Troops serving in Kuwait lose major tax exemption
Mercedes Stephenson, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2017 10:03PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 9, 2017 12:22PM EST
Canadian troops critical to the fight against ISIS have lost a major tax break that had saved them more than $9,000 each over the course of a six-month tour.
The tax breaks, worth between $1,500 to $1,800 per month, are provided to military members who meet certain criteria related to the risk of their duties and the relative hardship of their living conditions while deployed overseas.
Fifteen troops at Camp Arfijan, a base in Kuwait, lost the tax break in September, after the military downgraded the risk level. They fought to get it back, arguing that they faced no less danger or hardship than others stationed in the country.
But instead of restoring the tax break to Camp Arifjan’s military members, the government took the exemption away from the more than 300 troops stationed in Kuwait, who will no longer be eligible as of June 1st, 2017.
One member told CTV News that, out of all the nations fighting ISIS, he believes the Canadians are the only ones who will not be getting the tax break. The Pentagon confirmed to CTV News that all American soldiers deployed to Kuwait receive tax exemption status.
Military sources say the change is already causing hardships. One deployed military member supports his disabled sister and pays his elderly mother’s mortgage, and now their financial future is uncertain.
The mother of an affected man, Glenda Lindsay, said it feels as though her son is being cheated. "They're cutting corners at the troops' expense," she told CTV News.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan promised to fix the situation at a defence committee meeting on Dec. 1 when he was pressed by Conservative Defence Critic, James Bezan.
But there has yet to be any change. One affected military member feels like "we got kicked in the stomach."
This story has been updated to correct a line referring to American soldiers who are deployed in Iraq. The soldiers referred to in the story are deployed to Kuwait.