Members of the military, whether active service members or members of the reserves, have special tax deductions that are not available to the average citizen. As the vast majority of pay received by military service members is reported directly to the government and is taxable, military service members need to take advantage of every tax deduction available to them.
The following articles provides an overview of the most common tax deductions available to members of the military, some of which may be overlooked at times.
As a member of the military, you obviously have a uniform. Whether you are a member of the military or the reserves, if you purchase a uniform without receiving a uniform allowance and you are not permitted to wear the uniform when you are off duty, the cost of purchasing the uniform is tax deductible. In addition, any unreimbursed expenses related to caring for the uniform are deductible. These expenses include but may not be limited to alterations, dry cleaning, and the purchase of insignia related to your rank.
Repayment of Debt to the Government
If you had to repay money to the United States government, the amount repaid is typically tax deductible. The way the deduction works depends on the amount repaid.
If the amount repaid was $3,000 or less, you can deduct the amount you repaid from your taxable income in the year you made the repayment. If the amount repaid was over $3,000, you can deduct the amount repaid in the year you made the repayment or you can deduct the loss from your earnings for the year in which the loss occurred that created the need for the repayment. You can choose the option that saves you the most on your taxes.
Organizational Dues and Expenses for Trade Publications
As a member of the military, it may be of benefit to your career both while you are in the military and after your retire from the military to join certain professional organizations and subscribe to certain publications related to the military or your work. Any unreimbursed expenses for such organizations or publications are tax deductible.
Transportation expenses refer to any unreimbursed travel for military purposes beyond your normal daily commute. These expenses can include one-time travel to a meeting at a location other than your normal designated work site or travel to a work site as a part of a temporary assignment, when such temporary assignment is for less than a year.
Deductible transportation expenses also include the cost of obtaining a passport.
Expenses for Home Office and Storage of Military Gear
If you have to maintain a home office to perform your work for the military or as a member of the reserves, you may deduct from your taxes expenses based on the percentage of your home that the home office occupies.
In addition, if you use a portion of your home to store your military gear, that space is likewise deductible on your tax return.
How can I get more help with military-related tax deductions?
There are other tax deductions available to members of the military than those noted above. You can get help with determine these deductions and preparing your tax return by speaking with a tax attorney. A tax attorney who specializes in deductions for members of the military will be able to prepare your return and make sure you take advantage of every deduction available to you.
Speaking with a tax attorney is as simple as calling the telephone number located at the top of this page or completing the form below. A tax attorney will speak with you about your tax situation and answer any questions you may have, so you should take the first step to get the help you need today.
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Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.