NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Marching toward the April 15 tax deadline is tough for many taxpayers, but military personnel and their families face their own tax challenges.
With tax rules and everyday life for military families and their counterparts in the reserves varying distinctly from those followed by civilian taxpayers, there are a few elements that can get lost in the mix. The United Services Automobile Association in San Antonio and the National Disability Institute in Washington, D.C., regularly help military members and their families navigate the tax code and find the benefits, deductions and loopholes that come with life in the armed forces. According to those groups, the following are the most notable elements military families — especially those fairly new to military life — most commonly overlook:
Moving expenses: Johnette Hartnett, principal and senior director of research and strategy at the National Disability Institute, notes that members of the armed forces on active duty who have to move because of a permanent change of station can deduct unreimbursed moving-related expenses for themselves and their family.
Under normal circumstances, the Internal Revenue Service would require a taxpayer to meet certain time and distance requirements to deduct moving expenses. Joseph "JJ" Montanaro, a certified financial planner with USAA who spent six years on active duty in the Army Reserve, points out that those requirements are waived for service members and their families, who often don't have a say in where they go.
“One of the challenges of military life is that they move so often, and sometimes not because they want to,” he says.