Washington (Nov. 12, 2003) -- President Bush has signed bipartisan legislation offering tax relief for military men and women, including reservists.

Last week's House passage of the Senate version of the bill -- after more than a year of delays -- cleared the legislation for the president's consideration.

"This legislation just makes good sense," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who co-authored the bill. "The tax code shouldn't penalize people for serving their country. You shouldn't take a big tax hit on the sale of your home because you weren't living in it while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan."

"If you're a reservist," he continued, "the government should make sure you can fully deduct the expense of traveling in preparation for service. And if you die while serving your country, your family members shouldn't have to sacrifice a big chunk of the death gratuity benefit they receive to income taxes. This legislation is a matter of basic fairness and decency."

The new law increases the current death gratuity benefit from $6,000 to $12,000, eases the requirements that must be met to exclude gain on the sale of a residence for military personnel required to move, and excludes from income amounts received under the Military Housing Assistance Program. It also expands combat zone filing rules to include contingency operations, and provides an above-the-line deduction for overnight travel expenses of National Guard and Reserve members.

-- WebCPA staff

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