Charleston Chapter – MOAA Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA


Recent News:
(Published in last 30 days)


Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Date Posted:04/21/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Beyond the Lens: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Date Posted:04/19/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
This group scores vets free tickets to sporting events, concerts, shows — even the Super Bowl

Date Posted:04/19/19
This Story Expires on: 08/31/19
PCS Checklists for Your Move

Date Posted:04/19/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
How to Decode Civilian Language for a Successful Transition

Date Posted:04/19/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
How to Compose a Handwritten, Post Interview Thank You Note

Date Posted:04/19/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Rx Refill

Date Posted:04/19/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Kohl’s Launches 'Military Mondays' 15% Off Deal for US Service Members, Veterans

Date Posted:04/17/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
Smooth your transition to a civilian career with professional certifications

Date Posted:04/17/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Military Times to launch first ever vet employment conference in NYC

Date Posted:04/16/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
Want to Run for Office? Now There's a Politics Boot Camp for Veterans

Date Posted:04/12/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Here are 12 big changes veterans caregivers will see in the next year

Date Posted:04/12/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
The new push for getting more women to sign up for VA benefits

Date Posted:04/12/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
CHAMPVA with Tricare, Affordable Care Act

Date Posted:04/12/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Military, Vets' Groups Want Scrutiny of Commissary Exchange Merger Proposal

Date Posted:04/11/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Financial Considerations for the MilSpouse Entrepreneur

Date Posted:04/11/19
This Story Expires on: 08/31/19
Cheap Lodging for Military Families

Date Posted:04/09/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
Tools for Building a Great Resume

Date Posted:04/05/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
VA to Roll Out Community Care Expansion Even If IT Systems Aren't Ready

Date Posted:04/05/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Veterans' Combat Trauma Is Often Passed Onto Their Children

Date Posted:04/04/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
DOD Seeking Survivors to Test Grief Support Apps

Date Posted:04/04/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Services Turn Focus to Warfighters as DHA Takes Over Military Hospitals

Date Posted:04/04/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Veterans education, employment programs could be shifted to a new transition focused VA office

Date Posted:04/03/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
How Military Members Can Cancel TV, Internet and Phone Contracts Without Fees

Date Posted:04/02/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
VA Offering New Diabetes Treatment

Date Posted:04/02/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
9 Military Discounts to Celebrate Month of the Military Child

Date Posted:04/01/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Vets in Congress Introduce Bill to Protect Gold Star Spouse Benefits

Date Posted:04/01/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Marines Will Soon Have to Belt Out the 'Marines' Hymn' When They Hear It

Date Posted:03/31/19
This Story Expires on: 10/30/19
A robot reading your resume? 10 tips for vets to beat job screening software

Date Posted:03/31/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
No delay for new veterans community care rules, despite concerns from advocates

Date Posted:03/31/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
'Military Update' Ends After 25 Years of Reporting for and About the Military'

Date Posted:03/27/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
VA to Drop Fight Against Blue Water Navy Veterans

Date Posted:03/27/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
VA to Announce Decision on New Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions

Date Posted:03/27/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
3 Soft Skills That Vets Have and Employers Want

Date Posted:03/27/19
This Story Expires on: 09/30/19
South Carolina State Veteran Benefits

Date Posted:03/26/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Arlington Changes Funeral Escort Eligibility Rules in Effort to Limit Burial Wait Time

Date Posted:03/25/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Armed Forces Retirement Home Accepting Applicants

Date Posted:03/24/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Retiree Newsletter

Date Posted:03/21/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Commissary Changes Coming? What the Budget Could Mean for Your Shopping Benefit

Date Posted:03/21/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Army Launches New App to Help Reservists Find Each Other

Date Posted:03/21/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
VA to Offer New Ketamine Based Nasal Spray for Depression

Date Posted:03/20/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
VA Receives $25 Million Donation to Provide Genetic Testing for Veterans

Date Posted:03/20/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Arthritis can hit troops and vets hard. Here’s how advocates want to respond.

Date Posted:03/19/19
This Story Expires on: 09/30/19
Here's All the Government Programs that Help Vets with Jobs and Benefits

Date Posted:03/19/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Military Discounts for Major League Baseball Games

Date Posted:03/14/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Here’s the breakdown of the Pentagon’s budget request

Date Posted:03/14/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Pentagon Budget Includes Plan to Reduce Military Medical Force

Date Posted:03/14/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
No more ‘luxury’ breast pumps for new moms under Tricare policy change

Date Posted:03/14/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Marine Corps Removes Tuition Assistance Restrictions

Date Posted:03/14/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
If your school needs a new veterans center, Uncle Sam might chip in

Date Posted:03/12/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Update to Goose Creek VA Lab Operations

Date Posted:03/12/19
This Story Expires on: 04/30/19
Don't Fall for These Tax Prep Scams

Date Posted:03/11/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
South Carolina State Veteran Benefits

Date Posted:03/11/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
This 2019 Scholarship Gives MilSpouses Free Financial Counselor Accreditation

Date Posted:03/11/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Pentagon Debuts Draft Tenant Bill of Rights for Troops on Eve of Major Hearing

Date Posted:03/11/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
You Joined the Military. Now, Uncle Sam Wants You to Join the Merchant Marine

Date Posted:03/08/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Veterans' health records coming to iPhone

March 22 Luncheon Meeting

Date Posted:03/07/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Veterans Receive Golden 'Tickets' Canceling Their Medical Debt

Date Posted:03/07/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Cheap Lodging for Military Families

Date Posted:03/07/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Retirees, Civilians, Want to Live in Base Housing? Yes, You Can!

Date Posted:03/07/19
This Story Expires on: 06/30/19
Will the VA Pay for Your Funeral? The Answer May Surprise You

Date Posted:02/19/19
This Story Expires on: 04/30/19
Task Force Backs Controversial Merger of Base Store Systems

Date Posted:02/19/19
This Story Expires on: 05/31/19
Transition A Mobile App for Military Transition Planning

Date Posted:02/17/19
This Story Expires on: 04/30/19
VA to Roll Out New Claims Appeals Process Next Week

Date Posted:02/13/19
This Story Expires on: 07/31/19
No experience? No problem! Vets can jump start careers in IT with this new, free program

Date Posted:02/12/19
This Story Expires on: 04/30/19
Apple will let military veterans access their health records on the iPhone

Date Posted:02/06/19
This Story Expires on: 04/28/19
6 Steps for Making It as a Career Minded Military Spouse

Date Posted:12/11/18
This Story Expires on: 04/30/19
Free and Discounted Tax Preparation for Military

Date Posted:11/21/18
This Story Expires on: 04/30/19
Transitioning to Civilian Life: Navigating the Financial ShiftNo matter why you're leaving the military, a big part of preparing for your civilian lif

Date Posted:05/05/18
This Story Expires on: 09/30/19
Take the VA's New RAMP to a Faster Appeal Decision

Military Star Card Questions & Answers

US Air Force Museum to Mark 75th Anniversary of Japan Raid

Breaking News   
Register for News Story Emails

Here's What the New Military Spouses Residency Rules Mean
Posted on: 02/03/19
This Story Expires on: 04/16/19




You might have heard of a military spouses residency relief act, a rule rumored to help military spouses. But what is it and what does it mean and what does it do? Does it even exist? And how could it help you? Thanks to an attorney and tax expert, we have the answers.

Little in military spouse life is more confusing than trying to figure out where, exactly, you're from. More than just a conversation starter, the answer can dictate a world of decisions, including where to register your car, where to vote in elections and, perhaps most importantly, where to file state taxes.

That's where lawmakers come in. A federal law, the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act, is meant to make answering the residency and tax question easier. Instead it is famously often a cause of widespread confusion.

A 2019 update to the rule aims to fix that problem.

What are the military spouse residency relief rules and what does the new update mean? We linked up with tax attorney and military spouse Candice McPhillips, who runs her own virtual law firm, to help us figure it out.

A quick warning before we dial down. If you have a residency or tax question, make sure you consult an attorney or accountant who can give legal or tax advice based on your individual situation.

The difference between 'residence' and 'domicile'

Before anything else, McPhillips said, military spouses need to understand the definitions of a few legal and military terms.

A domicile, she said, is a legal term that can best be described as meaning, simply, "home." Under the concept on which the state tax system is based, each person can only have one domicile at a time, she said. Your domicile could be where you own property, have your car registered, have a driver's license, are registered to vote, or a variety of other official transactions that tie you to a specific place. A domicile is changed when you establish those official connections in a new location.

A residency, on the other hand, is simply the place you live, or the address you are currently using. A military spouse may be domiciled in Virginia, for example, because that's where all her legal paperwork originates, but physically live in North Carolina. Residency changes based on where you are physically living, she said.

And then there's the "home of record." A term used by the Department of Defense for service members, the home of record is the location where he or she lived when joining the military. It is used for determining some military entitlements, including final permanent change of station (PCS) allowances. A home of record is typically only allowed to be changed if there was an error on the original paperwork at the time of accession.

What is the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act?

The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA), as it was first passed in 2009, allowed military spouses to claim for tax purposes the same state of domicile as their service member, as long as they had established domicile there, too.

That meant, for example, that a military spouse who earned income in North Carolina, but who had established domicile with her spouse in Virginia, would be subject to Virginia's income tax laws instead of North Carolina's.

The law was meant to simplify family tax filing by giving spouses and their service members the ability to file state taxes with only one state.

But it also sparked a lot of confusion, McPhillips said, in part because of questions around the differences between "domicile" and "residence," and in part because each state also has its own rules and forms for filing taxes.

The rule also excluded a lot of couples. Not all military spouses have established domicile in the same place as their service member. That means that many families were still forced to file with multiple states despite the provision meant to assist them.

Updates to the law give spouses more choices

Now we get to the new stuff. Thanks to an update to the law, military spouses can choose to file state tax returns in their service member's home state whether they have ever lived there or not.

Beginning with the 2018 tax year, military spouses can file taxes in the same state as their service member -- claiming the same domicile -- without ever having set foot in the state, McPhillips said. Alternatively, they can also choose to file in the state in which they have established their own domicile, she said.

Simple put: the new law, which also updated other service member protections, gives more options.

That change, she said, could greatly simplify life for many military spouses who want to deal with just one set of state tax forms for their family. It could also result in spouses paying lower taxes if the state where their service member is domiciled has lower tax rates or laws that are friendly to service members living out of state.

What the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act changes don't mean

First, as has always been the case, the MSRRA does not permit military spouses or their service members to arbitrarily pick for tax purposes a convenient state in which they have never established a connection, McPhillips said.

That means that, while it can be tempting to proclaim as your domicile a state without an income tax filing requirement, such as Florida, doing so without establishing real connections there could land you in hot water later.

And those earning income while stationed overseas cannot use the protections of the MSRRA to avoid paying state taxes. The state of residency back home will be looking to collect taxes on that income, she said.

Implementing the rules might be sticky

McPhillips warned that it might take awhile for states, tax software and employers to up to speed on the MSSRA changes -- and things can be especially tricky for the 2018 tax year.

Although spouses could potentially get back thousands of dollars if they paid taxes to one state in 2018, but now plan to claim domicile in another, thanks to the change, getting the state to send back their money could get really complicated.

"In short, that scenario is not for the faint of heart," she said.

A spouse would likely need to file a nonresident return in the state in which they paid taxes to claim a refund. They would also need to file a return in their newly claimed state -- and potentially make a payment.

If the states have different deadlines, the spouse might need to pay taxes in one state while waiting on the return from the other, only to find that they have to pay income taxes later on the returned amount. And if the state or tax software a spouse is using hasn't updated its forms to reflect the new law, things could get even more tricky.

And then there's the problem with employers and payroll departments, she said. Since most employment paperwork forms do not include the option to identify a domicile state in addition to the physical residence address, spouses need to work closely with their human resources departments to make sure they are meeting appropriate state requirements.

For now, McPhillips said, the best course of action is to combine patience with your own expertise, and obtain copies of the new law.

"You may literally have to explain to them, 'here's what it says, yes it is a real thing, here's the form,' " she said.

By Amy Bushatz



Return to News Stories
Charleston Chapter – MOAA
Charleston Chapter – MOAA

· Copyright ©2019 Charleston Chapter – MOAA P.O. Box 70421 Charleston SC 29415 ·
· Contact Charleston Chapter – MOAA · Editorial and Privacy Policy · Webmaster · Browser and Email Settings ·
· Website by VetVentures.org · VetVentures.org Disclaimer ·
V.8


SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS