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U.S. Armed Forces & Taxes: Alpha

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Sandy Botkin

Co-founder at Taxbot
Sandy is a CPA, Tax Attorney, and former IRS trainer. He has authored many helpful books on the subject of taxes, including 7 Simple Ways to Legally Avoid Paying Taxes ( Click Here ), Lower Your Taxes: Big Time ( Click Here ), and Real Estate Tax Secrets of the Rich ( Click Here ).
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Members of the U.S. Armed Forces face various challenges, from frequent moves (often abroad) to significant out-of-pocket expenses. Fortunately, the Code contains special provisions that help alleviate the tax burdens associated with some of these challenges. So, here is Part 1 of tax breaks to keep in mind for all military personnel:

Combat Zone Exclusions

Members serving in a combat zone (or who were hospitalized because of wounds, disease, or injury incurred while serving in a combat zone) can exclude certain combat pay from their income. Service in a combat zone includes being assigned on official temporary duty to a combat zone. 

What this means is that subject to some limits for officers ($8,803.50 per month in 2019), combat zone wages aren’t included in gross income. They are included, however, in Social Security wages and Medicare wages. Military pay for service in a combat zone may be excluded for the entire month as long as any part of one or more days that month was spent in a combat zone. If both spouses are in the combat zone, both wages are entitled to the exclusion. Moreover, some of these wages may also be eligible for the “foreign source income exclusion. See an accountant about this.

Due to the length of these series, it will be presented in about 6 parts.


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Sandy Botkin

Sandy is a CPA, Tax Attorney, and former IRS trainer. He has authored many helpful books on the subject of taxes, including 7 Simple Ways to Legally Avoid Paying Taxes ( Click Here ), Lower Your Taxes: Big Time ( Click Here ), and Real Estate Tax Secrets of the Rich ( Click Here ).

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