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Attention! There’s Automatic Tax Filing Extensions for Military in Combat Zones

May 29, 2017 : Allie Freeland – Contributing Editor

Listen up, active military members! If you are stationed abroad in a combat zone during the 2016 tax season, you might qualify for a federal tax extension. If this applies to you, you can get automatic extensions of time to file your tax return and to pay your taxes.

Do You Qualify?

The IRS defines a combat zone as a hostile area where military may serve, including: actual combat areas, direct combat support areas, and contingency operations areas. To qualify for combat-related tax benefits, you must be an eligible member of the military who meets one of the following options:

Option 1

  • Service in an active combat area as designated by Executive Order
  • Receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense

Option 2

  • Service in a support area as designated by the Department of Defense in direct sustainment of military operations in the combat zone
  • Receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense

Option 3

  • Service in a contingency operation as designated by the Department of Defense
  • Receive special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger as certified by the Department of Defense

Recognized Combat Zones

The following countries were certified by the Department of Defense for combat zone benefits due to their direct support of military operations in combat zone:

Afghanistan Area

  • Djibouti
  • Jordan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Pakistan
  • Somalia
  • Tajikistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen

Kosovo Area

  • Albania
  • Kosovo
  • The Adriatic Sea
  • The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro)
  • The Lonian Sea – north of the 39th parallel

Arabian Peninsula Area

  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • The Gulf of Aden
  • The Gulf of Oman
  • The Persian Gulf
  • The Red Sea
  • United Arab Emirates 

Combat Zone Filing Deadline Extension

Military serving in a combat zone or contingency operation have an automatic 180-day extension from April 18, 2017. Here are a few additional pointers:

  • The 180-day extension period does not begin until after you leave the combat zone.
  • You may add to the 180 days the number of days that you had left to file when you first entered the combat zone.

[Bonus: If you need more time to prepare your return, you can get an extension and you will have until October 16, 2017 to file your return online at HRBlock.com.]

Have more questions on filing military taxes? The IRS has a dedicated web page, Tax Information for Members of the Military, For additional assistance, get tax support from H&R Block today.

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Allie Freeland – Contributing Editor

Allie Freeland – Contributing Editor

H&R Block

Allie is the Contributing Editor of the H&R Block blog, Block Talk. She has been a practicing grammar geek since 2007.

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