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Washington, Once More, Shows Its Support for Our Troops

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Deployed troops are inelligible for the Child Tax Credit since their income isn't taxable. Yep, risk you life to save America, but don't think we are going to give you the $$ to pay your bills while you do our dirty work. We have our fat cat friends to repay.

You might find this particularly interesting, because while you are in combat theater, your pay is not taxable income. For example, a serviceman or woman who makes $29,000 a year, supports a spouse and two children, and lives stateside, will enjoy the full tax credit and receive $1,000 for each child. If that service member is deployed to Iraq, he or she ends up losing that child tax credit, ending up worse off for having done their duty.

But by House Republican Tom DeLay's definition of income, providing many of you with the same benefits that multi-millionares are going to enjoy would be giving you welfare.
post #2 of 34
Why am I not surprised. I wasn't expecting our check in the mail anyway, but luckily my husband is still alive and able to work. I am feeling very bitter right now as we just lost four servicemembers in a helicopter crash here on base last night. They left behind four wives and numerous children and I feel so sad because the government these men served will more than likely shaft the families who now need their help.
post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
I am sorry to hear of the losses at your base. My heart goes out to the families left behind. Not only have they lost a dear family member, but they have to move overseas and their whole life will completely change.

I hope you husband comes home safe, that is much more important than a tax credit. Although having enough money to raise your family is pretty important too.
post #4 of 34
i would just like to point out that the example the article used, a servicemember making $29,000, doesn't apply to the vast majority of enlisted soldiers, the ones who really need this credit.
we have been enlisted for 5.5 years, and our taxable income was between $12,000 and $14,000.
and yes, deployment pay is non-taxable, but it's only the pay earned for the days overseas. so if you deploy for 6 months out of the year, you are still paying income tax on the other 6 months.
they should give them the %^*(*$@@ tax credit. these are not rich people, and many of them qualify for food stamps, WIC, or other public assistance.

you guys have got to help me not to read these threads so early in the morning! it starts my day off with me wanting to go to DC and kick someone in the rear end.
post #5 of 34
It's disgusting enough that the people charged with taking such orders, and such demanding and difficult work that the rest of us choose not to do...the men and women who have to put on brave faces and ship out to fight in engagements they may not even support in their hearts, and many of whom in the last months have left families without one parent, should be living on public assistance.

Many other "government jobs" are known to have competitive pay and excellent benefits.

And when you think about how many young people enlist because they see it as their big chance to "move up" in the world, out of poverty...it's really sick and sad.
post #6 of 34
ummnuh, one thing we see a LOT of is soldiers getting out of the service, getting rehired as civilian contractors, doing THE EXACT SAME JOB, and getting paid 6-9 times more than they were. and the government wonders why we aren't meeting recruiting and retention goals.........
post #7 of 34
to point out a few misconceptions here. You are not tax-free if you are deployed just anywhere. You are tax-free if you are deployed (or flying over in the case of aviation) to an area that's been deemed hazardous duty by Congress. Right now those locations are in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. So yes, a lot of soldiers are tax free, but there are many who are not.

What does tax free mean? It means you don't pay taxes. It means that on your w-2 the income does not exist. That in an of itself is a benefit. Guess what else though. Now most of these tax-free workers also qualify for the EIC (because it is unlikely to be tax free all 12 months), when they wouldn't have before. So there's another benefit.

What is this article complaining about? It's complaining because in order to claim the *full* Additional Child Tax Credit, you have to have earned money over $10,500. It is calculated using 10% (15% next year) of that income. Many tax-free soldiers end up only being able to claim part of this tax credit because their tax free income is left off the w-2. This tax credit is *not* a refund of taxes someone paid. It's a refund above and beyond what someone paid. So is the EIC in a lot of cases.

In addition, the millionaire comment is flat out not factual. The child tax credit is not available to people making over $110k a year.

So this article is *not* complaining about people who *paid* taxes being denied refunds. It's complaining about people who never paid taxes in the first place not getting *more* money back.

BTW, my dh was deployed six months of last year flying over Bosnia. We were tax free for half the year, which brought our tax burden down to $0. We qualified for a $4300 credit between the EIC and the ACTC. And you know what? We didn't take it because it wasn't our money. We only took the refund for the amount we paid. We could have used the extra money, but it was more important to us to not be hypocritical politically.

post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 

Since it has been nine years since I was a single mother in the Army raising a child, I will attempt to answer this before the other mommies currently in this situation do. I imagine their response will be slightly less kind than mine will be. Also, please excuse me if some of the information is not current. It has been seven years since I was either in the army or an army spouse.

First of all, it is absolutely abhorant that the men and women who are serving this wonderful government of ours even if they don't agree with the engagements, they still serve honorably (most of them). Yet most E-5s and below earn so little that they qualify for WIC and other public assistance. Now when I was in Germany, I didn't pay Federal Income Tax, however I made so little that I wouldn't have paid any regardless. IT gets trickier becuase I was an E-3 pregnant with child one and no support from his sperm donor. That meant that I paid for everything out of my own pocket, If I had been stateside, I would have been able to receive WIC, etc. And the EIC, which I was also inelligible for.

Those brave people in our society who are willing to put their lives on the line because they believe this crazy government actually stands for something (rather than IN something) should be given every possible leeway to make up for the very, very, very crappy job that they do. Most military personnel I have met are smart, kind, funny, and extreemly dedicated. Being treated like chattel eventually turns them bitter, meanspirited, and domestic abuse statistics. Their families truly know how to turn lemons into lemonade, heck they take a sow's ear and turn it into a silk purse. All the while the government treats them like crap.

Its not like these people are trying to sponge off the government, they help ensure we (in the States) live with our freedoms (such as they are) and quirks. They are willing to lay down their lives so people who don't think they really earn income can whine that they are greedy for wanting a tiny tax credit so they can maybe pay a bill or two or go on vacation when they do finally get some leave while millionairs recoup tens of thousands of dollars to do basically nothing with.

I say, lets support the troups!
post #9 of 34
Did you read my post?

My husband is in the military. I am a military wife. I am not dissing military people at all.

I was simply pointing out that the credit is actually an income redistribution, not a refund of taxes paid because by being tax free, *we* paid no taxes when we normally would have. If the posters here think that we should redistribute income via the tax system, fine. But it was clear in the posts and the article that many think that the military personnel are being denied a refund of what they'd paid into the system.

Do I think that the military is vastly underpaid? Yes. Do I think we should fix that through income redistribution towards the few who are deployed to hazardous duty zones? No. I would favor raising the pay of *all* military personnel regardless of where they are working. But then I suppose most people here would complain because that'd require an increase in defense spending.

And once again, millionaires cannot claim the tax credit discussed in this article, so I am not sure how that applies to this specific action.
post #10 of 34
Thread Starter 
Wendy, I didn't read the part about Bosnia the first time around for which I apologize. But the reason there isn't money to help our vastly underpaid troops is because we bail out airlines, not once but twice! And award no-bidcontracts to various friends of the administration. Okay, no big suprise that you help "friends" first, but shouldn't there be some kind of open accounting about it? I realize this is a tangent. Anyway, EIC and Child Tax credit are CREDITS, not REFUNDS. That means you are doing some thing the gov't deems "good" and they want to pay you for that. I do not think it hypocrital at all to take the money, we contribute more to society than simply $.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
And I have no problem with raising the defense budget if the $, does in fact go to our troops. Much of that budget is simply waste, however.
post #12 of 34
On the note about defense spending...I think there could be a lot of smarter spending going on. The WHOLE PICTURE needs another look, and is totally out of focus. Look at the huge bill we're going to pay for the Iraq war. Do you think people are angry about paying the soldiers to be there? Look at what the contractors take for their work.

I wonder whether the govt doesn't look at a situation like you describe, Wendydagny, and figure that the money you could have taken would be where you'd "make up" for being underpaid. Since most folks in the same situation would take the $$...why fix it?
post #13 of 34
Well I'd say they should fix it because I think it is wrong to take money from one person and give it to another as part of the tax code. I don't believe in credits because they are income redistribution.

Also it should be fixed because it only benefits the military members who are serving in those areas, not everyone. That makes sense to a degree, but when an aviation squadron is flying out of Italy over Bosnia, only those people actually on the plane get the tax-free benefit, and only some of the crews from that squadron fly those missions.

Actually budget increases are assigned to specific things by Congress. When they increase pay, it goes to pay. In a method designed by them. Period.

In fact this delineation by Congress is one of the reasons for waste. Unneccessary bases stay open, unneccessary equipment is purchased, etc. in order to win votes. And people who don't really know what the military needs are make the decisions. Yes they are advised by the DOD and such, but they still do things the way they want a lot of the time, and even the DOD people don't always listen to the commands. For example, in dh's squadron they had an inflated budget for fuel, but an insufficient budget for maintenance. So planes would stay broken, and others would be forced to fly extra hours to use up the fuel. Why? Well because if it wasn't used then next year, when the planes might be fixed and they'd need it, then it would be cut from the budget.

The system is just screwed up and should be fixed.
post #14 of 34
Thread Starter 
I totally agree that our defense budget is bloated beyond usefullness. However, I think that our elected officials need to have greater input in the process. That is the only way we in the electorate wil get to have a say in the process. I also believe that we should have more narrowly tailored bills instead of these bloated beyond recognition bills with riders and ammendments that have nothing to do with the original bill.

Again, I believe that we contribute far more to society than just tax revenue and credits like EIC make it more attractive to work and not simply milk the system. Idealy, I would love to see a simple flat tax, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Reducing the credits that have helped our lower income citizens avoid other government intervention does nothing to address simple parity issues, IMNSHO.
post #15 of 34

Wendy, just for the record, I thought you'd posted in a previous thread a little while ago that you lived in an upper class neighborhood and that your husband worked for a "top 10" university. If so, then passing yourself off as a military wife (ostensibly with similar financial and other issues to other military members and spouses on the board) is kinda disingenuous, even if your husband is indeed in the military in some capacity or other. Or maybe I misread you, or misremember what you wrote earlier?

edited to add:

Here we go! From "Whiteness studies":

Actually, I live in the south, so maybe white people *do* ask for all white neighborhoods. I actually have no idea. We live in an integrated upperclass neighborhood.

For example, my husband is involved in recruiting and scholarships at a top ten university.
I suppose "involvement" doesn't necessarily entail "employed," but the implication is there.
post #16 of 34

I find your insinuations to be pretty infuriating.

The notion that military members cannot live in an upper class neighborhood is ludicrous. I lived outside of Jacksonville, FL before a recent move (May). The median family income there was only 21k a year, so our modest home that cost a whopping $110k was in an "upper class" neighborhood. Most people in the area lived in very inexpensive homes, trailers, and modular homes.

Yes, my husband is an officer, but he is not high ranking and we do not make an excessive amount of money, though I am aware that will change in the future. There were several enlisted families who also lived in our neighborhood.

Currently my dh is on shore duty. He is a ROTC instructor at a top ten University. His primary job involves teaching, supervising the ROTC unit, and recruiting through ROTC scholarships. He is technically employed by the military, but he is considered faculty and has a high level of interaction with admissions and financial aid.

That's more information than I'd like to have aired out on the internet. But I find it pretty disgusting that I'm getting attacked for pretending to be something I'm not. Anything else you want to know? Or can this discussion get back on track now?
post #17 of 34
I'm not (and never have been) in the military, but I do know that, at least in the year 2003, it's pretty tough even for a single person with no dependents to earn $15,000 per year or so and live in an upper class neighborhood (without being a trust fund baby or having significant alimony or inheritance or winning the lottery or something else of the sort).

Correct me if I'm wrong, but while the OP didn't specify lower-income servicemembers, succeeding posts were oriented in that direction.

It is, indeed, the internet. As such, when relevant, potential significant inconsistencies, particularly from folks with whom we're not yet as familiar, may be fair game to point out. On the other hand, at the end of the day, none of us really owes anyone else any explanation - even if someone has requested it.
post #18 of 34
marlena, i can see where you'd be confused reading my posts and wendy's. but her hubby is an officer. there is a substantial difference between enlisted and officer pay grades. we just went from enlisted to officer, and it's a whole new world. we actually have enough money to pay ALL of our bills and eat more than beans and rice and pasta, and i don't have to call my dad and ask for money every month.

wendy, i hope you aren't so pissed that you leave altogether! your dh's job sounds pretty great, IMO.
also, you are a stronger woman than i, by refusing the EIC! i take every cent i can get, even if does come from shady sources. i am not proud!

back on topic, sorry!
post #19 of 34
Gosh not even an apology.

Well yes, single people earning 15k a year can't buy a house for 100k, no. Singly people 15k a year tend to either be in training, and are given housing, or they live in base housing. At dh's base single enlisted people below a certain rank were required to live in housing, which was incredibly nice to be honest. But single people over the age of 22 aren't earning that little, at least according to the pay tables that are available on the internet.

When we bought our house we made a little under 30k that year as 0-1's just coming out of flight training. This was in 1999 before the *across the board* increases in pay took effect. Our next door neighbor was an enlisted member, as was the family who lived across the street. Both of them were around 30, so they admittedly had 10+ years in. We had no trust fund or help from our family. We were incredibly frugal to be able to afford our house. We had saved some money while living in housing during training. VA loans also allow you to borrow more than a standard loan, btw.

I never said that enlisted military members made a ton of money or that they made enough money. In fact, I said the opposite. The purpose of my OP was actually just to state facts about the way the tax code worked in this case because I filed those kind of taxes this year, and to point out some misconceptions.

Next time you attack someone for being devious, perhaps you should do a little research to see if what they are saying could possibly be true.

And I suppose if there are people on this thread who think what I have to say is not valid or coming from a true military spouse because he is no longer an E-1, so be it.

post #20 of 34
wendy, actually there is a large population of enlisted soldiers (the 15K crowd) who are in their late 20s and early 30s. my husband was one of them, and we had a TON of friends in the same boat. we all had kids. we were all families who joined the army after college and went enlisted in order to have part of our student loans paid off. there's alot of us out there. there's at least one other family here at MDC on the same boat, a mod even. and we're all in our thirties, with at least a BA. so married people over the age of 22 ARE earning the pittances we are talking about, not just high school grads fresh out of school.
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