Tax Break in the Works for Special Operations Forces

Tax Break in the Works for Special Operations Forces

(Photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Nassirian/U.S.Special Operations Command Europe)

More special operators could receive a break on taxes next year.

The Special Operations Forces Tax Cut Act would grant tax breaks to troops based on their mission, rather than location. The bill would benefit troops who deploy outside of combat zones not formally recognized in the IRS' Combat Zone Tax Exclusion section.

Related: Arkansas Lowers Tax Rates to Attract Military Families

The Combat Zone Tax Exclusion allows service members who deploy to certain combat zones to exclude income from federal tax filings. Qualifying regions for the tax exclusion are Afghanistan, Kosovo and the Arabian Peninsula.

“America's military conducts global operations that don't easily fit into one nation or geographic region,” said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Richard Hudson, whose North Carolina district includes Fort Bragg, home of U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

The bill better reflects modern warfare, where the special operations troops are sent in small groups all over the world - and not just traditional “combat zones.”

“Fifty, seventy years ago, we'd have action in Korea, but we didn't have Special Forces soldiers all over the world,” Hudson said. “The way Special Forces works today - trying to help stabilize governments and fight terrorism - it's a different warfare.”

Under Hudson's bill, special operators would be eligible for the tax break, regardless of their location, as long as their mission was to “combat terrorism.”

The bipartisan bill is being considered by the Ways and Means committee, which is the chief tax-writing committee in the House.

Amanda Dolasinski is MOAA's staff writer. She can be reached at amandad@moaa.org. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMOAA.