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Tax relief aids military, families.

WASHINGTON -- Legislation signed by President George W. Bush on Nov. 11, 2003, increases the death gratuity payment to $12,000 and provides that the full payment is tax-free.

That portion of the Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 is retroactive to Sept. 10, 2001, to provide for service members who died in the terrorist attacks the following day and in the ongoing global war on terror, said Army Lt. Col. Janet Fenton. She is the director of the Armed Forces Tax Council.

"If you are killed on active duty, regardless of whether you're in theater, or in a training accident or die from disease, your family receives $12,000 death gratuity that is not taxed," she said.

From 1991 to 2003, the death gratuity was $6,000, with half being taxed. Capital-gain exclusion for home sales is one of the most common areas where people look for tax relief, she said. This act allows members to suspend the period of time for selling their homes and taking the tax exclusion and not pay capital gains. It's retroactive to 1997, so military members who have sold homes since 1997 have one year from Nov. 11, 2003, to request a refund for taxes paid.

--K.L. Vantran American Forces Press Service

Learn more about taxes

The 2003 act also includes above-the-line deductions, extra tax-filing time for service members serving in contingency operations, modifying eligibility criteria of tax-exempt veterans organizations and more. Read the details of this act in the expanded, online version of this story at story.asp?storyID= 123006017.
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Title Annotation:Airman's World
Author:Vantran, K.L.
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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