In recognition of their service, military personnel are given more flexible rules regarding income tax filing and payment. If you are a member of the U.S. military, the IRS will allow you to postpone the time for taking care of certain tax matters.
There are several things you should know about tax extensions.
Tax Extensions for Overseas Deployment
If you are serving overseas during tax filing season, you are automatically granted a 2-month tax extension ― with no paperwork required and no tax payments or penalties assessed. If you need more than two months to file your return, you can e-file IRS Form 4868 onlineusing the FileLater system and get an income tax extension until October.
This tax extension is designed for personnel serving in non-combat areas. If you are deployed in a combat zone, or you move to a combat zone (from a non-combat area) while overseas, see the section below.
Tax Extensions for Combat Zone Service
If you are currently serving in the U.S. military or you have recently served in a combat zone, you have additional options for tax extensions. You are allowed a tax extension that is equivalent to the following:
- The amount of time you serve in a combat zone before taxes are due
- Any time you spent continually hospitalized due to injuries sustained in a combat zone (up to 5 years)
- 180 days in addition to the two time periods listed above
This extension includes the time for tax preparation you would have had if you weren't serving overseas. For example, if you deployed on March 1, you would earn a 226-day tax extension (180 days for the automatic extension, plus the 46 days between March 1 and April 15).
During the tax extension period, no penalties or interest will be assessed on your taxes. This extension applies to any and all taxes due ― whether from income, investments, capital gains, or other sources.
It’s important to remember that a military tax extension applies only to your time served directly in a combat zone. If you are initially deployed to a non-combat area and then moved to a combat zone, your tax extension will only be calculated from the date you arrive in the combat zone.
Tax Deadlines That Can Be Extended
The military deadline extension provision applies to a variety of IRS procedures, including the following actions:
- Filing any return of income tax, estate tax, gift tax, employment tax, or excise tax
- Paying any income tax, estate tax, gift tax, employment tax, or excise tax
- Filing a petition with the Tax Court for redetermination of a deficiency, or for review of a Tax Court decision
- Filing a claim for credit or refund of any tax
- Bringing suit for any claim for credit or refund
- Making a qualified retirement contribution to an IRA
- Allowing a credit or refund of any tax by the IRS
- Assessment of any tax by the IRS
- Giving or making any notice or demand by the IRS for the payment of any tax, or for any liability for any tax
- Collection by the IRS of any tax due
- Bringing suit by the United States for any tax due
If the IRS takes any of the above actions covered by the military provision, or sends you a notice of examination before learning that you qualify for a tax extension, contact your legal assistance office. You will not be charged any penalties or interest for failure to file a return or pay taxes during your extension period. For more information regarding military personnel, see IRS Publication 3 (Armed Forces’ Guide).
FileLater supports our troops!
Beginning in tax year 2009, any military member with an active .mil email address can file a tax extension for free with the FileLater system. Start your extension now