Washington (April 7, 2003) -- The Internal Revenue Service has created a new section on its Web site containing important information for members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone. 

The new information is available on the front page of IRS.gov by clicking on “Armed Forces Tax Benefits.”  The new section highlights several special tax provisions that apply to those in combat, which can include extensions for filing tax returns and paying taxes and exclusion of some military pay from taxes.

"At this important time, our dedicated military personnel in combat zones should not be worried about tax issues," said IRS Acting Commissioner Bob Wenzel. "We want each of them to receive all of the tax benefits that they are entitled to.  We want all of our servicemen and servicewomen -- and their families -- to know that we are here to help."

Generally, enlistees up to warrant officers (including commissioned warrant officers) exclude all their military pay received for military service in a combat zone.  For commissioned officers, the monthly exclusion is capped at the highest enlisted pay, plus any hostile fire or imminent danger pay received. For 2002, this limit was $5,532.90 and for 2003, it is $5,882.70. Amounts excluded from gross income are not subject to federal income tax.

The deadline for filing returns, making payments or taking any other action with the IRS is extended for at least 180 days after the last day of qualifying combat zone service, or the last day of any continuous qualified hospitalization for injury from the combat zone.  The IRS is currently working with the military to obtain information about reservists and regular military personnel serving in combat areas. 

During this interim period, people in the military, their spouses or their authorized representatives should mark “Combat Zone” at the top of the form along with the date of deployment, or contact the IRS through the special e-mail address at IRS.gov.  Correspondence should include the name, date of birth, and date of deployment of the service member. No Social Security numbers should be included in the e-mail, and only military-related e-mails should go to this address. 

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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