As new spouses (or even experienced spouses *ahem*), we sometimes have no idea what our milspouse state of residence might actually be. Is it where we live? Is it where we’re registered to vote? Or, is it where I had my driver’s license issued? Could it be where I pay my taxes? Answer a few key questions, and we’ll pin down your state of residence.
Have You Moved Recently?
Moving comes with the territory of living the military lifestyle — we know; it also makes it difficult to figure out what your milspouse state of residence is. In the past, once you moved to a new state, you had a certain amount of time to establish residency (depending on each state’s laws).
But, with the addition of the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) to the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) in 2009, spouses do not have to change their state of residency to the state they are actually living in. You do, however, have to notify the previous state that you want to stay a resident of, that you are moving — especially if you want to vote there.
If you’d like to become a resident of the state you just moved to, you will need to do a few things. You will need to get a new driver’s license. You may need to register your vehicles there. And, you will most definitely have to register to vote in your new state.
Where Do You Pay State Income Taxes?
This question can sometimes be a little tricky because if you live and work in some states, you may have taxes taken out of your paycheck. In Virginia, though, you can file an exemption if you are not a Virginia resident in order to not have to pay the commonwealth’s taxes. MilSpouse state of residence depends on where you file your yearly state income taxes. For example, New Mexico and Idaho residents have to claim the money they earned in that state every year. If you are a resident of those states, but didn’t earn anything there, you still have to file a return. However, you most likely won’t owe anything if you don’t live there. States like Florida and Texas do not have state income taxes. So you can’t always rely on income taxes to help you figure out your state of residence.
Have You Gotten a New Driver’s License?
If you have already gotten a new driver’s license after moving, then congratulations! Your milspouse state of residence is now your new state. But if you did not get a new driver’s license, you are still a resident of the state that issued you that license — easy answer.
Photo Credits: Renee Slusser