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BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Revenue has published Revenue Information Bulletin No. 03-008 that gives detailed individual income tax information for Louisiana military personnel and their families. The bulletin is available on the Department''s website at http://www.rev.state.la.us under the category "Laws and Policies," and the subcategory "Other" of "Policy Documents."
"We issued this information bulletin as a public service to our Louisiana military personnel in order to ensure that they are aware of specific benefits provided for under our statutes," says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges. She adds that extensions are available to military personnel assigned to combat zones or direct support zones in and around Iraq and Afghanistan. These military personnel are defined as any military personnel assigned to a combat zone, individuals serving in a combat zone in direct support of United States Armed Forces, members of the U.S. Armed Forces whose military service outside a combat zone is in direct support of the U.S. Armed Forces in a combat zone, and members of U.S. Armed Forces whose military service outside a combat zone qualifies them for special military pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger. The extensions begin when the personnel begin serving in the combat zone or support area and will extend an additional 180 days after leaving the combat zone, direct support area, or being dismissed from a hospital if wounded. For married couples, if one spouse is eligible for the extension, then the extension applies to both spouses, whether joint or separate returns are filed.
The United States Department of Defense has certified the following locations for combat zone benefits due to their direct support of military operations, beginning on the listed dates:
In support of Operation Enduring Freedom(Afghanistan combat zone)Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Jordan - September 19, 2001Incirlik Air Base, Turkey - September 21, 2001Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan - October 1, 2001Philippines - January 9, 2002Yemen - April 10, 2002Djibouti - July 1, 2002
In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom(Arabian Peninsula Areas combat zone)Israel and Turkey - January 1, 2003The Mediterranean Sea east of 30° East Longitude - April 11, 2003
Qualifying military and support personnel have also been granted extensions of collection and assessment deadlines for Louisiana income tax purposes. These extensions are the same as they are for federal income tax purposes and begin when the personnel begin serving in the combat zone or direct support area and extend an additional 180 days after leaving the zone or support area, or being dismissed from a hospital if wounded. Interest and penalties will not be charged for the extension period. For married couples, if one spouse is eligible for the extension, then the extension applies to both spouses, whether joint or separate returns are filed.
Bridges also notes that federal law provides exclusions from federal gross income for certain military pay earned by military personnel serving in a combat zone. Those amounts excluded from the federal gross income figure are not subject to federal income tax. She adds that because these amounts are not included in federal gross income, they will not be included in Louisiana tax table income and therefore are not subject to Louisiana income tax.
In order to claim these extensions, military personnel, support personnel, or persons representing them should note the name of the combat zone or support area at the top of their Louisiana individual income tax return, or collection notice, along with the dates of service in the zone or support area. The name of the combat zone or support area and dates of service should also be noted on the return envelope. If the taxpayer has a power of attorney or any statement signed by the taxpayer authorizing another person to act on his or her behalf, a copy should be attached to the return.
Bridges says if a taxpayer receives a notice of examination, or if the Department takes any actions covered by these extensions before learning that the taxpayer is entitled to an extension, the taxpayer should contact the Department''s Collection Division at (225) 219-2244. The taxpayer may also contact any of the following regional offices: Alexandria (318) 487-5333; Baton Rouge (225) 922-2300; Lafayette (337) 262-5455; Lake Charles (337) 491-2504; Monroe (318) 362-3151; New Orleans (504) 568-5226; Shreveport (318) 676-7505; or Thibodaux (985-447-0976.
Military personnel who did not serve in a combat zone, but did serve as an employee in the uniformed forces may still be entitled to defer payment of Louisiana income tax. Under Louisiana Revised Statute 29:416, if a person''s ability to pay state income tax is materially impaired by reason of that person''s service in the uniformed services, the collection of state income tax is deferred for a period of up to six months after his release from the service or being discharged from hospitalization incidental to their uniformed service. Material impairment is defined as a drop in income as a result of going into military service. No interest or penalty for nonpayment of the amount deferred will accrue during the deferment period.
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