Veterans asked to submit tax claims

WINDOW ROCK — The Navajo Nation Council is encouraging Navajo veterans to submit claims to the states of Arizona and New Mexico to recover income taxes that were unlawfully withheld on military wages for certain periods of time.

The taxes were in violation of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA), which was passed by congress in 1940 to prohibit states from taxing the income of military service members.

In Arizona, the U.S. Department of Defense began withholding taxes on active duty military income in late 2003 and continued until the end of 2005. In July 2016, state legislators established the Native American Veterans Income Tax Settlement Fund and set aside $2 million to refund veterans who were wrongfully taxed. Veterans have until the end of 2019 to file a claim through the Arizona Department of Revenue.

In 2008, the state of New Mexico also created a fund for the purpose of issuing settlement payments to Native American veterans who had their taxes withheld.

The Council is encouraging Navajo veterans that reside in Arizona to visit the Arizona Department of Veterans Services website at www.dvs.az.gov, or contact Scott Fincher by e-mail at nasf@azdvs.gov or by phone at (602) 234-8432.

For Navajo veterans residing in New Mexico, please visit the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department’s website at www.tax.newmexico.gov, or contact Alan Martinez by phone at 1-866-433-8387.

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