Four Tax Tips for Armed Forces Personnel

Tax Deductions and Credits

As we honor those who have served our country and continue to serve this Veteran’s Day, we would like to share money saving tax tips for our troops protecting our country.

While you’re out there protecting our country, you may not be thinking about tax benefits available to you.

Here are some of the key tax benefits available to those in the military currently serving on active duty:

Key Income Exclusions

There are very few exceptions to the general rule that all income resulting from your work efforts (e.g., your job) are taxable.  But one of those rare exceptions applies to certain active duty military personnel: combat pay.

If you serve in a combat zone in a given month (Some recent examples include the Afghanistan area, the Kosovo area, and the Arabian peninsula.), your pay for that month is excluded from your W2.

As a result, you don’t need to do anything special on your tax return (like remembering to deduct the combat pay), because it will have already been removed from your W2.

In addition to combat pay, the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and the Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) are also excluded from your taxable income, so you’ll pay no taxes on those amounts either.

Extended Deadlines

Normal extension deadlines are until October 15th, but if something else is at play, say qualifying service in a combat zone or service in a contingency operation, you could receive a far longer extension.  If such a situation applies to you, your extended deadline is based on the date you left for the operation/combat zone and the date you returned.

Moving

If you move your permanent station, some moving expenses, such as the cost to transport your possessions and your family, are tax deductible.  Moving from home to your first permanent station also counts as a tax deductible move.

Not Available to Sign?

If one spouse is not available to sign his or her joint return (for example, because he or she is overseas, missing, or in a combat zone), the unavailable spouse could sign Form 2848 (Power of Attorney) before departing (or while away, if feasible).

If that should prove impossible, the available spouse can sign for the other spouse and indicate the reason for doing so when filing the joint tax return.

With thanks for your service, these are some of the top tax tips for active duty personnel.  TurboTax has TurboTax Military Edition to help you receive all of the tax benefits you’re eligible for.  Keep reading the blog for other tax and saving tips that might also be applicable to you.

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