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State Tax Relief for Combat Zone Declaration

Military personnel and reservists serving in the Afghanistan combat zone are provided California personal income tax relief effective September 19, 2001, according to the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

“California military personnel called to active duty should not have to worry about state income taxes,” said California State Controller and FTB Chair Kathleen Connell.

California tax law generally conforms to federal tax benefits for combat zones/qualified hazardous duty areas. These include:

  • Postponement of the filing due date without penalty or interest for personal income tax returns for 180 days after return to this country,
  • Exclusion of combat zone pay from taxable income, and
  • Suspension of delinquent tax collection of military personnel serving in the combat area.

The extension of tax deadlines also applies to U.S. military people deployed overseas in support of operations in the combat zone. All military pay received by enlisted personnel for services performed on or after that date in the declared combat zone/qualified hazardous duty area is exempt from tax. Officers will pay tax on that portion of their pay that exceeds the highest enlisted pay plus the $150 imminent danger pay, a figure currently set at $5,533, per month.

Military taxpayers filing on extension should alert the FTB when they do file by writing in red on top of their tax return or payment: “Operation Enduring Freedom.”

President Bush declared Afghanistan and the airspace above it a combat zone on December 12, 2001. The order is effective as of September 19, 2001.

For additional information, refer to the IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces' Tax Guide. To reach the FTB, taxpayers can access our Website at www.ftb.ca.gov.