Tax Extensions for Survivors

Two women speaking in tax center office

The information contained in this article is meant to provide awareness of available benefits for survivors of service members. This article is not meant to be comprehensive and is not intended to replace the consultation of a tax professional.

If you expect tax season to put cash in your pocket, you may be planning to file as soon as possible. But if you're a survivor of a service member who has died on active duty, you may have the option of taking extra time to file your tax return. The April 15 tax-filing deadline may not apply to you.

The deadline for filing tax returns, paying taxes, filing claims for refund and taking other actions with the Internal Revenue Service may be extended for 180 days after the later of:

  • The last day the service member was in a combat zone, had qualifying service outside of the combat zone or served in a contingency operation (or the last day the area qualifies as a combat zone or the operation qualifies as a contingency operation)
  • The last day of any continuous qualified hospitalization for injury from service in the combat zone or contingency operation or while performing qualifying service outside of the combat zone (qualified hospitalization is any hospitalization outside the United States, and up to five years of hospitalization in the United States) 


800-342-9647 to speak with a MilTax consultant for answers to your tax questions.

In addition to the 180 days, the filing deadline is extended by the number of days that remained for filing the federal income tax return when the service member qualified for the extension. For example, you generally have from Jan. 1 to April 15 each year to file your federal income tax return. Any days of this period that were left when the service member entered the combat zone — or the entire period if the qualifying service began before Jan. 1 — are added to the 180 days when determining the last day allowed for filing. When the date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the due date is delayed until the next business day.

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