Certain members of the Armed Forces and other support personnel are eligible for automatic extensions of the deadlines for filing tax returns, paying taxes, claiming refunds, and taking other Internal Revenue Service (IRS) actions. The extensions are available for:
* Military personnel serving in a Combat Zone or Hazardous Duty Zone.
* Military personnel serving in Contingency Operations as designated by the Secretary of Defense.
* Support personnel such as Red Cross personnel, accredited correspondents, and civilian personnel acting under the direction of the Armed Forces in a Combat Zone or Hazardous Duty Zone or Contingency Operations.
* Personnel classified as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.
* Personnel hospitalized outside of the United States for injuries received while serving in a Combat Zone or Hazardous Duty Zone or Contingency Operations.
* Personnel hospitalized in the United States for injuries received while serving in a Combat Zone or Hazardous Duty Zone or Contingency Operations, for the first five years of that hospitalization.
* Military personnel in their initial period of service serving outside of a Combat Zone or Hazardous Duty Zone or Contingency Operations who can show that their ability to pay taxes has been materially impaired by their service.
* Spouses of the above, with certain limitations.
The deadlines are extended for 180 days after the end of the above periods. However, you also get credit for the number of days you had left before the start of the above periods.
For example, let’s say that 50 days prior to April 15, 2010 (when your 2009 taxes would normally be due), you are assigned to a Combat Zone, and that your service there, plus any resulting hospitalization, etc. ends on June 1, 2012. What is your new deadline for filing your 2009 taxes?
You would get the 50 days plus an extension of another 180 days, so your new deadline would be 230 days from June 1, 2012.
Of course one need not wait the additional time to file a tax return. If, for instance, you are able to file and are expecting a refund, you may forego the extension and file at the usual time.
Members of the Armed Forces may also be eligible for a break on tax liabilities incurred before their service. If you owe money from before your time of service, and you can show that your service has materially affected your ability to pay, the annual interest rate on your money owed is capped at 6% for the duration of your military service.