While the Internal Revenue Service is one of the strictest agencies in the government, they also understand that certain citizens may be under extreme circumstances that make it difficult for them to deal with tax issues. That’s why the IRS has certain exception policies for those undergoing extenuating circumstances, including those serving in or working with the U.S. military in a combat zone.

The IRS allows a long suspension of compliance actions for those serving in a combat zone. Compliance actions, which include audits or enforced collections, are suspended for these qualifying persons while they are in the combat zone and for 180 days afterward.

The IRS has stated that they work with the Department of Defense to identify taxpayers who are serving in a combat zone. However, if a taxpayer wants to notify the IRS of their circumstances directly, they can easily do so. The IRS has a dedicated email address (combatzone@irs.gov) that anyone can email.

If you’d like to notify the IRS that you are serving in a combat zone (or that you have within the last 180 days), you can simply email them your name, stateside address, date of birth, and date of deployment to the combat zone. Make sure not to email your social security, however— the IRS has stated that it’s not required for the suspension and that doing so is unsafe.

Both members of the military and civilians who are working with the military can qualify for this suspension, as long as they are serving in a combat zone. If you are a civilian who wants to notify the IRS that you are in an active combat zone, you can also email them at combatzone@gmail.com. Generally, civilians should also send a letter from their employer or a letter from the military detailing why they qualify, in addition to the same information that everyone should send.

Those who qualify for this suspension can notify the IRS themselves or have a legally authorized representative, like their spouse or their tax professional, do so on their behalf.

While the IRS accepts this information via email, they do not send e-mail responses. This is because it’s against IRS policy to send tax information via e-mail. They do respond but will do so by traditional mail. The IRS sends letters of response to the address they have on record for the taxpayer within 2 business days of receiving their e-mail.

If you’re a member of the military serving in a combat zone or a civilian working for the military in a combat zone, remember that this suspension of compliance actions is available to you. And remember that if you have any tax issues, either while you’re in a combat zone or after your return, a tax professional like our experts at Vanguard Tax Relief can help you get it cleared up quickly and efficiently.