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Combat Zones Approved for Tax Benefits

This page provides a list of IRS recognized combat zones. IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide, is the authoritative source for all military-specific tax matters and covers this information thoroughly.

Note. The term “combat zone(s)” is a general term used on IRS.gov and includes all of the following hostile areas where military may serve: actual combat areas, direct combat support areas, and contingency operations areas.

Requirements

To qualify for combat-related tax benefits, you must be an eligible member who meets one of the following options with service in an area listed further below.

  • Option 1 
    • Service in an active combat area as designated by Executive Order, and…
    • Receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense.
  • Option 2
    • Service in a support area as designated by the Department of Defense in direct sustainment of military operations in the combat zone, and…
    • Receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense.
  • Option 3
    • Service in a contingency operation as designated by the Department of Defense, and…
    • Receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense.

Current Recognized Combat Zones

  • Sinai Peninsula

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted in December 2017, members of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard who performed services in the Sinai Peninsula can now claim combat zone tax benefits.

  • Afghanistan Area

By Executive Order No. 13239, Afghanistan (and the airspace above) was designated as a combat zone beginning September 19, 2001.

    • Afghanistan

The following countries were certified by the Department of Defense for combat zone benefits due to their direct support of military operations in the Afghanistan combat zone.

    • Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan (as of September 19, 2001)
    • Philippines (from January 9, 2002 through September 30, 2015)
    • Djibouti (as of July 1, 2002)
    • Yemen (as of April 10, 2002)
    • Somalia and Syria (as of January 1, 2004)

Note. For the Philippines only, the personnel must be deployed in conjunction with Operation Enduring Freedom supporting military operations in the Afghanistan combat zone.

  • Kosovo Area

By Executive Order No. 13119, the following locations (and the airspace above) were designated as a combat zone beginning March 24, 1999.

    • The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro)
    • Albania
    • Kosovo
    • The Adriatic Sea
    • The Lonian Sea – north of the 39th parallel

Note. The combat zone designation for Montenegro and Kosovo (previously a province within Serbia) under Executive Order 13119 remains in force even though Montenegro and Kosovo became independent nations since EO 13119 was signed.

  • Arabian Peninsula Area

By Executive Order No. 12744, the following locations (and the airspace above) were designated as a combat zone beginning January 17, 1991.

    • The Persian Gulf
    • The Red Sea
    • The Gulf of Oman
    • The part of the Arabian Sea that is north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude
    • The Gulf of Aden
    • The total land areas of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates

The following countries were certified by the Department of Defense for combat zone tax benefits due to their direct support of military operations in the Arabian Peninsula combat zone.

    • Jordan (as of March 19, 2003)
    • Lebanon (as of February 12, 2015)