Combat-Zone Extension

In continuation with our Fourth of July celebration this week, we, at ExpressExtension, have decided to dive a bit further in bringing you information about tax extensions for military personnel.
If you can remember, or have just read our last blog, Military Personnel Extension, there was a small section where we explained that if you’re serving in a combat zone or a contingency operation, then you receive an automatic tax extension. This extension is for 180 days, roughly six months, which extends your deadline to file your return as well as paying any taxes you may owe and filing claims for a refund.

Not only does this automatic extension apply to service members, but it’s also the same for

  • Red Cross personnel
  • Contributors and civilians accredited under the direction of the military and in support of the military
  • United States Merchant Marines serving aboard vessels under the operational control of the Department of Defense 

In addition to receiving your automatic, combat-zone extension, you won’t be charged any penalties or interests on any taxes due.

There are several combat-related circumstances the IRS recognizes as qualifying for an automatic extension:

Serving in a Combat Zone
A combat zone is considered any area in which the military is engaging or has engaged in combat as designated by our President of the United States as an executive order. Usually, an area becomes a combat zone and ceases to be a combat zone based on dates implied within the executive order.

Serving in a Location Outside a Combat Zone that was Considered to be Performed in a Combat Zone

Military service outside a combat zone can be considered as performed within the combat zone. It’s ultimately the decision of the Department of Defense if the service is in direct support of military operations within the combat zone.

Deploying in Support of a Contingency Operation
Being deployed outside the U.S. away from your permanent duty station while taking part in a contingency operation qualifies for a federal tax income extension.
A contingency operation is considered as any military operation that results in calling members of the uniformed services to active duty, or retain services on active duty, during a war or a national emergency; it’s designated by the Secretary of Defense.

Having a Missing Status
If you’ve been in missing status, such as missing in action (M.I.A.) or prisoner or war (P.O.W), your time in that status also counts as time being in a combat zone or contingency operation.

Supporting the Military in a Combat Zone or Contingency Operation
If you are involved with nonmilitary support personnel serving in a combat zone or contingency operation in support of the military, you also qualify for an automatic federal tax income extension. This goes for Red Cross personnel and those accredited under the direction and support of the military.

There are a couple of exceptions involving your spouse being entitled to the same extension. For further details, visit the IRS webpage.

Along with the 180 days extension, you also get any remaining days from before you were eligible for the combat zone extension. In other words, let’s say you became eligible on March 1. You typically have until April 15 to file a return under normal circumstances. That month and a half left, after you became eligible, gets added to your 180 days.

If you happen to be filing normally and you need an extension, show your patriotism by e-filing with ExpressExtension, a US-based company in the small town of Rock Hill, SC! You can even download our FREE Express 4868 App for iOS and Android devices while at any of your Fourth of July celebrations this week. We at ExpressExtension salute our American troops and wish everyone a very safe and happy Fourth of July.

For assistance with e-filing our available personal tax extension, contact our live professionals located at Rock Hill, South Carolina at (803) 514-5155 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm, EST), or email us at or live chat with us at

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