11/05/2013 09:57 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Veterans Day: A Look at Military Tax Benefits

Veterans Day is the official United States holiday that honors people who have served or currently serves in the armed forces. It may very well be one of the most important days of recognition of the entire year, as acknowledges the brave men and women who ask for little recognition while putting themselves in harm's way to preserve our freedoms and way of life. We thank you.

The IRS recognizes our soldiers with significant tax return benefits. As with all deductions and credits, it's important familiarize yourself with them so you know how to maximize your tax situation and to get the biggest tax refund you can. The good news is, as always with taxes, that there are tax professionals who are available to help you come tax time, so you don't have to worry about figuring it all out on your own.

Following are a few important tax related details to keep in mind as you file your taxes this year, and every year, to take the tax benefits that may apply to you.

• Before you start preparing for your tax return or meet with your favorite tax return preparer you should start by understanding some of the tax benefits that may apply to you. This helps when getting your paperwork and records organized and even to help you know the right questions to ask your tax preparer. The Internal Revenue Service has a wonderful Internet site with many resources, topics and even more specialty publications. One of the most important IRS publications related to military service is IRS Publication 3 - Armed Forces' Tax Guide. It contains a summary and overview of all of the tax considerations related to military service and what be applicable to you and is a great place to start. It outlines many individual tax considerations that range from income inclusion or exclusion, implications of serving in a combat zone, special deduction available only to service members to tax credits and other deduction and other tax situations that are military unique.

• In addition to the IRS publication summarizing tax considerations for the military, there are a host of additional online topics and information with a great deal more detailed guidance and help. Simply go to and search using the search bar for "military" or go to: There you will find greater help on topics and categories of topics that range from Special Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC rules, information for active members of military, retired veterans' considerations, employers with employees in a combat zone, tax return extensions and much more. Simply select the topic you are interested in and up will come a host of additional selections and consideration, publications and guidance.

This piece is far too short to cover all of the different tax considerations and potential tax return benefits available to our military service taxpayers. It is important that you at least be aware of the benefits to take maximum advantage of the tax breaks you are owed, even if you use a great tax return preparer. The more you know about the tax rules and considerations, the better off you will be. Awareness of the tax benefits is even more important if you are considering preparing your own taxes or using packaged software, as software is only part of the equation for the best tax results.

There is no more noble a contribution to society than participation in the service of the defense, perpetuation and safety of this country. The tax benefits that are in the law are yours and you have earned them. It is the least the country can do to thank you for your service.