Senate Passes Military Tax Bill

On November 3, 2003, for the second time this year, the Senate has passed a military tax relief bill. This time the Senate substituted the language of the bill that it first passed on March 27, 2003 for the language sent to it by the House in the Fallen Patriots Tax Relief bill (HR 3365), and then amended the bill before passage to include the two provisions of the House-passed version of the bill, unanimously approved by the House on October 29, 2003. The provisions in the Senate bill include an exemption from taxation for certain military death gratuities and benefits from Department of Defense Homeowners Assistance programs, easing restrictions on the capital gain exclusion for military personnel on the sale of a residence, and an above-the-line deduction for travel expenses of National Guard and reserve members. The provisions common to the House and Senate bills are an increase in the death gratuity benefit to $12,000 and an increase in the tax-free treatment of the benefit to $12,000. Senate bill is more costly than the House bill, but also include a group of revenue offsets not included in the House-passed legislation. Veterans organizations have been exerting pressure on Congress to stop fighting over differing versions of the bill and get relief legislation passed this year.


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