Helpful information for military personnel


FS-2023-14, June 2023

The IRS encourages members of the military and their families to learn more about the special tax benefits available to them.

Free tax preparation resources

MilTax is a Department of Defense program that generally offers free return preparation and e-filing software for all military members and some veterans, with no income limit. This includes federal tax returns and up to three state income tax returns for each qualified user.

In addition, many military bases offer free tax preparation and filing assistance during the tax filing season. Some also offer free tax help after the April tax filing deadline. Service members may want to check with their installation's legal office for more information.

Helpful tax benefits information

IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide PDF, is a free booklet filled with valuable information and tips designed to help service members and their families take advantage of all the tax benefits allowed by law. Several of these key benefits include:

  • Combat pay is partially or fully tax-free. Service members serving in support of a combat zone or in a qualified hazardous duty area may also qualify for this exclusion. In addition, U.S. citizens or resident aliens, such as spouses, who worked as contractors or employees of contractors supporting the U.S. armed forces in designated combat zones, may qualify for the foreign earned income exclusion.
  • Members of the military, such as those who serve in a combat zone or are serving in contingency operations outside the United States, can postpone most tax deadlines. Those who qualify can get automatic extensions of time to file and pay their taxes.
  • The Earned Income Tax Credit is worth up to $6,935 for tax year 2022. Low- and moderate-income service members who receive nontaxable combat pay can use a special computation method that may boost the EITC, meaning they may owe less tax or get a larger refund.
  • Dependent care assistance programs for military personnel are excludable benefits and not included in the military member's income.
  • Members of the armed forces on active duty may be eligible to deduct unreimbursed moving expenses if their move was due to a military order and permanent change of station. Also, allowances paid to move members of the U.S. armed forces for a permanent change of station are not taxable.

Additional information

Both spouses normally must sign a joint income tax return, but if one spouse is absent due to certain military duties or conditions, the other spouse may be able to sign for him or her. As a reminder, the IRS has a special page on with Tax Information for Members of the U.S. armed forces.