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Thread: Military Spouse Residency Relief Act ??s

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    Confused Military Spouse Residency Relief Act ??s

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    I "thought" the MSRRA gave military spouses protections from having to get a new driver's license with every move, just like the military member. I was reading through some different articles and have conflicting information. Can anyone give a brief overview of the license, registration etc protections?
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    #2
    The way it was explained to me at a briefing at the Pentagon was, the spouse can pick either the member's HOR/residency or the state they are currently stationed. A spouse cannot keep their residency if it is different than the member's residency or the state they are stationed.

    There are some states that do allow a spouse to maintain her residency while the member is active, but there aren't many (TX is one). If the spouse doesn't fall into any of those categories then they must change their license based on the state laws in which they currently domicile.
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    #3
    There are certain stipulations to that act. Not ALL military spouses are eligible for that portion of the MSSRA.

    I do know I do not qualify for that, since I and my husband do not share the same HOR. However, with having to get a new driver's license depends on the state you're currently residing in, IF the MSSRA does not apply to you.

    Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) (Public Law 111-97)
    1. Background. The MSRRA changes some basic rules of taxation with respect to military
    spouses who: 1) earn income from services performed in a State in which the spouse is present
    with their Service member (SM) pursuant to military orders and 2) that State is not the spouse's
    domicile (legal residence). Under these conditions, the military spouse generally will not have to
    pay income taxes to that State. Depending on the laws of the domiciliary State, the spouse may
    be required to pay income tax to the domiciliary State.

    2. GET HELP! The law is complicated and fact specific, and because its effect will depend on
    the interpretations of each of the States, SMs and their spouses are encouraged to seek free,
    confidential advice from a legal assistance office. Legal assistance offices can be found at
    Armed Forces Legal Assistance (AFLA) .

    3. Effective dates. The law is effective for tax year 2009 and may entitle eligible spouses for a
    refund on their 2009 taxes. It may, however, also require some spouses to file tax returns in their
    State of domicile for tax year 2009, when they might otherwise not have been required to do so.
    For 2010 and beyond, spouses should file new withholding forms with their employer,
    designating their appropriate domicile state. If the employer cannot withhold taxes for that state,
    the spouse will have to make estimated quarterly tax payments to that state.
    4. What is domicile (legal residence)? It is the place that one considers "home." It is the place
    where one has lived and formed the intent to remain for the indefinite future and return when
    temporarily absent. Examples of contacts with a particular State that help prove domicile
    include: where one votes, owns property, holds professional licenses, registers vehicles, holds a
    driver's license, accepts tax breaks for a declaration of homestead, or indicates where his or her
    last will and testament should be probated. A determination of domicile will be fact specific.
    No particular combination of these or other similar contacts will necessarily guarantee proof of
    domicile. SMs and spouses must look to State law. One may abandon an old domicile by
    forming the intent to create a new domicile and by establishing new contacts with the new
    domicile.

    5. How is this different from the current rules for Service members? The rules for spouses
    and SMs are very similar. Currently a SM would not pay State taxes on military pay and
    allowances earned in the State where the SM is assigned, provided the State of assignment is not
    the SM's domicile. However, accompanying spouses would generally have all income from
    services performed in the non-domiciliary States exempted from taxes. SMs are also responsible
    for complying with the tax laws of their domiciliary State. Note, that some States, like New
    Jersey and Pennsylvania, do not tax income of SMs domiciled there but who are assigned to
    some other State and earn their income in that other State. However, those rules would not apply
    to the spouse. Thus a spouse who was domiciled in New Jersey, but who was living in Virginia
    because of the SM's orders assigning him or her to Virginia and who earned income from services provided in Virginia would not have to pay taxes in Virginia but would owe taxes to
    New Jersey.

    6. Common misunderstandings and uncertainties.
    a. The MSRRA does not allow a spouse to pick or chose a domicile in any State.
    Domicile is established, not chosen. The spouse must have actually lived there, established it as
    his or her domicile, and maintained it as such by forming and maintaining the necessary contacts.
    Similarly, the MSRRA does not allow a spouse to “inherit” or assume the military member's
    domicile upon marriage.
    b. The MSRRA does not allow a spouse to recapture an abandoned domicile without
    physicablly returning to live in the previously abandoned State of domicile and reforming the
    appropriate intent and demonstrating it by forming new contacts.
    c. The MSRRA does not relieve the spouse from paying State income taxes on income
    other than for services performed in the non-domiciliary State. For example, income from the
    sale of real property or from rental property would likely be taxable in the State where the
    property was located, MSRRA notwithstanding. The spouse must also comply with the tax laws
    of the domiciliary State.
    d. It is not clear what the effect of the MSRRA will be when the spouse lives in the State
    where the SM is assigned, but works in another State. Likewise, it is not certain what the effect
    of the MSRRA will be when the spouse and SM live in a State other than the one to which the
    SM is assigned.
    e. It is not clear whether the spouse and SM must hold the same domicile to be exempt
    from taxes in the non-domiciliary State.
    f. The MSRRA does not affect whether a spouse must get a driver's license in the non-
    domiciliary State. That is entirely a function of State law and is not affected by the MSRRA.

    7. Other effects of the MSRRA.
    a. The MSRRA also exempts non-business personal property (most often automobiles)
    from taxation in the non-domiciliary State when the property is titled in the spouse’s name or
    jointly with the spouse and SM. As in the case of income tax, the spouse must be in the non-
    domiciliary State to accompany the military member on military orders.
    b. The MSRRA should make it easier for the spouse to vote in the domiciliary State by
    absentee ballot. Voting is a very important contact to help prove domicile.

    http://www.jag.navy.mil/organization...20Encl%202.pdf
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    #4
    The law is silent with respect to driver's licenses. Therefore, state law prevails.

    This is the complete language of the act.

    SEC. 2. GUARANTEE OF RESIDENCY FOR SPOUSES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL FOR VOTING PURPOSES.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 705 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 595) is amended—
    (1) by striking ‘‘For’’ and inserting the following: ‘‘(a) IN GENERAL.—For’’;
    (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection: ‘‘(b) SPOUSES.—For the purposes of voting for any Federal office (as defined in section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431)) or a State or local office, a person who is absent from a State because the person is accompanying the person’s spouse who is absent from that same State in compliance with military or naval orders shall not, solely by reason of that absence— ‘‘(1) be deemed to have lost a residence or domicile inthat State, without regard to whether or not the person intends to return to that State;
    ‘‘(2) be deemed to have acquired a residence or domicile in any other State; or
    ‘‘(3) be deemed to have become a resident in or a resident of any other State.’’; and
    (3) in the section heading, by inserting ‘‘AND SPOUSES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL’’ before the period at the end.
    (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT.—The table of contents in section1(b) of such Act (50 U.S.C. App. 501) is amended by striking the item relating to section 705 and inserting the following new item:‘‘Sec. 705. Guarantee of residency for military personnel and spouses of military personnel.’’.
    (c) APPLICATION.—Subsection (b) of section 705 of such Act 50 USC app. 595 (50 U.S.C. App. 595), as added by subsection (a) of this section, note. shall apply with respect to absences from States described in such subsection (b) on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, regardless of the date of the military or naval order concerned.

    SEC. 3. DETERMINATION FOR TAX PURPOSES OF RESIDENCE OF SPOUSES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 511 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 571) is amended—
    (1) in subsection (a)— (A) by striking ‘‘A servicemember’’ and inserting thefollowing: ‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—A servicemember’’; and (B) by adding at the end the following: ‘‘(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 service- member in compliance with the servicemember’s military orders if the residence or domicile, as the case may be, is the same for the servicemember and the spouse.’’;
    (2) by redesignating subsections (c), (d), (e), and (f) as subsections (d), (e), (f), and (g), respectively;
    (3) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new sub- section:
    ‘‘(c) INCOME OF A MILITARY SPOUSE.—Income for services per- formed 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.’’; and
    (4) in subsection (d), as redesignated by paragraph (2)— (A) in paragraph (1), by inserting ‘‘or the spouse of a servicemember’’ after ‘‘The personal property of a service-
    member’’; and (B) in paragraph (2), by inserting ‘‘or the spouse’s’’ after ‘‘servicemember’s’’. (b) APPLICATION.—Subsections (a)(2) and (c) of section 511 of such Act (50 U.S.C. App. 571), as added by subsection (a) of this section, and the amendments made to such section 511 by sub- section (a)(4) of this section, shall apply with respect to any return of State or local income tax filed for any taxable year beginning with the taxable year that includes the date of the enactment of this Act.

    SEC. 4. SUSPENSION OF LAND RIGHTS RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR SPOUSES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL.
    (a) IN GENERAL.—Section 508 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 568) is amended in subsection (b) by inserting ‘‘or the spouse of such servicemember’’ after ‘‘a service- member in military service’’.
    (b) APPLICATION.—The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to servicemembers in military service (as defined in section 101 of such Act (50 U.S.C. App. 511)) on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
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    #5
    DL are excluded and spouses must follow the laws based on the state the reside in
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    #6
    So, we will be moving from State A to State B, where we will be living for 6 to 9 months, after which we will be moving to State C. Am I REALLY expected to have three different DLs in one year? Each move will be a PCS.
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly519 View Post
    So, we will be moving from State A to State B, where we will be living for 6 to 9 months, after which we will be moving to State C. Am I REALLY expected to have three different DLs in one year? Each move will be a PCS.
    Yep! Annoying, but its the rules.
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    #8
    Dont have any advice, but i was wondering the same thing...and was after reading this have a question...what is HOR?
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    #9
    I may spend a lot of time "visiting" my husband from Alaska...


    HOR=Home of Record
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly519 View Post
    So, we will be moving from State A to State B, where we will be living for 6 to 9 months, after which we will be moving to State C. Am I REALLY expected to have three different DLs in one year? Each move will be a PCS.
    It will depend on what the state law is in states A, B and C.
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