Oftentimes, military spouses are required to suddenly move to other states or regions. These moves come with many challenges that fall onto the spouse. The Military Spouse Residency Relief Act is the government’s answer to some of these challenges. It is the first amendment to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act which essentially allows the spouse of a service member to remain a legal resident of a state and pay income taxes to that state after they are sent to a different state through the military.
How does the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act work?
The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act has one main purpose in allowing a military spouse to remain in the same residence as their spouse for income tax purposes. Before this was enacted, only the service member could maintain legal residence of the state in which they were leaving. This led to many complicated filings and forms couples would have to fill out, with often each individual filing taxes for different states. The Military Spouses Residency Relief sorts this issue out and allows both individuals to file for the same state.
There are certain eligibility factors that must be met for this Act to take effect. The first is that the spouse is living in a state that is separate from their prior residency state. The second factor is that the only reason the spouse is in the new state is to be with the service member. The final eligibility factor is that the service member must be in the new state because they were moved there by and for the military.
Common misconceptions surrounding the MSRRA
There are many common misconceptions surrounding the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. For example, military spouses cannot claim residency in any state that they want. The residency they are trying to claim and pay taxes for must be established already (i.e. already living and filing in the state). In addition, the move they are making must be the result of orders from the military for the service member.
Get help today
If you think this law might affect you or your spouse, don’t hesitate to reach out to a military legal assistance office. These laws can often involve many moving factors, such as each individual state income taxes, state laws and interpretations, and other unique circumstances.