SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT (“SCRA”)

TITLE V – TAXES AND PUBLIC LANDS

§ 561. Taxes respecting personal property, money, credits, and real property [Sec. 501]

(a) Application. This section applies in any case in which a tax or assessment, whether general or special (other than a tax on personal income), falls due and remains unpaid before or during a period of military service with respect to a servicemember’s —

(1)  personal property (including motor vehicles); or

(2)  real property occupied for dwelling, professional, business, or agricultural purposes by a servicemember or the servicemember’s dependents or employees—

(A) before the servicemember’s entry into military service; and

(B) during the time the tax or assessment remains unpaid.

(b) Sale of property.

(1)  Limitation on sale of property to enforce tax assessment. Property described in subsection (a) may not be sold to enforce the collection of such tax or assessment except by court order and upon the determination by the court that military service does not materially affect the servicemember’s ability to pay the unpaid tax or assessment.

(2)  Stay of court proceedings. A court may stay a proceeding to enforce the collection of such tax or assessment, or sale of such property, during a period of military service of the servicemember and for a period not more than 180 days after the termination of, or release of the servicemember from, military service.

(c) Redemption. When property described in subsection (a) is sold or forfeited to enforce the collection of a tax or assessment, a servicemember shall have the right to redeem or commence an action to redeem the servicemember’s property during the period of military service or within 180 days after termination of or release from military service. This subsection may not be construed to shorten any period provided by the law of a State (including any political subdivision of a State) for redemption.

(d)Interest on tax or assessment. Whenever a servicemember does not pay a tax or assessment on property described in subsection (a) when due, the amount of the tax or assessment due and unpaid shall bear interest until paid at the rate of 6 percent per year. An additional penalty or interest shall not be incurred by reason of nonpayment. A lien for such unpaid tax or assessment may include interest under this subsection.

(e) Joint ownership application. This section applies to all forms of property described in subsection (a) owned individually by a servicemember or jointly by a servicemember and a dependent or dependents.

§ 562. Rights in public lands [Sec. 502]

(a) Rights not forfeited. The rights of a servicemember to lands owned or controlled by the United States, and initiated or acquired by the servicemember under the laws of the United States (including the mining and mineral leasing laws) before military service, shall not be forfeited or prejudiced as a result of being absent from the land, or by failing to begin or complete any work or improvements to the land, during the period of military service.

(b)Temporary suspension of permits or licenses. If a permittee or licensee under the Act of June 28, 1934 (43 U.S.C. §315 et seq.), enters military service, the permittee or licensee may suspend the permit or license for the period of military service and for 180 days after termination of or release from military service.

(c) Regulations. Regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior shall provide for such suspension of permits and licenses and for the remission, reduction, or refund of grazing fees during the period of such suspension.

§ 563. Desert-land entries [Sec. 503]

(a) Desert-land rights not forfeited. A desert-land entry made or held under the desert-land laws before the entrance of the entryman or the entryman’s successor in interest into military service shall not be subject to contest or cancellation –

(1)for failure to expend any required amount per acre per year in improvements upon the claim;

(2)for failure to effect the reclamation of the claim during the period the entryman or the entryman’s successor in interest is in the military service, or for 180 days after termination of or release from military service; or

(3)during any period of hospitalization or rehabilitation due to an injury or disability incurred in the line of duty.

The time within which the entryman or claimant is required to make such expenditures and effect reclamation of the land shall be exclusive of the time periods described in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(b)Service-related disability. If an entryman or claimant is honorably discharged and is unable to accomplish reclamation of, and payment for, desert land due to a disability incurred in the line of duty, the entryman or claimant may make proof without further reclamation or payments, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior, and receive a patent for the land entered or claimed.

(c) Filing requirement. In order to obtain the protection of this section, the entryman or claimant shall, within 180 days after entry into military service, cause to be filed in the land office of the district where the claim is situated a notice communicating the fact of military service and the desire to hold the claim under this section.

§ 564. Mining claims [Sec. 504]

(a) Requirements suspended. The provisions of section 2324 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (38 U.S.C. §28) specified in subsection (b) shall not apply to a servicemember’s claims or interests in claims, regularly located and recorded, during a period of military service and 180 days thereafter, or during any period of hospitalization or rehabilitation due to injuries or disabilities incurred in the line of duty.

(b)Requirements. The provisions in section 2324 of the Revised Statutes that shall not apply under subsection (a) are those which require that on each mining claim located after May 10, 1872, and until a patent has been issued for such claim, not less than $100 worth of labor shall be performed or improvements made during each year.

(c) Period of protection from forfeiture. A mining claim or an interest in a claim owned by a servicemember that has been regularly located and recorded shall not be subject to forfeiture for nonperformance of annual assessments during the period of military service and for 180 days thereafter, or for any period of hospitalization or rehabilitation described in subsection (a).

(d)Filing requirement. In order to obtain the protections of this section, the claimant of a mining location shall, before the end of the assessment year in which military service is begun or within 60 days after the end of such assessment year, cause to be filed in the office where the location notice or certificate is recorded a notice communicating the fact of military service and the desire to hold the mining claim under this section.

§ 565. Mineral permits and leases [Sec. 505]

(a) Suspension during military service. A person holding a permit or lease on the public domain under the Federal mineral leasing laws who enters military service may suspend all operations under the permit or lease for the duration of military service and for 180 days thereafter. The term of the permit or lease shall not run during the period of suspension, nor shall any rental or royalties be charged against the permit or lease during the period of suspension.

(b)Notification. In order to obtain the protection of this section, the permittee or lessee shall, within 180 days after entry into military service, notify the Secretary of the Interior by registered mail of the fact that military service has begun and of the desire to hold the claim under this section.

(c) Contract modification. This section shall not be construed to supersede the terms of any contract for operation of a permit or lease.

§ 566. Perfection or defense of rights [Sec. 506]

(a) Right to take action not affected. This title [50 U.S.C. §§561 – 571] shall not affect the right of a servicemember to take action during a period of military service that is authorized by law or regulations of the Department of the Interior, for the perfection, defense, or further assertion of rights initiated or acquired before entering military service.

(b)Affidavits and proofs.

(1)In general. A servicemember during a period of military service may make any affidavit or submit any proof required by law, practice, or regulation of the Department of the Interior in connection with the entry, perfection, defense, or further assertion of rights initiated or acquired before entering military service before an officer authorized to provide notary services under section 1044 of title 10, United States Code, or any superior commissioned officer.

(2)Legal status of affidavits. Such affidavits shall be binding in law and subject to the same penalties as prescribed by section 1001 of title 18, United State Code.

§ 567. Distribution of information concerning benefits of title [Sec. 507]

(a) Distribution of information by Secretary concerned. The Secretary concerned shall issue to servicemembers information explaining the provisions of this title [50 U.S.C. App. §§561 – 571].

(b)Application forms. The Secretary concerned shall provide application forms to servicemembers requesting relief under this title.

(c) Information from Secretary of the Interior. The Secretary of the Interior shall furnish to the Secretary concerned information explaining the provisions of this title (other than sections 501, 510, and 511 [50 U.S.C. App. §§561, 570 and 571]) and related application forms.

§ 568. Land rights of servicemembers [Sec. 508]

(a) No age limitations. Any servicemember under the age of 21 in military service shall be entitled to the same rights under the laws relating to lands owned or controlled by the United States, including mining and mineral leasing laws, as those servicemembers who are 21 years of age.

(b) Residency requirement. Any requirement related to the establishment of a residence within a limited time shall be suspended as to entry by a servicemember or the spouse of such servicemember12 in military service until 180 days after termination of or release from military service.

(c) Entry applications. Applications for entry may be verified before a person authorized to administer oaths under section 1044a of title 10, United States Code, or under the laws of the State where the land is situated.

§ 569. Regulations [Sec. 509]

The Secretary of the Interior may issue regulations necessary to carry out this title [50 U.S.C. §§561 – 571] (other than sections 501, 510, and 511 [50 U.S.C. App. §§561, 570 and 571]).

§ 570. Income taxes [Sec. 510]

(a) Deferral of tax. Upon notice to the Internal Revenue Service or the tax authority of a State or a political subdivision of a State, the collection of income tax on the income of a servicemember falling due before or during military service shall be deferred for a period not more than 180 days after termination of or release from military service, if a servicemember’s ability to pay such income tax is materially affected by military service.

(b)Accrual of interest or penalty. No interest or penalty shall accrue for the period of deferment by reason of nonpayment on any amount of tax deferred under this section.

(c) Statute of limitations. The running of a statute of limitations against the collection of tax deferred under this section, by seizure or otherwise, shall be suspended for the period of military service of the servicemember and for an additional period of 270 days thereafter.

(d)Application limitation. This section shall not apply to the tax imposed on employees by section 3101 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 [26 U.S.C. §3101].

§ 571. Residence for tax purposes13[Sec. 511]
(a) Residence or domicile.

(1) In general. A servicemember shall neither lose nor acquire a residence or domicile for purposes of taxation with respect to the person, personal property, or income of the servicemember by reason of being absent or present in any tax jurisdiction of the United States solely in compliance with military orders.

(2) Spouses. A spouse of a servicemember shall neither lose nor acquire a residence or domicile for purposes of taxation with respect to the person, personal property, or income of the spouse by reason of being absent or present in any tax jurisdiction of the United States solely to be with the servicemember in compliance with the servicemember’s military orders if the residence or domicile, as the cse may be, is the same for the servicemember and the spouse.

(b) Military service compensation. Compensation of a servicemember for military service shall not be deemed to be income for services performed or from sources within a tax jurisdiction of the United States if the servicemember is not a resident or domiciliary of the jurisdiction in which the servicemember is serving in compliance with military orders.

(c) Income of a military spouse. Income for services performed by the spouse of a servicemember shall not be deemed to be income for services performed or from sources within a tax jurisdiction of the United States if the spouse is not a resident or domiciliary of the jurisdiction in which the income is earned because the spouse is in the jurisdiction solely to be with the servicemember serving in compliance with military orders.

(d) Personal property.

(1)Relief from personal property taxes. The personal property of a servicemember or the spouse of a servicemember shall not be deemed to be located or present in, or to have a situs for taxation in, the tax jurisdiction in which the servicemember is serving in compliance with military orders.

(2)Exception for property within member’s domicile or residence. This subsection applies to personal property or its use within any tax jurisdiction other than the servicemember’s or the spouse’s domicile or residence.

(3)Exception for property used in trade or business. This section does not prevent taxation by a tax jurisdiction with respect to personal property used in or arising from a trade or business, if it has jurisdiction.

(4)Relationship to law of State of domicile. Eligibility for relief from personal property taxes under this subsection is not contingent on whether or not such taxes are paid to the State of domicile.

(e) Increase of tax liability. A tax jurisdiction may not use the military compensation of a nonresident servicemember to increase the tax liability imposed on other income earned by the nonresident servicemember or spouse subject to tax by the jurisdiction.

(f) Federal Indian reservations. An Indian servicemember whose legal residence or domicile is a Federal Indian reservation shall be taxed by the laws applicable to Federal Indian reservations and not the State where the reservation is located.

(g) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1)  Personal property. The term “personal property” means intangible and tangible property (including motor vehicles).

(2)  Taxation. The term “taxation” includes licenses, fees, or excises imposed with respect to motor vehicles and their use, if the license, fee, or excise is paid by the servicemember in the servicemember’s State of domicile or residence.

(3)  Tax jurisdiction. The term “tax jurisdiction” means a State or a political subdivision of a State.

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12 P.L. 111-97 added the phrase “or the spouse of such servicemember”.

13 This section was amended by P.L. 111-97, effective November 11, 2009, by adding subsections (a)(2), (c) and (d), which result in the inclusion of the spouses of servicemembers within the protection of this section.