- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2003

ASSOCIATED PRESS

New tax breaks for military personnel, including expanded benefits for reservists and the families of fallen soldiers, have passed the Senate.

The bill doubles the death gratuity paid to the families of soldiers killed in active duty to $12,000 and makes the entire payment tax-free. That item is identical to a bill the House passed unanimously last week.

The Senate expanded on the House’s legislation by adding additional tax breaks for soldiers and their families.

The chamber passed the bill Monday by voice vote hours after it approved an $87.5 billion spending bill to finance military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The tax changes include suspension of residency requirements for active-duty personnel who sell their houses. The change ensures that soldiers deployed away from home do not have to pay capital gains taxes on home sales.

Reservists would be allowed to claim a new deduction for travel expenses.

The bill also ensures that child care provided to soldiers’ families is not treated as a taxable benefit.

The bill balances new tax cuts with an extension of customs fees, eliminating any cost to the Treasury.

The Senate dropped an item that had caused concern in the House. The item had been meant to deter individuals who renounce their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying federal income taxes.


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