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 an extension of time for taking care of certain tax matters.
There are several things you should know about military 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 (to June 15) ― with no paperwork required and no tax payments or penalties assessed. If you need more than 2 months to file your return, you can e-file IRS Form 4868 online using the FileLater system and get an additional 4-month income tax extension (to October 15).
This tax extension is designed for U.S. military 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 next section.
Tax Extensions for Combat Zone Service
If you serve U.S. military in a combat zone or contingency operation area, you have additional options for tax extensions.
The length of the tax extension is 180 days from the last day that you are in a combat zone or contingency operation area, or from the last day of any hospitalization (up to 5 years) resulting from injuries sustained in such an area. Additionally, spouses of those members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a combat zone or contingency operation may qualify for the same tax extensions (with a few exceptions).
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 an active 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 provisions for military tax deadline extensions apply to a variety of IRS procedures, including the following:
- 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!