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Filing Extensions and Tax Return Preparation Assistance for Military Personnel Stationed Abroad or In a Combat Zone

International Tax Gap Series

If you are in the military stationed abroad or are in a combat zone during the tax filing season, you may qualify for certain automatic extensions related to the filing and paying of your federal income taxes.


Some members of the military, such as those who serve in a combat zone, can postpone some tax deadlines. If this applies to you, you can get automatic extensions of time to file your tax return and to pay your taxes.


To assist you in making accurate and informed decisions, the IRS has a dedicated web page, Tax Information for Members of the Military, which provides questions and answers on combat zone tax provisions and Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide. The web page and publication includes instructions on how members can ‘self-identify’ to advise the IRS of their combat zone status.

In addition, the IRS has partnered with the Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) to provide outreach to military personnel and their families. The AFTC consists of the tax program coordinators from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families.

Military personnel and their families may also take advantage of the IRS military-based Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  Trained VITA volunteer assistors are able to address military-specific tax issues, such as filing deadlines when outside the United States, combat zone tax benefits, and the Earned Income Tax Credit guidelines.

As with all our programs, Taxpayer Advocate Services (TAS) is available to assist taxpayers who are experiencing problems in their dealings with the IRS. TAS can be contacted by calling 1-877-777-4778.

Thank you for serving our country.

References & Links
Publication 3 – Armed Forces’ Tax Guide
Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC)
Combat Zone E-mail Address 
Extension of Deadline – Combat Zone Service Q & A
Questions & Answers on Combat Zone Tax Provisions
Tax Information for Members of the Military
Taxpayer Advocate Services (TAS) 
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

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  The International Tax Gap Series

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 25-Nov-2015