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January 6, 2017


Taxes for military personnel: a Q & A

When active duty and reserve personnel are added together, Texas has more than 173,000 military personnel. This is the second most of any state, behind only California.

There are of course also many veterans in Texas.

If you are a service member or former service member, or are from a military family, there are some specific rules and benefits that apply to your taxes. Here is a Q & A on some useful things to know.

Who is eligible for military tax benefits?

People in all of the uniformed services are eligible for certain tax benefits. This includes not only active duty personnel, but also reservists.

Tax benefits may also apply to retired military personnel, disabled veterans and spouses (including separated spouses) of military personnel.

For active duty personnel, the IRS puts out Publication 3, the Armed Forces’ Tax Guide.

If you are in the military, where do you file?

Suppose you are stationed in Texas, but your permanent home is in another state. Where should you file?

This can be a bit confusing. The short answer is that if you are stationed in Texas, you would send your return to the IRS service center that processes returns for Texas.

What about filing an extension?

Generally military personnel request an extension the same way as civilians, by submitting Form 4868. There are special rules that apply, however, for those serving in combat zones.

Is it true that sometimes soldiers can get a tax payment deferment?

Yes. You do not necessarily need to be in a combat zone to get a tax deferment.
But you have to be on active duty in one of the five uniformed services. This includes the Coast Guard, along with the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

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