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New Law Allows Injured Vets To Get Refund On Taxes They Were Never Meant To Pay
Thousands of veterans injured in combat could soon be able to recoup taxes erroneously collected from their disability severance pay due to a new law signed by President Barack Obama.
About 13,800 veterans separated from the military due to their injuries might have been affected, the nonprofit group National Veterans Legal Service Program estimates. Due to an accounting error, as much as $78 million in taxes deducted over decades from the lump sum payments.
Federal law considers the severance payments tax exempt. But the nonprofit group said the Defense Finance and Accounting Service system was automatically making deductions since 1991, meaning troops injured in conflicts spanning from the Gulf War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been taxed thousands of dollars improperly.
“Many of them I spoke to were hearing of this issue for the first time,” said Tom Moore, an attorney and manager of the Lawyers Serving Warriors project at the nonprofit group.
The average tax payment was $5,650, he said.
The deductions were uncovered and investigated by Moore and the National Veterans Legal Service Program and have now been stopped by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. They had initially pursued a class-action lawsuit but realized the only clear solution was a new law backed by Congress.
The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act signed by Obama on Friday requires the Defense Department to calculate what money is owed to whom and provide veterans the option to reclaim the taxes.
The lump-sum severance money was paid to veterans who were injured in combat but did not rate permanently disabled. The amounts depended on rank and length of service at the time.
The average total payment was about $22,000 – severance ranged between about $12,000 and $100,000 – and was taxed at 25 percent, Moore said.
The military was aware of the automatic taxes and attempted to notify troops undergoing medical separation of how to reclaim the money. It required the servicemember to file a claim with DFAS by December of the year that they were separated, Moore said.
The Internal Revenue Service also offered a three-year window for veterans to file an amended tax return to recoup the improper deduction.
But Moore said thousands of veterans have missed the opportunities.
The military is now required to “notify all of these veterans and let them all know the three-year period to file with IRS is open,” he said.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., pushed the legislation in Congress.
“It is unbelievable that Congress needed to act to clear up this issue. Severance pay for service members who suffered combat-related injuries should not be taxed under any circumstance,” Warner said in a released statement.
© 2016 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.
Boyfriends can sometimes do some really weird shit. Much of it is well-meaning: A boy I liked in high school once sang me a screamo song that he wrote over the phone. He thought it would be sweet, and while I appreciated that he wanted to share it with me, I also had no idea what he was saying. Ah, young love.
Sure, this sounds cringeworthy. But then there's 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, who appears to be, dare I say, the best boyfriend?
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