The Department of Defense is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State to provide support in dealing with the coronavirus disease outbreak.
Guidance from the Government
We urge the military community to follow the guidance of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House, working in conjunction with the CDC, Health and Human Services and other government agencies. Our primary goals are to ensure the well-being of the entire military community and to assist in force readiness for the national defense and current worldwide military missions.
The Department of Defense is now lifting travel restrictions based on local conditions at installations. Look for a new update each week »
Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19
To provide relief during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, a presidential memorandum was issued on Aug. 8, 2020, and guidance followed by the Internal Revenue Service on Aug. 28, 2020, to temporarily defer Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance), seen on the Army, Air Force and Navy service members’ Leave and Earnings Statement as “FICA-SOC SECURITY” tax withholdings. The Social Security tax is labeled as “Social Security” on the LES for the Marine Corps. For civilians, the OASDI deduction is found on the LES under the deductions tab/section.
Can anyone opt out?
No. The Office of Management and Budget directed all executive branch agencies to implement the tax deferral. No payroll providers, departments/agencies or service members will be able to opt in/opt out of the deferral.
Will military members be required to pay back the deferred taxes?
Yes. Current IRS guidance indicates that the payment of the deferred taxes is postponed until Jan. 1, 2021. The deferred Social Security taxes not withheld from wages during 2020 will be collected from wages paid from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021.
When will the payroll tax deferral begin?
The deferral of the withholding of the Social Security tax for service members will be effective for midmonth as of September. For civilians, the deferral is effective for the pay period ending, Sept. 12, 2020. For nonappropriated funds, under the alternate and Europe cycle, the deferral is effective for the pay period ending Sept. 9, 2020, or Sept. 16, 2020, for the regular cycle.
Is there an option to put money aside in my paycheck to offset the deferred taxes?
Military members can contact the personal financial management staff at their installation, the Military and Family Support Center or Military OneSource to discuss options to help prepare to pay back the deferred taxes. For civilians with concerns regarding repayment of the deferred OASDI, please consult with an Employee Assistance Program financial counselor or a private financial adviser.
Can the deferred Social Security tax liability be waived?
Only Congress has the authority to forgive taxes. Deferral of the Social Security tax only postpones when the taxes are due.
Will the deferred taxes be forgiven by Congress?
Congress has not made a determination on forgiving the tax deferral debt. Under current IRS guidance, service members and civilian employees should plan on repaying the deferred taxes beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
When do I owe the 2020 deferred taxes?
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, extended the period for collecting deferred 2020 Social Security taxes. The collection will now span from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021. This spreads the repayment across 12 months of pay instead of four (Jan. 1-April 30, 2021) as previously ruled.
The IRS will collect the 2020 deferred Social Security taxes from:
- Active-duty service members in 24 installments (mid-month and end-of-month) between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2021
- Reservists and guardsmen performing intermittent duty in 2021 in amounts of 2% of the net amount available from each weekly, mid-month and end-of-month pay until the deferred taxes have been repaid in full (amounts withdrawn may vary per pay period)
Access your myPay Leave and Earnings Statement to view the monthly collection amount and remaining balance of deferred Social Security taxes beginning in January 2021.
The IRS will collect the 2020 deferred Social Security taxes in 24 installments during the Jan. 16-Dec. 4, 2021, pay periods. Beginning in January 2021, access your myPay LES to view the 2020 deferred tax repayment amount and the remaining balance. If you retire or separate before the deferred Social Security tax is collected in full, the IRS will deduct the remaining repayment from your final paycheck or you will receive a debt letter with instructions for repayment.
For more information on the 2020 tax deferment, see the Background section of the Social Security Payroll Tax Deferral page on the Defense Finance and Accounting Service website.
My MilLife Guide delivers tips and proven resources for well-being straight to your mobile device. This eight-week program texts information and resources to help with a range of issues – from parenting to personal finance and health care to relationship stress.
For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website. You can also follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms.
More from the Official Government Sources
Army & Air Force Exchange Service
U.S. Department of Defense
- COVID-19 Guidance on Impacts to Transition Assistance Program and Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Events
- Coronavirus: The Latest DoD Guidance
- The Latest Information from DoD on their Response to the Coronavirus
- The Latest Information from Move.mil, the Official DOD Moving Portal
- Survivor Benefit Plan Student Certification Process
- COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Installation Status Update.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Servic
Internal Revenue Service
Defense Travel Management Office
Federal Voting Assistance Program