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-2018-95 — Combat zone tax benefits now available to Armed Forces members who served in the Sinai Peninsula; IRS accepting retroactive tax refund claims back to 2015
- IR-2016-147 — Tax Preparedness Series: Special Tax Breaks for U. S. Armed Forces
- IR-2016-77 — IRS Marks National Military Appreciation Month; Free Tax Guide Focuses on Tax Benefits for Members of the Military
- IR-2015-80 — IRS Marks National Military Appreciation Month; Free Tax Guide Focuses on Tax Benefits for Members of the Military
- IR-2012-56— For Small Business Week, IRS Spotlights Expanded Tax Credit for Hiring Veterans, Credit for Providing Health Care Coverage to Employees and Tax Relief
- IR-2012-17— IRS Releases Guidance on How to Claim Expanded Veterans Tax Credit; Certification Requirements Streamlined
- IR-2010-97 — IRS to Hold Special Open House Saturday, Sept. 25 for Veterans and Persons with Disabilities
- 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