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Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces

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.

See Tax Information for Members of the Military.


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.


Combat Zones


Publications

  • Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide, addresses a wide range of issues that may affect members of the military:
    • Online — browse the publication to find specific information;
    • Portable Document Format (PDF) — download a copy to read later or print select pages;
    • Hardcopy — order a paper copy by calling 1-800-829-3676. 

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.

Legal Guidance

  • Revenue Ruling 2009-11 — Differential Wage Payments to Active Duty Members of the Uniformed Services
  • Notice 2003-21 — Tax Relief for Those Involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Notice 2002-17 — Tax Relief for Those Involved in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 22-Jan-2016