Special Tax Considerations - The Essentials

Tax preparation for the service member is often more complex than that of a civilian because of the implications of deployments, combat and training pay, housing and rentals, and multi-state filing. Major life changes like death or starting college also affect income and assets. Understand how special circumstances determine your taxes.

Special tax considerations include:

Military survivor benefits and tax forgiveness

As a survivor, you may have access to certain tax benefits. For example, the Internal Revenue Service may forgive or refund the amount the service member pays in taxes each year if the service member dies under certain circumstances.

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Inheritance tax issues

When you inherit money or assets, take steps to navigate complicated tax rules and protect yourself and your inheritance. Get a probate lawyer, consider all tax obligations before you plan your spending, and use Military OneSource’s free financial counseling.

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College tax breaks

The IRS offers some education tax breaks to help with college tuition. Tax credits reduce the amount of federal income tax you owe, tax deductions reduce the amount of your income subject to tax, and savings plan benefits like a 529 plan allow accumulated earnings to grow tax-free until money is taken out.

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Tax extensions

There are three types of extensions available to service members. Automatic extensions will be granted if you file IRS Form 4868 before the due date. You qualify for an automatic two-month extension if your duty post is outside the United States or Puerto Rico. If you are serving in a combat zone or contingency operation, an automatic extension can be granted for filing your tax return, paying your owed tax or filing a claim for a refund.

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