Extension of Deadlines — Combat Zone Service
Q-11: I have been serving in a combat zone since last November. I understand that the deadline for performing certain actions required by the tax laws is extended as a result of my service. When did these deadline extensions begin for me?
A-11: The deadline extension provisions apply to most tax actions required to be performed on or after the beginning date for your combat zone, or the date you began serving in that combat zone, whichever is later. In your case, the deadline extensions began the day you started serving in the combat zone last November.
Q-12: My son is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who has been serving in a combat zone since March 1. Is he entitled to an extension of time for filing and paying his federal income taxes? Are any assessment or collection deadlines extended?
A-12: For both questions, the answer is yes. In general, the deadlines for performing certain actions applicable to his taxes are extended for the period of his service in the combat zone, plus 180 days after his last day in the combat zone. This extension applies to the filing and paying of your son's income taxes that would have been due April 15. In addition to the 180 days, his extension period will include the 46 days that were left before the April 15th deadline when he entered the combat zone. During his 226-day extension period, assessment and collection deadlines will be extended, and he will not be charged interest or penalties attributable to the extension period.
Q-13: Assuming the same facts as in question 12, does the extension for filing and paying his individual income taxes apply to unearned income from my son’s investments?
A-13: Yes. The extensions apply without regard to the source of your son's income.
Q-14: Assuming the same facts as in question 12, will the deadline extension provisions continue to apply if my son is hospitalized as a result of an injury sustained in the combat zone?
A-14: Yes. The deadline extension provisions will apply for the period that your son is continuously hospitalized outside of the United States as a result of injuries sustained while serving in a combat zone, including 180 days thereafter. For hospitalization inside the United States, the extension period cannot be more than 5 years.
Q-15: My son is a member of a unit of the U.S. Armed Forces and most members of the unit have been serving in a combat zone since April 1. My son has been overseas since February 1, but he did not enter the combat zone until May 1. Is he entitled to an extension of time for filing and paying his federal income taxes that were due April 15?
A-15: No. The extension applies only to a deadline arising on or after the date your son entered the combat zone on May 1.
Q-16: Do the deadline extension provisions apply only to members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in the combat zone?
A-16: No. Unlike the combat zone military pay exclusion, the deadline extensions also apply to individuals serving in the combat zone in support of the U.S. Armed Forces, such as merchant marines serving aboard vessels under the operational control of the Department of Defense, Red Cross personnel, accredited correspondents, and civilian personnel acting under the direction of the U.S. Armed Forces in support of those forces.
Q-17: Do the deadline extensions apply only to those within a combat zone?
A-17: No. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces who perform military service in an area outside a combat zone qualify for the suspension of time provisions if their service is in direct support of military operations in the combat zone, and they receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense. Q&A-1 lists various combat zones and the support areas certified by the Department of Defense. The Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 further applied the deadline extension provisions to those serving in a Contingency Operation, as designated by the Secretary of Defense.
Q-18: My son is a civilian explosive specialist who is in a combat zone training U.S. Armed Forces personnel serving in a combat zone. Do the deadline extension provisions apply to my son?
A-18: Yes. The deadline extension provisions apply to your son because he is serving in a combat zone in support of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Q-19: My husband is a private businessman working in a combat zone on nonmilitary projects. Do the deadline extension provisions apply to my husband?
A-19: No. Other than military personnel, the only individuals working in a combat zone that are entitled to the deadline extension provisions are those serving in support of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Q-20: I am a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone. Do the deadline extension provisions apply to my husband who is in the United States?
A-20: Yes. The deadline extension provisions apply not only to members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces (or individuals serving in support thereof) in the combat zone, but to their spouses as well, with two exceptions. First, if you are hospitalized in the United States as a result of injuries received while serving in a combat zone, the deadline extension provisions would not apply to your husband. Second, the deadline extension provisions for your husband do not apply for any tax year beginning more than 2 years after the date of the termination of the combat zone designation.
Q-21: Assuming the same facts as in question 20, will my husband have to file a joint tax return in order to benefit from the deadline extension provisions?
A-21: No. The deadline extension provisions apply to both spouses whether joint or separate returns are filed. If your husband chooses to file a separate return, he will have the same extension of time to file and pay his taxes that you have.
Q-22: My husband is serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in a combat zone. Last year, our son, who is 12 years old, received interest income on which he owes tax because the amount exceeded his standard deduction. Our daughter, who is 17 years old, received both investment income and earned income from a part-time job. She is entitled to a refund of part of the tax withheld from her pay. We claim both children as dependents on our federal individual income tax return. Must I file individual income tax returns for our children while my husband is in the combat zone?
A-22: No. Filing individual income tax returns for your dependent children is not required while your husband is in the combat zone. Instead, these returns will be timely if filed on or before the deadline for filing your joint income tax return under the applicable deadline extensions. When filing your children’s individual income tax returns, put "COMBAT ZONE" in red at the top of those returns. Because your older child is entitled to a refund, she may want to file her income tax return and obtain her refund without regard to the extension.
Q-23: I am a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone. My spouse and our three children live in our home in the United States. During the year, a child care provider took care of our children in our home. We are required to file a Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes, as an attachment to our joint income tax return to report the employment taxes on wages we paid to our child care provider. Does the deadline extension apply to the filing of Schedule H as an attachment to our income tax return?
A-23: Yes. The deadline extension applies to all schedules and forms that are filed as attachments to an income tax return.
Q-24: Almost two years ago, the IRS contacted me to collect tax on a joint income tax return I had filed with my now former spouse. I believe only my former spouse should be held liable for the tax. I understand that I may file Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief, within 2 years of the first collection activity against me by the IRS. I have just entered a combat zone. Do the deadline extensions apply to the filing of Form 8857?
A-24: Yes. In addition to deadlines for filing and paying taxes, there are various time-sensitive acts for which performance may be postponed because of combat zone service. The 2-year period after the first collection activity for requesting innocent spouse relief is one of these. Other examples are the 90-day limit for filing a Tax Court petition, the 30-day limit for requesting a Collection Due Process hearing, the 60-day period for rolling over a distribution from a qualified tuition plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account into another such plan or ESA, respectively, and the annual distribution from a retirement plan of substantially equal amounts to avoid an excise tax for premature distributions.
Q-25: I served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan from April 1, 2002, until August 31, 2002. I was reassigned to the Arabian Peninsula Areas on March 5, 2003. I understand that I was entitled to an extension of time for filing and paying my 2001 income taxes of 195 days (180 days plus the 15-day period that was left before the April 15, 2002 deadline). This extension period would have expired on March 14, 2003 -- 195 days from September 1, 2002 (my first day out of the combat zone in Afghanistan). What effect does my reentry into a combat zone have on my extension for filing and paying my 2001 income taxes?
A-25: Because the extension period had not expired for your 2001 individual income tax return before you reentered a combat zone, a new 180-day period will begin after you leave a combat zone for the second time. In addition, any time that remained in the 15-day period when you entered the Arabian Peninsula Areas adds to the new 180-day period when you leave the Arabian Peninsula Areas. In determining how much of the 15-day period is unused, treat the 180-day period as being used first. In your case, on March 5, 2003, 10 of the 15 days remained. After you leave the Arabian Peninsula Areas, you will have a 190-day extension period for filing and paying your 2001 income taxes. You will have a 222-day period (180 days plus the 42 days that remained before April 15, 2003) to file and pay your 2002 taxes.
Q-26: My wife is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone. Can she make a timely qualified retirement contribution for last year to her individual retirement account (IRA) after April 15 this year but on or before the due date of her individual income tax return after applying the deadline extension provisions?
A-26: Yes. Your wife can make a timely qualified retirement contribution for the year to her IRA on or before the extended deadline for filing her income tax return for that year under the extension provisions.
Q-27: My brother, who began serving in the U.S. Armed Forces in a combat zone in early January, did not make his fourth estimated tax payment for the year, due January 15. Will he be liable for estimated tax penalties?
A-27: No. Your brother is covered by the deadline extension rules and will not be liable for any penalties if he files and pays any tax due by his extended filing due date.
Q-28: My son, who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, was on an installment payment plan with the IRS for back income taxes before he was assigned to a combat zone. What should be done now that he is in the combat zone?
A-28: The IRS office where your son was making payments should be contacted. Because your son is serving in a combat zone, he will not have to make payments on his past due taxes for his period of service in the combat zone plus 180 days. No additional penalties or interest will be charged during this deadline extension period.
Q-29: My son, who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone, will file his individual income tax return for last year after the regular April 15 due date, but on or before the end of the deadline extension for filing that return. He expects to receive a refund. Will the IRS pay interest on the refund?
A-29: Yes. The IRS will pay interest from the April 15 due date on a refund issued to your son if he files his individual income tax return on or before the due date of that return after applying the deadline extension provisions. If his return is not timely filed on or before the extended due date, no interest will be paid on the refund except as provided under the normal refund rules. Even though the deadline is extended, your son may file a return earlier to receive any refund due.
Q-30: Do the deadline extension provisions apply to tax returns other than the individual income tax return?
A-30: Yes. The deadline postponement provision also applies to estate, gift, employment, and excise tax returns. However, the provision only applies to employment and excise tax returns of individual, sole-proprietors (generally Schedule C filers) in a combat zone. The provision does not apply to other tax and information returns, such as those for corporate income taxes, or to employment or excise taxes of an entity, such as an S Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC) where the owner or main person is in the combat zone.
Q-31: My husband and I are civilian employees of defense contractors. I work in the United States and my husband temporarily works in Germany. Our jobs involve the production of equipment used by the U.S. Armed Forces for a combat zone operation. Do the deadline extension provisions apply to either of us?
A-31: No. The deadline extension provisions do not apply to civilian employees of defense contractors unless they are serving in a combat zone in support of the U.S. Armed Forces.
For more details on deadline extensions related to military service,
see Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide.