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Tax Extensions Now Available for 11 Operations

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 1996 – Service members participating in 11 current operations receive the same tax filing extensions given to Operation Joint Endeavor personnel.

Other Balkansbased operations now authorized eightmonth Internal Revenue Service filing extensions are Operations Able Sentry (Macedonia), Decisive Edge (NATO nofly zone in Bosnia), Decisive Enhancement (Adriatic Sea) and Provide Promise (U.N. mission in Bosnia).

IRS will also grant extensions operations Provide Comfort and Southern Watch and the Arabian Gulf Maritime Intercept Operation in Southwest Asia. In addition, personnel assigned to Joint Task Force Full Accounting (Southeast Asia), Operation Safe Border (PeruEcuador border), Operation Sea Signal (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) and the U.N. mission in Haiti are eligible for extensions.

Air Force Lt. Col. David Pronchick, the armed forces tax counsel, said IRS will grant the extension for troops who serve in these areas on or after March 1. The 1995 extension does not apply to those who depart the operations areas before March 1; these service members must meet the April 15 filing deadline.

Besides extensions, IRS will also suspend penalty assessments, halt IRS examinations and place balance due accounts on hold for all serving in these operations. Internal Revenue officials said service members within the United States assessed penalties may call (800) 8291040 to correct the problem. Service members overseas may write to:

Internal Revenue Service

Customer Service Division 950 L'Enfant Plaza

Washington, DC 20024.

Although exempt from penalties, service members who owe taxes for 1995 will face interest payments on that debt. Pronchick said IRS has no right to waive interest payments. The current rate for late payment is 9 percent.

IRS officials said the only exception would be for reserve component personnel activated for deployment. Under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, reservists unable to pay on time must request a deferment. This request must include a copy of activation orders and a statement, supported by evidence, that the taxpayers ability to pay has been "materially impaired."

If IRS grants a deferment, reservists would see no interest charge on their taxes for the initial period of reserve service, plus six months. If IRS denies the request, it calculates interest for amounts due at 6 percent.

Service members without 1995 W2 forms prior to deployment may file their federal tax returns using their yearend leave and earnings statements, according to IRS officials. Tax officials also ask deployed personnel to write the operation's title at the top center of their returns. This will help IRS service centers properly process returns and document authorized extensions.

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