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Tax Exemption Requested for Joint Endeavor Troops

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

WASHINGTON, Feb. 29, 1996 – President Clinton is sending a bill to Congress to grant tax relief to some Operation Joint Endeavor forces. If passed, the proposal would exempt the income of eligible service members from Nov. 21, 1995 the date U.S. troops first entered Bosnia.

In a White House statement, Clinton said the government usually restricts tax relief to those deployed in combat zones. "However, the men and women of today's military confront hardships and risks in noncombat missions like the one we have undertaken in Bosnia," said Clinton. "I believe the law should be extended to cover them."

Under the president's proposal, only service members assigned in Bosnia, Croatia and Macedonia would receive tax exemptions. Units supporting Joint Endeavor from Hungary, Italy, Germany and the Adriatic Sea are not eligible.

The proposal exempts all enlisted and warrant officer pay earned during deployment, and exempts $500 per month for commissioned officers. It also extends tax benefits to those injured in the peacekeeping mission.

Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said injured service members would receive an additional two years of taxfree federal income. In the event of a fatality, the deceased service member's income during the tax year would be exempt, Rubin said.

Defense Secretary William J. Perry said the president's proposal recognizes Bosnia's arduous, dangerous environment.

Currently, service members on contingency or peacekeeping missions are not eligible for tax exemptions. The president's bill joins a queue of five other similar proposals already before Congress, four in the House and one in the Senate.

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