Top Tax Tips For Military Personnel

If you’re a U. S. Armed Forces, special tax cuts are available for you. As usual, there are several unique credits and deductions available to service members. The exceptions are generally related to tax-free incentives for service veterans, and by lowering the tax commitment, these incentives will keep more money in the pockets.

Combat zone 

If you are an Armed Forces member serving in a specified war zone, you might be entitled to deduct some pay from your salary. War Zones are dangerous areas recognized and defined through an Executive Order by the President of the United States. The IRS permits tax exemptions for serving Armed Forces members there. You only need to work one or more days in one month to apply for the exclusion for the entire month. It is necessary to remember that the retirement pay and the benefits are not eligible for removal from the war zone.

Military moving expenses are tax-free

The more good news here: While the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) abolished the moving cost deduction for civilian taxpayers, Armed Forces members still can deduct qualifying unreimbursed moving expenses. Hopefully, the military can cover much of the travel costs, but everything you’ve got to spend out of pocket is deductible on the tax return.

Travel expenses

When you are traveling away from your permanent duty station, you can deduct unrefunded work-related travel expenses. When you’re stationed there, or when you’re traveling for personal reasons, you cannot deduct expenses related to travel overseas. When you’re more than a typical day’s work away from your permanent duty station, you are considered away from home, and you need to sleep and eat. Eligible expenses include business-related meals, lodging, laundry, and business phone calls. If you belong to a reserve part of the armed forces, in accordance with your service, you have to drive more than 100 miles from home, and then you can subtract your travel expenses as an income adjustment.

Your legal partner should also have a domicile

Since changes to the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act or MSRRA in 2018, your civil spouse can now want to be paid by your home rather than the state you reside in. Therefore, while they do not participate in the military, they will get the same treatment for state taxes.

Effective overseas duties grant extra time to file

When April rolls around, and you’re not in the states to handle your tax records and get it straightened out, you can take advantage of the two-month automatic extension for military personnel from abroad. Your taxes are due on June 15 instead of April 15, and if that isn’t enough time, you can apply for an extra four months by sending a Form 486.

Military uniform expenses can be deductible

Your miscellaneous itemized deductions will subtract the expense of any uniforms you purchase, not appropriate for wearing off duty. Both cleaning and repair uniforms are also tax-deductible. Nevertheless, unless the amount deducted is substantial or other itemized deductions have been made, you cannot obtain a tax gain for the expense. You will only subtract the amount of cost that exceeds 2 percent of your total gross income if combined in other miscellaneous itemized deductions.

Educational expenses

The cost of work-related education can be deducted so long as it meets one of two qualifying requirements specified by the IRS:

  • Your employer or the law expects the protection of your wage, rank, or position. It also needs to serve the employer’s bona fide business intent.
  • It preserves or enhances the required skills in your current job.

In all cases, this knowledge can not necessarily be used to fulfill minimum work requirements, or cannot be used to find a new company or trade. Travel and costs to receive this degree should also be excluded, with certain exceptions.

There’s more time left to register your appeal.

If you are stationed abroad or are in a combat zone during the tax filing season, you could have enough time to file a tax return. When you work abroad, you will get longer duration to file your tax return without the need to file an extension. But, this extension only remains until June 15. If you will need more time to apply for your application, you can apply for an extension that gives you time until October 15.

The IRS gives you even more time to file your taxes if you work in a war zone. You have 180 days from either the day you return from the war zone or the day you last received continuous hospitalization for injuries while working in a combat zone to file your return. Besides the number of days, you had to file when you reached the war zone, the 180 days are of no interest as the fees will be levied on you during this extension.

At UBOS, our experts are always available to guide you with anything related to tax planning, tax strategies, and more. Do contact us today at to begin your consultation and learn more about how we can help you!

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