Bipartisan Womack bill prevents tax on troops’ basic needs allowance

To ensure that United States military service members keep the full benefits they have earned, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) recently proposed legislation that would exclude their basic needs allowance (BNA) from their gross income for tax purposes.

“Taxing support meant to help the most vulnerable undermines the purpose. BNA should be treated like other military benefits outside of earned income, which is exactly what this bill prescribes,” Rep. Womack said. “This allowance is a ‘combat multiplier.’ With reduced financial pressure at home, our troops can better focus on performance and defense. I am committed to supporting our men and women in uniform.”

The BNA Fairness Act, H.R. 1732, which Rep. Womack sponsored on March 22 with five original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Dan Kildee (D-MI), specifically would amend the U.S. Tax Code to exclude BNA benefits from taxable income, thereby ensuring that America’s troops can count on the full value of their BNA, according to information provided by the lawmakers. 

Rep. Kildee said that the BNA, which helps support thousands of service members and their families, is not income and should not be subject to income taxes. “I’m proud to work across the aisle with my friend Steve Womack on this common-sense legislation to provide a tax cut for our servicemembers and military families,” he said. 

H.R. 1732 has garnered support from the Military Officers Association of America’s Arkansas Council of Chapters and is under consideration in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.