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Tax Extensions for the Military

For our Brothers and Sisters in Arms , there are special tax extension allowances relative to the filing of their federal income tax returns.  The Internal Revenue Service provides a special Publication for our Armed Forces personnel, Publication 3 (Armed Forces Tax Guide).

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Military and Naval Personnel who are stationed outside the United States or Puerto Rico at the time their income tax return is due (April 17th, 2012) are granted an automatic two month tax extension to file their income tax return, provided that the location was a combat zone or a contingency operation area.  A contingency operation is initiated by the Secretary of Defense and calls on reservists or inactive members of the armed forces for active duty or retains current active members of the armed forces for active duty during a war or national emergency as declared by the President or Congress.

Helpful Hint: FileLater.com provides members of the Armed Services free tax extension filings from anywhere in the world (and even the International Space Station). All members who register with FileLater using a .mil email address are eligible to efile their online tax extensions absolutely free.

Missing Status also constitutes active duty in a combat zone or contingency operation area and is also entitled to a tax extension.

Taxpayers who are employed in a combat zone or contingency operation area who serve the needs of the U. S. Armed Forces, including Red Cross personnel, certain correspondents and civilians employed in support of the U. S. Armed Forces also qualify for tax extensions.

Additionally, spouses of those members of the U. S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone or contingency area also qualify for the same tax extensions provided that the combat zone or contingency operation area has not been inactive for 2 years from the beginning of that tax period and/or the qualifying spouse is not hospitalized in the U. S. for injuries sustained in the combat zone or contingency operation area.

The length of the tax extension is 180 days from the last day that you are in a combat zone or contingency operation area or from the last day of any hospitalization (up to 5 years) resulting from injuries sustained in a combat zone or contingency operation area, the 180 days commencing from the latest occurring of the two examples.

Your tax extension may be further extended beyond the 180 days, by the length of time you had for filing your income tax return for the preceding year while you were in a combat zone or contingency operation area.

The provision for tax extensions from the deadline also include provisions for the following:

  • Filing a tax form for any income tax, estate tax, gift tax, employment tax, or excise tax
  • Paying any income tax, estate tax, gift tax, employment tax, or excise tax
  • Filing for a claim or tax refund of any tax
  • Collection by the IRS of any taxes due
  • Making a qualifying retirement contribution to an IRA
  • Assessment of any tax by the IRS

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