Members of the United States military put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, so it should come as no surprise that they are eligible for special benefits not available to civilians. Many brick and mortar businesses offer a discount to veterans, but new changes will soon also allow veterans to save money while shopping online.

Currently there are two online shopping sites, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) and the Navy Exchange (NEX), open to all eligible military exchange shoppers. However, these sites are somewhat limited in the fact that they are only open to:

  • Active Duty
  • Guard and Reserve Members and Retirees
  • Dependent Family Members
  • 100% Disabled Veterans
  • And Certain Others

A new online shopping experience will soon be introduced to give past service members the opportunity to enjoy veteran discounts online. Deliberations have been taking place at the Pentagon for a few years and finally a change in the Defense Department policy is extending the online exchange shopping privileges to an estimated 18 million more veterans, including many who have served four or five deployments in the post-9/11 era.

The new exchange will sell thousands of items – including apparel, electronics, furniture and more – at a discount and sales-tax free, which can really add up for big ticket items. The profits leftover after operating costs are deducted will be returned to the military. About half of the proceeds will go to installation morale, welfare and recreation programs. The other half will be used for construction and to improve the store and other facilities. It is estimated that the new program will bring in between $18 and $72 million.

One possible hiccup is the verification of veteran eligibility, which could prove difficult because the only source for verification of military customers is The Defense Manpower Data Center. Initial setup costs are estimated at about half a million dollars, which will be reimbursed by the AAFES. The program is expected to become fully implemented by November 2017, just in time for Veterans Day.

Tax Preparation in Florida

Of course, if you’re going to spend money you first have to make money, and if you’re making money you’re also having to pay income tax to both state and federal governments. If you’re looking for a tax preparer who specializes in military tax returns, contact G.I. Tax. The knowledgeable and professional financial advisors and tax preparers at G.I. Tax can assist you through every step of the filing process. With Tax Day quickly approaching, we are here to help with all your tax needs in the Melbourne area. Give us a call at 800-877-4482 today.