The Military Spouse Residency Relief Act (MSRRA) allows the civilian spouse of an active military service member to claim the same state of legal residence (SLR) as the service member while both live in another state. Spouses who qualify for the MSRRA can choose to have their wages taxed by their SLR, not the state in which they currently reside with the service member.
Civilian spouses claiming exemption under MSRRA may need to declare non-residency to their current resident state or submit a non-resident return. State laws vary; consult an accountant or other tax professional to determine the requirements.
Qualifying for the MSRRA
In order for the non-military spouse of a service member to qualify for the MSRRA:
- The service member must be stationed, in compliance with military orders, in a state (stationed state) that is not their claimed SLR.
- The service member's non-military spouse must reside in the same state as the service member (the stationed state) in order to live with that member.
- Both the service member and spouse have the same SLR.
Claiming State of Legal Residence
Civilian spouses must have established actual residence in their military spouse's SLR, and cannot just choose the service member’s state or “inherit” or “adopt” that state upon marriage. The civilian spouse must have lived in the SLR and prove residence, e.g., registering to vote, maintaining a driver's license, or any other residency requirement for that state.