If you're a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, you're generally not required to pay federal income tax on all the income you receive. What's taxed and what's not taxed depends on what form the income takes and, in some cases, where the income is earned. Generally, basic pay, special pay, and bonuses are taxable (unless they've been earned for service in a combat zone), while in-kind benefits, reimbursements, and allowances are not taxable.
As a taxpayer, you may be able to subtract certain amounts from your gross income to arrive at your adjusted gross income (AGI). Further, you may then subtract from your AGI the greater of either your standard deduction (which is based on your filing status) or the total of your itemized deductions. As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may find the following considerations of particular interest to you.
What is the child and dependent care credit?
If you have a child or other dependent and work outside the home, you may need to pay someone to care for your loved ones. Fortunately, the child and dependent care credit may provide some financial relief. The child and dependent care credit is an income tax credit for up to 35 percent of certain expenses you paid to provide care for your dependent child, your disabled spouse, or a disabled dependent while you worked or looked for work.
If you are self-employed, you may be able to deduct the ordinary and necessary expenses of traveling away from home for your business. If you are an employee and incur unreimbursed travel expenses while traveling from your "tax home," these expenses are deductible as miscellaneous expenses subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income floor (if you itemize your deductions on a Schedule A). These expenses can include the cost of transportation, lodging, and/or meals.
Military members are given numerous tax breaks. One such benefit is the Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003. On November 11, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the act (H.R. 3365), providing specified tax relief to members of the Armed Forces. A summary of the legislation that directly impacts military tax returns is provided.