Tax Extension for Deployed Military

May 29, 2017 : Allie Freeland

Listen up, active military members! If you are stationed abroad in a combat zone during the tax filing 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?

combat zone is a hostile area where military may serve, including: actual combat areas, direct combat support areas, qualified hazardous duty 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 as described by the IRS:

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 statutorily designated Qualified Hazardous Duty Area
  • 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 and areas were declared combat zones by executive order or certified by the Department of Defense for combat zone tax benefits due to their direct support of military operations in combat zone:

Afghanistan Area

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

Kosovo Area

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

Arabian Peninsula Area

  • The Persian Gulf
  • The Red Sea
  • The Gulf of Oman
  • Part of the Arabian Sea
  • The Gulf of Aden
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Oman Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates 
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon (2015-2020)
  • Part of Turkey

Sinai Peninsula

The Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is a qualified hazardous area that is treated as if it were a combat zone.

Combat Zone Filing Deadline Extension

Military serving in a combat zone or contingency operation have an automatic 180-day extension. 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 aren’t in a combat zone and still need more time to prepare your return, you can get an extension and you will have until October 15 to file your return online at www.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, talk to an H&R Block tax pro  today.

Related Topics

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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