Life in the Armed Forces can be hectic, confusing, and exhausting. What’s more confusing and stressful than learning the acronyms of a military spouse’s new command or navigating around a military installation? The tax laws that come with being married to the Armed Forces.
As a means to help service members and their spouses face less anxiety about which state to file their taxes in, in 2009 lawmakers passed the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act, or the MSRRA. The MSRRA allows a military spouse to file taxes in the state of his or her domiciled service member, under the condition that the spouse must also be domiciled with the service member in that state. This can have a big impact if the service member is domiciled in a state without an income tax.
While it seems like an easy answer, come tax season, it’s much more complicated than simply filing in the state that you’re stationed in. There’s a difference between being domiciled in a state and being a resident of a state. Being domiciled in a state could mean you own real property there, or you might have obtained a driver’s license or registered to vote in that state. However, residency is simply a place that is the “home of record”- the address known to be used by the Department of Defense as well as the IRS.
As of 2018, lawmakers amended the law so that a spouse who was living separately from the service member and retaining a domicile life outside of the duty station state could in fact file taxes in the service member’s state, only if the duty station state was at a lower tax income rate, thereby adjusting income taxes to benefit the costs of separation.
MSRRA, though having been in put into action nearly ten years ago, is still undergoing revisions to adhere to the newest tax laws. Should you find yourself questioning tax laws when it comes to being associated with the Armed Forces, Law Offices of Christy Lee, P.C. is just a phone call away!