Military servicemembers on active duty within the United States are qualified for an automatic four-month extension to file your tax return.
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Military Tax Extensions and Tax Filing Support

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Military servicemembers are often called to active duty or into service for military jobs that interfere with meeting the deadline for filing taxes. In these cases there are specific military tax extensions to accommodate your military duties.

In you are a military servicemember, either stationed in a combat zone abroad or even stationed closer to home, you have many avenues of support for filing your taxes.

TAX EXTENSIONS FOR ACTIVE DUTY AT HOME

Military servicemembers on active duty within the United States are qualified for an automatic four-month extension to file your tax return.

In order to qualify for the four-month extension, servicemembers need to file Form 4868 on paper, over the phone, or on the internet. Part of your estimated tax due must be paid electronically, using a credit card.

An important distinction to remember is that an extension of time to file your taxes does not mean an extension of time to pay your taxes. Although there is no payment due with a Form 4868 or using an automatic extension, you will be charged interest if the tax payment is received after the regular due date. The interest will be calculated as the difference between the regular due date to the date the tax is paid.

If you know in advance that you are unable to pay taxes owed, file Form 9465 to arrange an installment payment plan with the IRS. Additional filing extensions can be made, beyond the four-month extension, by filing Form 2688 or writing a letter to the IRS.

TAX EXTENSIONS FOR ACTIVE DUTY ABROAD

Military servicemembers stationed overseas qualify for an automatic filing extension until June 15th without submitting Form 4868.

This extension applies to servicemembers on an assigned tour outside the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and includes the entire due date of the return. A statement of documenting that you have fulfilled this requirement must be attached to the return to legitimize this extension.

An additional two-month extension (pushing the filing deadline to August 15th) can also be available by filing Form 4868 by June 15th, and writing "Taxpayer Abroad" across the top of the form.

QUALIFIED HAZARD DUTY/COMBAT ZONE EXTENSIONS

If you are serving in a designated Combat Zone or Qualified Hazard Duty area, an automatic 180-day extension is applied for filing returns, paying taxes, filing claims for refunds, and all other IRS actions.

The 180-extension also applies to servicemembers performing active duty services in support of combat zone operations.

The 180-extension is applied after the last day a servicemember is serving in a combat zone/qualified hazardous duty area, as well as the last day of qualified hospitalization for an injury received while in the combat zone.

In addition to the 180 days, time is added to the extension if there was overlap between entering a combat zone and the 3.5 months given to take filing action. For example, you are given 3.5 months to file your tax return - but entered the combat zone during those 3.5 months. Any days during this 3.5 month time period that were occupied by combat zone duties will be added to the 180 day extension.

GET HELP FILING MILITARY TAXES

Volunteer services offer free help filing taxes for military servicemembers who are unable to prepare their returns.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, as well as Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC), are two organizations that assist servicemembers across the country. VITA locations can be found at community centers, neighborhood organizations, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. Most locations also offer electronic filing.

MILITARY TAX PREPAREDNESS

Be prepared for filing taxes through VITA or AFTC, by making sure you have the necessary documents ready to go.

These documents include: photo identification; Social Security Cards for yourself, spouse, and dependents; birth dates for every individual on the tax return; wage and earning statements from all employers - Form W-2, W-2G, and 1099-R; the current year's tax package (if you received one); a copy of the previous year's Federal and State returns (if they are available); interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099); bank routing numbers and account numbers for a direct deposit option; income and expenses information, for example, total paid for Day Care.

Remember that in order for married couples to file electronically on a joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the necessary tax forms.



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