Tax season is always stressful. Fortunately, there are several places that provide free tax preparation for military members. If you are looking to do your own taxes, it helps to know which pay and benefits are taxable and which are not.
Military pay is confusing. There are a lot of different rules regarding military pay and which benefits, bonuses and special pays are taxable and which are not. This series of articles will focus on clearing up some of the confusion.
Taxable Military Benefits
As a military service member, you earn money from several different allowances and benefits, and there are rules regarding which of these must be reported to the IRS as income and those which can be excluded.
The following items must be included in your reported gross income, unless they were earned while you were serving in a combat zone. The good news is that military taxpayers who receive tax-free combat pay can include it as earned income when determining their earned-income credit and additional-child tax credit and for the purposes of making an IRA contribution.
- Active-duty pay, Reserve training and Guard drill pay
- Attendance at a designated service school
- Back wages
- Aviation career incentive
- Diving duty
- Foreign duty
- Medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry and veterinarian pay
- Nuclear-qualified officers
- Special-duty assignment pay
- Enlistment and re-enlistment
- Career status
- Overseas extension
- High-deployment per diem
- Accrued leave
- Personal money allowances paid to high-ranking officers
- Student loan repayment from programs such as the Department of Defense Educational Loan Repayment Program (certain exemptions may occur if you serve in a combat zone during the repayment period)
Please note: This is not an all-inclusive list, and it is subject to change. Always check with an accountant or your base finance office for further details.
See these related articles regarding military pay and taxes: