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Publication 3

Filing Returns(p22)

This section discusses the special procedures for military personnel when filing federal tax returns. For information on filing returns for those involved in a combat zone, see Extension of Deadlines, later.

Same-Sex Marriage(p22)

For federal tax purposes, individuals of the same sex are considered married if they were lawfully married in a state (or foreign country) whose laws authorize the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, even if the state (or foreign country) in which they now live does not recognize same-sex marriage. The term “spouse” includes an individual married to a person of the same sex if the couple is lawfully married under state (or foreign) law. However, individuals who have entered into a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or other similar relationship that is not considered a marriage under state (or foreign) law are not considered married for federal tax purposes. For more details, see Pub. 501.

Where To File(p22)

If you file on paper, send your federal tax return to the Internal Revenue Service Center for the place where you live. The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ give the addresses for the service centers. If you are overseas and have an APO or FPO address, file your return with the Internal Revenue Service Center listed for an APO or FPO address.


Sgt. Kane, who is stationed in Maine but whose permanent home address is in California, should send her federal return to the service center for Maine.

When To File(p22)

Most individuals must file their tax returns by the regular due date. If you are serving in a combat zone or outside the U.S., you may be eligible for an extension. See Extension of Deadlines, later.

Regular Due Date(p22)

The regular due date is April 15 of the following year (June 15 if you are stationed outside the United States and Puerto Rico on April 15). If April 15 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, your tax return is considered timely filed if it is filed by the next business day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday. For 2013 tax returns, the due date is April 15, 2014.


You can receive an extension of time to file your return. Different rules apply depending on whether you live inside or outside the United States.

Inside the United States.(p22)

You can receive an automatic 6-month extension to file your return if you either file Form 4868 by the regular due date of your return or pay any part of your expected tax due by credit or debit card. You can file Form 4868 electronically or on paper. See Form 4868 for details.
The extension of time to file is automatic, and you will not receive any notice of approval. However, your request for an extension will be denied if it is not made timely. The IRS will inform you of the denial.
You cannot use the automatic extension if you choose to have IRS figure the tax or you are under a court order to file your return by the regular due date.
When you file your return.(p22)
Enter the amount you paid with your request for extension on Form 1040, line 68. On Form 1040A, include the amount in the total on line 41. On Form 1040EZ, include the amount in the total on line 9. To the left of line 41 or line 9, enter "Form 4868" and show the amount paid.

Outside the United States and Puerto Rico.(p22)

If you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you qualify for an automatic 2-month extension of time without filing Form 4868 if either of the following situations applies to you.
  1. You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico and your main place of business or post of duty is outside the United States and Puerto Rico, or
  2. You are in military or naval service on an assigned tour of duty outside the United States and Puerto Rico for a period that includes the entire due date of the return.
You will be charged interest on any amount not paid by the regular due date until the date the tax is paid.
If you use this automatic extension, you must attach a statement to the return showing that you met the requirement.
You can request an additional 4-month extension by filing Form 4868 by June 16, 2014, for a 2013 calendar year tax return. Check the box on line 8.
Joint returns.(p23)
For married persons filing a joint return, only one spouse needs to meet the requirements to take advantage of the automatic 2-month extension.
Separate returns.(p23)
For married persons filing separate returns, only the spouse who meets the requirements qualifies for the automatic 2-month extension.

Payment of tax.(p23)

An extension of time to file does not mean you have an extension of time to pay any tax due. You must estimate your tax due. You do not have to send in any payment of tax due when you file Form 4868. However, if you pay the tax after the regular due date, you will be charged interest from the regular due date to the date the tax is paid. You also may be charged a penalty for paying the tax late unless you have reasonable cause for not paying your tax when due.
You can file Form 4868 electronically and make your tax payment by authorizing an electronic funds withdrawal from your checking or savings account. Or, you can get an extension by paying part or all of your estimate of tax due using a credit or debit card.
For more details on how to pay the tax due, see the Form 4868 instructions.
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, you may qualify to defer (delay) payment of income tax that becomes due before or during your military service. You must notify the Internal Revenue Service that your ability to pay the income tax has been materially affected by your military service.
Your income tax will be deferred for a period not to exceed 180 days after termination or release from military service. If you pay the income tax in full by the end of the deferral period, you will not be charged interest or penalty for that period.
This exception does not apply to the employee's share of social security and Medicare taxes you may owe.
For more information, see Deferral of Payment, later.
Tax Tip
If you are unable to pay the tax owed by the end of the extension period, you may want to ask the IRS for an installment payment agreement that reflects your ability to pay the tax owed. To do that, you can file Form 9465 or apply online. To apply online, go to, click on "I need to pay my taxes," and select "Installment Agreement" under "What if I can't pay now?"

Signing Returns(p23)

Generally, you must sign your return. However, if you are overseas or incapacitated, you can grant a power of attorney to an agent to file and sign your return.
If you are acting on behalf of someone serving in a combat zone, see Spouse in combat zone, later.
A power of attorney also can be granted by filing Form 2848. These forms are available at your nearest legal assistance office. While other power of attorney forms can be used, they must contain the information required by Form 2848.
In Part I of the form, you must indicate that you are granting the power to sign the return, the tax form number, and the tax year for which the form is being filed. Attach the power of attorney to the tax return.

Joint returns.(p23)

Generally, joint returns must be signed by both spouses. However, when a spouse is overseas, in a combat zone, in a missing status, incapacitated, or deceased, a power of attorney may be needed to file a joint return.
Spouse overseas.(p23)
If one spouse is overseas on military duty, there are two options when filing a joint return.
Spouse in combat zone.(p23)
If your spouse is unable to sign the return because he or she is serving in a combat zone or is performing qualifying service outside of a combat zone, and you do not have a power of attorney or other statement, you can sign for your spouse. Attach a signed statement to your return that explains that your spouse is serving in a combat zone.
Spouse in missing status.(p23)
The spouse of a member of the Armed Forces who is in a missing status in a combat zone can still file a joint return. A joint return can be filed for any year beginning not more than 2 years after the end of the combat zone activities. A joint return filed under these conditions is valid even if it is later determined that the missing spouse died before the year covered by the return.
Spouse incapacitated.(p23)
If your spouse cannot sign because of disease or injury and he or she tells you to sign, you can sign your spouse's name in the proper space on the return, followed by the words "by [your name], Husband (or Wife)." Be sure to sign your name in the space provided for your signature. Attach a dated statement, signed by you, to your return. The statement should include the form number of the return you are filing, the tax year, the reason your spouse could not sign, and that your spouse has agreed to your signing for him or her.
Spouse died during the year.(p23)
If one spouse died during the year and the surviving spouse did not remarry before the end of the year, the surviving spouse can file a joint return for that year writing in the signature area "Filing as surviving spouse." If an executor or administrator has been appointed, both he or she and the surviving spouse must sign the return filed for the decedent.