Information For...

For you and your family
Standard mileage and other information

Forms and Instructions

Individual Tax Return
Instructions for Form 1040
Request for Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and Certification
Request for Transcript of Tax Return

 

Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate
Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return
Employers engaged in a trade or business who pay compensation
Installment Agreement Request

Popular For Tax Pros

Amend/Fix Return
Apply for Power of Attorney
Apply for an ITIN
Rules Governing Practice before IRS

New Law Expands IRA Options for Military; Many Can Still Contribute for 2004 and 2005

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IR-2006-129, Aug. 18, 2006

WASHINGTON — Members of the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zone localities can now put money into an individual retirement account, even if they received tax-free combat pay, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Under the Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities (HERO) Act, signed into law on Memorial Day, taxpayers can now count tax-free combat pay when determining whether they qualify to contribute to either a Roth or traditional IRA. Before this change, members of the military whose earnings came entirely from tax-free combat pay were generally barred from using IRAs to save for retirement.

“The HERO act is one more way to let our fighting forces in combat areas know that we support them,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “This is a good way for people serving in combat zones to save more of their earnings for retirement.”

In addition, the HERO Act allows military personnel who received tax-free combat pay in either 2004 or 2005 to go back and make IRA contributions for those years. Eligible military members will have extra time, until May 28, 2009, to make these special back-year contributions.

For those under the age of 50, the IRA contribution limit was $3,000 for 2004 and $4,000 for 2005. For those 50 and over, the limit was $3,500 for 2004 and $4,500 for 2005.

Taxpayers choosing to put money into a Roth IRA don’t need to report these contributions on their individual tax return. Roth contributions are not deductible, but distributions, usually after retirement, are normally tax-free. Income limits and other special rules apply.

On the other hand, contributions to a traditional IRA are often, though not always, deductible, and distributions are generally taxable.

Deductible or not, contributions to a traditional IRA must be reported on the return for the year made. Deductible contributions are claimed on Form 1040, 1040A or 1040NR. Nondeductible contributions are reported on Form 8606, which is normally attached to one of these individual return Forms.

If a return has already been filed for a particular year, contributions should be reported on an amended return, Form 1040X. Depending upon the circumstances, military personnel who choose to put money into a traditional IRA for 2004 or 2005 may qualify for additional tax refunds.

For those planning ahead, the IRA contribution limit for 2006 is $4,000 for those under age 50 and $5,000 for those 50 and over.

Related Items:

Subscribe to IRS Newswire