For federal tax purposes, the U.S. Armed Forces includes officers and enlisted personnel in all regular and reserve units controlled by the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Coast Guard is also included, but not the U.S. Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross. However, these and other support personnel may qualify for certain tax deadline extensions because of their service in a combat zone.
Tax Laws Affecting the Military
These tax laws provide some special benefits for active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in combat zones.
- First-Time Homebuyer Credit — There are special benefits for members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the United States.
- Economic Stimulus Payments: Especially for Military Combat Personnel — Information on the economic stimulus payments for members of the military serving in a combat zone.
- 2008 New Law: Additional Military Families to Get Stimulus Payments This Fall
- Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 — Tax breaks related to military service
- Questions & Answers on Combat Zone Tax Provisions — Military Pay Exclusions, Deadline Extensions and Miscellaneous Provisions for Qualifying Taxpayers; Employers.
- A Combat Zone E-mail Address for members of the Armed Forces or their families worldwide to alert the IRS that they are serving in a combat zone.
Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide, addresses a wide range of issues that may affect members of the military:
News Releases (IR) and Fact Sheets (FS)
- IR-2010-47 — Haiti Relief Workers Qualify for Combat Zone Extension; Military Personnel and Designated Civilians Have at Least 180 Days to File and Pay
- IR-2007-46 — Free Online Tax Filing Available to Many Military Members
- IR-2006-152 — Active Duty Reservists Get Relief on Retirement Plan Payments; Refunds of 10-Percent Tax Available Back to 2001, New Law Says
- IR-2006-129 — New Law Expands IRA Options for Military; Many Can Still Contribute for 2004 and 2005
- IR-2003-132 — IRS Helps Military Personnel Get New Law's Tax Breaks
- IR-2003-63 — New Tax Scam Targets Families of Armed Forces Members
- IR-2003-43 — Tax Assistance for Military Families; IRS.gov Page for Armed Forces
- FS-2003-11 — Information for Taxpayers Serving in the Armed Forces
- IR-2002-18 — Tax Relief for Troops in the Afghanistan Combat Zone.