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Military leaders say troops should plan ahead for payroll tax deferral

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Sept. 8 (UPI) — Military members are included in President Donald Trump’s payroll tax deferral — and can’t opt out, according to the Pentagon’s payroll services provider.

According to a statement on the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, service members’ payroll tax deferrals will happen automatically.

In August Trump signed an executive order deferring payroll tax payments for people who earn less than $100,000, to take effect retroactively and continue through December.

Per IRS guidance implementing the order, employers can cease to withhold the 6.2 percent Social Security tax from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for those who make less than $4,000 biweekly — and recoup the money by increasing the amount withheld from workers’ paychecks in the first part of next year.

Military leaders are cautioning members that the boost in pay is only temporary — and that there’s no way to opt out of it.

“Leaders – make sure your Airmen and families are tracking to prevent financial strain in the future. For the families that need additional financial help… our Airman & Family Readiness Centers and Military OneSource stand ready to assist,” Chief Master of the Air Force Joanne Bass wrote on Twitter.

Master Sgt. Dan Bailey, spokesman for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command based in Kaiserslautern, said the command is advising soldiers and civilians to “formulate a plan” for saving the extra money or make a household budget to meet financial obligations in the beginning of the year.

Business groups have criticized the deferral because they don’t want their employees to get smaller-than-normal paychecks next year — and many private-sector employers are not likely to participate.

But the federal government is participating, and the DFAS said the Social Security tax deferral will be effective for military members beginning in mid-September for all employees whose monthly rate of basic pay is less than $8,666.66.

According to DFAS, collection of the deferred taxes will be taken between Jan. 1 and April 30 — and they cannot be paid in a lump sum.

Civilian Department of Defense employees will also receive deferrals.

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