Publication 3

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Armed Forces' Tax Guide

Overview

This publication covers the special tax situations of active members of the U.S. Armed Forces. It does not cover military pensions or veterans' benefits or give the basic tax rules that apply to all taxpayers. For information on military pensions or veterans' benefits, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income. If you need the basic tax rules or information on another subject not covered here, you can check our other free publications. See Publication 910, IRS Guide to Free Tax Services, for a list and descriptions of the different tax publications.

For federal tax purposes, the U.S. Armed Forces includes commissioned officers, warrant officers, and enlisted personnel in all regular and reserve units under control of the Secretaries of the Defense, Army, Navy, and Air Force. The U.S. Armed Forces also includes the Coast Guard. It does not include members of the U.S. Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross.

Members serving in an area designated or treated as a combat zone are granted special tax benefits. In the event an area ceases to be a combat zone (by Presidential Executive Order or by statute), the IRS will do its best to notify you. Many of the relief provisions will end at that time.

Members serving in a qualified hazardous duty area designated by statute are afforded the same benefits as members serving in a combat zone designated by Executive Order.

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