Special Extensions for military taxpayers

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There is a specific deadline of April 15 for all for filing tax returns and payment of taxes.  However, if you are employed in the armed forces, you can get a further automatic extension for filing your return in the following circumstances:

  1. If you are serving in the armed forces in a combat zone.
  2. If you are serving in the armed forces and in an area which is declared ‘a qualified hazardous duty area’ or you are deployed overseas in support of operations in a qualified hazardous area.
  3. If you are serving on deployment outside the United States and participate in a contingency operation.

If you are ‘missing’ in action or become POW (prisoner of war), then this period of time is counted as a time in combat zone or a time in contingency operation and qualifies for an automatic extension to file your return.

These extensions are also available to people who are Red Cross personnel, correspondents who are accredited and civilians acting in support of the armed forces under the directions of armed forces.

Even though the filing deadline is extended, you have an option to file your return earlier in order to get a refund.

The spouses of military personnel serving in a combat zone of contingency operation are also entitled to get these filing extensions except –

  1. No extension is available for a tax year which is beginning after two years from the date the area is no longer called combat zone or the operation is no more a contingency operation.
  2. No extension is available to the spouse if the qualified individual is in a hospital in the United States for injuries which are incurred in the combat zone or in the contingency operation.

Period of extension

The deadline for filing your tax return is also extended for 180 days by the IRS after

  1. The last date when you were in a combat zone or U.S. serving in a contingency operation.
  2. The last date of a continuous hospitalization for injuries due to service in a combat zone or in a contingency operation.

Additional extension

In addition to this automatic extension of 180 days, you get additional extension for the number of days left for you for this action with the IRS when you actually entered a combat zone or started serving in a contingency operation.  So let us take an example to explain this.  You are getting usually a period of 3 ½ months for filing your 2008 return.  If you leave in between this 3 ½ months period to go to the combat zone, then that period will also be added to the automatic extension of 180 days to determine the last day allowed to you for filing tax return for 2008.

Extension for payment of tax

You can qualify to get an extension to pay your income tax if you are performing military service and you notify to IRS that you are unable to pay your income tax due to your military service.  In that situation you will be allowed an extension of 180 days after your release or termination from military service.  If you pay the tax during this period of extension, you will not be charged with any interest or penalty.