“Non-Combat” Troops Remaining in Iraq Will Still Receive “Combat Zone” Tax Treatment

August 31, 2010

In a televised address to the nation tonight, President Obama outlined his plans going foward concering U.S. military presence in Iraq. Obama's plan to formally end combat operations means that those troops who remain in Iraq are now being labeled "non-combat."

But even while they are no longer being called "combat" troops, the troops remaining in Iraq and throughout the Gulf Region will continue to receive combat zone tax treatment. As Stripes Central reported last week, a rumor that was circulating among some in the military that Obama's change would affect the tax treatment of troop pay was just that, a rumor.

Starting Sept. 1, the U.S. mission in Iraq will officially change to mentoring Iraqi troops and police, marking a symbolic end to the U.S. combat mission there. Even though the Defense Department has said the move won’t affect troops’ pay, rumors along those lines have persisted, prompting Stars and Stripes to ask the department about this matter.

“Iraq (land and airspace) is included in the list of designated hostile fire or imminent danger pay areas (effective since Sep 17, 1990),” said Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez in an e-mail. “These pays are based upon a location's designation as a combat zone or direct support area. Therefore, the pays won't change Sept. 1.”

So there you have it. The current special tax treatment received by those in Iraq has been in place long before President Obama took office or even the previous administration launched Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

For more on combat zone tax exclusions, click here, which includes the following listing of designated combat zones:

Afghanistan: By Executive Order No. 13239, Afghanistan (and airspace above) is designated a combat zone beginning September 19, 2001.

The Kosovo area: By Executive Order No. 13119 and Public Law 106-21, the following locations (including air space) were designated as a combat zone and a qualified hazardous duty area beginning March 24, 1999.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro)

Albania

The Adriatic Sea

The Ionian Sea – north of the 39th parallel (including all of the airspace in connection with the Kosovo operation.)

Persian Gulf area: By Executive Order No. 12744, the following locations (and airspace) were designated as a combat zone beginning January 17, 1991:

The Persian Gulf

The Red Sea

The Gulf of Oman

The part of the Arabian Sea that is north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude

The Gulf of Aden

The total land areas of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates


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