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State tax credits available for vets

Filing time for 2009 income taxes is still months away, but on Veterans Day, the Minnesota Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers about an important tax benefit for members of the military.

This year, the Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone has doubled.

"On Veterans Day we thank all military members for the amazing service they provide year round," said Revenue Commissioner Ward Einess. "Increasing the military tax credit is just one way to show our appreciation for everything our service men and women do and the sacrifices they make."

The Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone enacted by the 2006 Legislature and signed by Governor Tim Pawlenty is available to any member of the military who served in a designated combat zone or hazardous duty area since September 11, 2001.

For years prior to 2009, the credit is a refund equal to $59 for each month (or partial month) of service in one of the designated areas.

The credit is $120 for each month served beginning Jan. 1, 2009. If veterans have not previously claimed their credits, they can still file to receive the credit for time served.

To claim the credit, veterans can complete and file Form M99, Credit for Military Service in a Combat Zone, for the year(s) in which they served. Veterans may file Form M99 any time to claim the credit based on service prior to 2009.

The department will accept the 2009 Form M99 beginning Jan. 1, 2010, for combat zone service performed in 2009.

The Form M99 is filed separately from Form M1, Minnesota Individual Income Tax Return. Credits can be claimed for years prior to 2007 until October 15, 2010.

Eligibility requirements

Veterans are eligible to receive a credit for military time served in a combat zone if:

• They served in a combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area anytime on or after Sept. 11, 2001;

• The pay they received qualifies to be excluded as combat pay from federal gross income under Internal Revenue Code Section 112; and

• Their home of record during months of service was Minnesota.

The Revenue Department has been participating in the state's reintegration training program for soldiers returning from deployment. The training is coordinated by the Minnesota Army National Guard, and the Department of Revenue provides staff members to help service members complete the necessary forms for the military credit and assist with other tax matters.

More than 15,400 service members have filed for refunds totaling more than $7.8 million