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Wittman bill would allow same state of residency for military member and spouse

Congressmen Rob Wittman (VA-01) and Darrell Issa (CA-49) have introduced legislation to allow military families to establish one consistent state of residency.

Under current law, active duty service members are able to maintain one state of legal residency for tax purposes even when they move on military orders. Spouses may be granted the same benefit, but only if both service member and spouse have the same tax residence at the time of their marriage. This causes complications when service members move, sometimes multiple times a year, because spouses are forced to establish residency in each new location.

The Military Residency Choice Act will allow military spouses, if they so choose, to establish the same state of residency as the service member, so that for any future moves, they will retain the same state for tax and voting purposes.

“The last thing our military families need is additional stress during tax season,” Rep. Wittman was quoted as saying in a press release. “Allowing military families to establish a consistent state of residency will give spouses the confidence to rejoin the workforce when they move and help them better provide for their families. Our nation’s military is only as strong as the men and women serving and the families who support them. Passing this simple residency fix will send a strong signal to our military families that we have their best interests at heart.”

Despite many military families relying on two incomes, the task of keeping track of multiple tax jurisdictions can be daunting for military spouses, causing some to forego working altogether. According to a recent report, military spouse unemployment could cost the U.S. $1 billion a year due to the loss of federal income tax, the costs of unemployment benefits, and the costs of health care issues related to unemployment.

Wittman’s district includes part of Prince William County.

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