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Military spouses afforded voting, tax relief through MSRRA

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Military Spouse Residency Relief Act provides residency, voting and income tax protection to military spouses when accompanying their spouse at the member’s duty station.

When a service member leaves his or her home state with their spouse on military orders, the spouse may retain residency in the home state for voting and tax purposes.

Eligibility factors include the following:

The service member is legally married to the spouse and in the state on military orders.

Currently reside in a state different from the state of his or her domicile.

The service member’s spouse resides in the state solely in order to live with the service member.

The service member is present in the state that complies with his or her military orders. 

A military spouse does not lose his or her status if a service member travels to a location where the military spouse is not able to follow. The military treats this as a “travel” or a “temporary duty” situation.

Benefits to the Military Spouse Act Include:

Military spouse income earned cannot be taxed unless the spouse establishes residency in that state. (Note: This does not mean the spouse’s state of legal residence cannot tax on income earned.)

The act provides flexibility for military spouses to opt for residency in a state with no income tax as long as they moved there because of military orders.

The military spouse and service member may be able to keep the same resident state regardless of which state they live in.

Military spouses no longer have to file multiple part-year and nonresident income tax returns when they earn wages.

A military spouse may register to vote within the state they reside on military orders or legal state of residency.

A military spouse is exempt from personal property taxes such as vehicle registration fees imposed by states and local jurisdictions if the spouse’s legal residence is not in the state where he or she is based due to military orders. Nonresident military spouses may need to file an exemption to the state in order to qualify.

For further information, contact the local legal office.