SpouseBuzz

Uncle Sam Could Credit You $500 After a PCS

Are you a military spouse with a career that requires a professional license? Your life could be about to get $500 better.

So you moved across the country -- again. You managed to check all the boxes for your career at the last duty station, get a good job and build your resume. And now it feels like you're back to square one. Your job requires a professional license and every time you move you have to figure out how getting it works in your state ... not to mention what kind of cash you are going to fork over to make it happen.

Professionals like this nurse must transfer or renew their license after every move to a new state. Soon a tax credit could help ease the financial burden. (Photo: U.S. Air Force) Read more here: http://wp.me/p1d7d0-8lH

Insult to injury? You're out of work and you probably just spent a bunch of money moving. And now you have to spend even more so that, eventually, you can have a job again.

If this is you, your plight hasn't gone unnoticed by at least a few people. A handful lawmakers and the associations that help spouses (like the Military Officers Association of American - MOAA - and the National Military Family Association - NMFA)  have been trying to push through legislation since at least 2009 that would give you a tax break of up to $500 if you pay out of pocket to renew or transfer a license after a PCS.

This year it's finally looking like the idea might actually have some traction and get pushed into law. That wasn't the case the last few times it was proposed.

You can read more about the proposal in my Military.com story. 

Maybe you're thinking "$500? That just scratches the surface of my overall cost." If you're taking a lot of new courses due to requirements in your new state, that could be true. Or if your profession has a very expensive license (the bar exam springs to mind) that might seem like pennies.

The number, however,  isn't arbitrary. Officials told me that there are a few reasons it was chosen.

First, by capping it at $500 they feel like the bill might actually be something a Congress fearful of spending money or giving tax breaks might actually pass. Experts have estimated it would cost the government about $10 million over 10 years -- chump change.

Next, officials with MOAA and NMFA said, the proposed credit cap represents more than what spouses have said is the average cost of their licenses -- $280, according to a 2013 MOAA report on spouse employment. Some are more, some are less.

Since over 50 percent of spouses who took that survey said they work in a field that requires a license, and 72 percent of those said that getting their license renewed or transferred after a PCS is necessary, a tax credit for doing so could be very helpful to a lot of people.

What do you think about the $500 cap? Would it be enough for you? Tell us in the comments.

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