Its that time of year. Many people dread tax time, either they try and do their own taxes, or they know they have to go and retain a firm like H&R Block, or other firm to help them with their taxes. Well, members of the Military have a benefit that many civilians do not have access to. They have free legal help in various matters, including Tax assistance. Often times people who serve in our Armed Forces have a need for legal help or legal services. It can be something simple such as having a document notarized, or more in depth such as drafting a will, or drawing up a power of attorney. But as a member of the Armed Forces, a Servicemember has access to the local JAG office, or Judge Advocate General.
This is the office that military lawyers operate out of, and each branch of the Armed Forces has a JAG office. Most larger bases have a JAG officer, or officers, and it’s the JAG office that a Servicemember will seek out when they have a need for legal assistance. Even in items as mundane as doing a person’s taxes can be aided by legal assistance. And as a member of the Armed forces, such assistance is free to active duty personnel.
Visiting the local legal office, or JAG office can be an advantage even when you don’t need direct legal assistance. Not only can they help you with expert advice on your taxes, but also they can assist you in other areas, with referrals, publications, and advice on a variety of legal and consumer issues that are of interest to Servicemembers. Legal JAG offices are accessible on most larger bases, and those with no direct JAG or legal office often have a method of referral or access to a larger facility that does have one. JAG lawyers are members of the legal profession in the military, and are commonly members of the bar in the location where they are stationed. This means they often can practice law and represent Servicemembers in civilian courts and civilian issues where they need to. A JAG lawyer is someone that has graduated from an accredited law school, and are licensed to practice law in military courts, as well as whatever civilian court jurisdiction that they have passed the bar exam in.
For the most part JAG lawyers, and their legal staff help members of the Active Duty forces only, but sometimes they assist members of the National Guard and Reserve if they are on TDY or active duty call up.