IRS News Release  
January 31, 1991

Special Tax Help for Taxpayers in Desert Storm

Although military personnel and others serving in the Operation Desert Storm combat zone have an automatic extension of time to file their tax returns, the Internal Revenue Service today gave special guidance to those who are due tax refunds and want to file early.

Two words -- Desert Storm -- should be written at the top of their 1990 federal income tax returns and on the envelopes. In addition, IRS said that any notice issued to these taxpayers regarding tax collection or examination matters requires no action other than writing "Desert Storm" on the top of the notice and returning it to the IRS.

People who represent taxpayers serving in the combat zone and file tax returns for them also should mark "Desert Storm" on those returns and any IRS correspondence sent to taxpayers in the combat zone.

Because pending legislation would extend tax relief to taxpayers who served in, and left, Operation Desert Shield before the Jan. 17, 1991 combat zone designation, they, too, should write "Desert Storm" at the top of their tax returns, correspondence and envelopes sent to IRS.

By writing "Desert Storm" on tax returns, correspondence and envelopes, IRS will be alerted to taxpayers entitled to tax relief, including extension of time to file, suspension of all collection and examination actions and suspension of interest charges on back taxes.

To ease tax filing, the IRS announced today that it is streamlining authorization requirements for people who represent taxpayers serving in Operation Desert Storm. Normally, IRS requires a power of attorney form signed by the taxpayer specifying that federal tax matters can be handled by the person designated on the form. IRS today said it will accept a general power of attorney or a statement signed by the taxpayer that authorizes another person to act on their behalf, even though federal tax matters are not specified. A copy of the general power of attorney or authorization statement must be attached to the tax return.

If it is not possible for the spouse of a taxpayer serving in Operation Desert Storm to obtain a signed authorization, IRS will accept a written statement explaining that the husband or wife is serving in the combat zone. This statement must be signed by the spouse filing the return and attached to the tax return.

Military legal assistance offices will help those who need to have a power of attorney or substitute authorization signed by military personnel.

IRS emphasizes that local IRS offices will help spouses and other people representing taxpayers serving in Operation Desert Storm in filing tax return, including free electronic filing of returns in those IRS offices with that capability. IRS will also provide speakers to groups of taxpayers, including support groups that are typically made up of family members of taxpayers overseas in Operation Desert Storm.

IRS encourages taxpayers to call IRS at 1/800/TAX-1040 or visit their nearest IRS office for help on any federal tax matter.

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