Seriously, what Military Spouse normally gives two seconds of thought to the Defense Authorization Bill? Well..this year we may all want to pay a bit more attention. Sen Richard Burr (R-NC) has sponsored the Spouse Residency Provision under legislation approved July 23 by the Senate. This could have multiple benefits for all military spouses in everything from driver's license renewal, property ownership, voting rights, property privileges and income and property tax!
Moving from state to state often means a great deal of paperwork, hassles and shifting of residency issues for military spouses, from which our military spouses are exempt. This proposal could but us on equal footing.
On taxes: We would not lose or gain residency in a state as a result of a military-ordered move. We could pay income tax in another state, which is a huge benefit if the chosen state of residence has low or no state income tax! It also applies to personal property. The law would apply to the tax returns beginning in the year the bill becomes law - which means that, if this passes, it would apply to 2009 taxes being filed in 2010!
On driver's licenses: We could keep and renew driver's licenses and vehicle registrations from a state we've previously lived. Oh, not to have to take the driver's test....AGAIN!
Unfortunately, the House version of the defense authorization bill doesn't include any military spouse residency provision...yet. On the hopeful side of things, the House Veteran's Affairs Committee has endorsed similar legislation in the past, so perhaps they would not be adverse to adding it to the defense bill.
We've all noticed the military members with 'out of state' plates. Those who've elected to chose residency in state's with no state income tax - Alaska, Florida, Nevada, Texas, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Nevada, Washington and Wyoming. It's how we know a military family is moving into our neighborhood! This bill gives spouses the same rights and privileges under law to chose residency. Burr's provision reaffirms that spouses who move on military orders deserve the same treatment. We'll keep an eye on this and see if the provision is included in the Defense Bill....it gives us all a reason to follow the Bill this year!