taxes. Military OneSource can also refer you to certified financial counselors, tax experts and public accountants who can answer questions, also at no charge, by calling toll-free: (800) 342-9647. (To access the numbers for overseas, Spanish language and hearing-impaired tax filers, log onto www.militaryonesource.com.)

Katherine, Id like to personally thank you for establishing a support group for the spouses in your husbands unit because I am sure that at least some of them may feel isolated from one another while their loved ones are away. If you havent already considered it, you might want to check with your nearest military installation family readiness group, state coordinator or family program director. Military OneSources 24/7 readiness counselors can also connect you to whatever information or support services you need. Please convey my appreciation to your unit and the members of your new spouse group. I salute you.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter has six beautiful children. Lately, my grandkids have been repeating conversations that their mother has had with their father. Some of the things they say are hurtful. They are young the oldest are 8 and 7 too young for me to tell them that what they are saying is unacceptable.

Example: The oldest says, Your house is so small, you have no room for visitors. We do have a small house, but people are always welcome, and our dearest friends and family members know it. Once, the younger one said to me, Dad says you laugh and talk too loud. This hurt me, and I cant help but take it personally. Should I say something to my daughter and son-in-law? And if so, what do I say without embarrassing them? Thanks.

SMARTING

DEAR SMARTING: Excuse me, but I must disagree with you about something. At ages 8 and 7, your grandchildren are plenty old enough to be told when they say something rude and hurtful. Please dont wait any longer.

And as to what to say to your daughter and son-in-law start out this way: Little pitchers have big ears, and not only that, they leak. You can wing it from there. Shame on them.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: Abbys Favorite Recipes and More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby. Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.) Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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