ARLINGTON, Va. — Servicemembers deployed to Central Asia, the Persian Gulf, and the Balkans will have an extra 180 days after returning home to file and pay their income taxes, with no penalty fees or interest charged during the grace period, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The automatic filing extension will be extended to servicemembers deployed to officially declared combat zones or hazardous duty areas. Those include Afghanistan, Jordan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Kosovo.

The tax deferral does not apply to deployed civilian Defense Department employees or DOD contractors. Those civilians, like all taxpayers, can ask the IRS for a four-month filing extension until Aug. 15, but they will have to pay interest on late tax payments.

Servicemembers who qualify for the extension should attach a statement to that effect to their tax return, IRS officials said.

Servicemembers deployed to Central Asia can also write in red letters “Enduring Freedom” on all correspondence to the IRS, including their 1040 tax form, while servicemembers in the Persian Gulf can write “Operation Desert Storm Combat Zone.” The “Desert Storm” authorization was approved in 1991 and has never been closed, IRS officials said.

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