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Proposed Military Residency Choice Act Benefits Mil Spouses

The Military Residency Choice Act

By Debbie Gregory.

The Military Residency Choice Act, introduced by San Diego Congressmen Darrell Issa and Rob Wittman, will ease the tax burden on military families by allowing them to establish one consistent state of residency.

Active duty service members have always been able to keep one state as their state of legal residency (usually their Home of Record) for tax purposes even when they move frequently on military orders. It gets complicated 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 said. “Allowing military families to establish a consistent state of residency will give spouses the confidence to re-join 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.”

Military spouse unemployment becomes very expensive when you take into consideration the loss of federal income tax, the costs of unemployment benefits, and the costs of health care issues related to unemployment.

“Military families sacrifice a great deal for us all,” Rep. Issa said. “They’re often transferred from place to place, uprooting their lives each time they receive a change of station orders. Each transition requires difficult adjustments as they adapt to new schools, new jobs, new churches and new communities. They shouldn’t be burdened yet again when tax season comes around. This bill is an easy update that will simplify tax season for military families by allowing spouses to claim the same residency as their service members. It’s a simple fix, but it will go a long way to make life easier for those who have already given so much.”

Don’t you think this is the least we can do for military spouses?

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Voting 101 for Military Members

Fvap

By Debbie Gregory.

November may seem like it’s a ways off, but election day will be here before you know it. The freedom to choose our leaders is an integral part of our democracy, the American way of life, and something those who wear our country’s uniform have always fought to defend.

If you are a new voter, have recently moved, or are deployed overseas, there are steps you can take to make sure your vote is counted.

One of the easiest ways to vote is by absentee ballot. Every installation or unit has a voting assistance officer (VAO), responsible for providing information and helping service members and their families get any materials they need in order to file an absentee ballot in state and federal elections. You can find out who your VAO is from your personnel administration office.

Voters must establish state residency. Each state has different requirements for establishing residency, and some states have no time requirement for residency. For states that do have a residency requirement, thirty days is the maximum length of time that a state can require you to live there before you can register to vote.

Establishing residency means that you have taken steps to indicate your intent to live in that state. If you’ve paid local taxes, registered a car, received a driver’s license, or voted in a state, you’ve probably proved that you’ve been physically present in that state and that you intend to return.

To assist active duty military members with the voting process, the Federal Voting Assistance Program further explains residency requirements, voting instructions, and deadlines for each state, whether you are voting within the U.S. or from another country.

Most states will only accept ballots by mail only. That means that overseas voters must get their ballots in the mail weeks before an election. Make sure you know the date of the election. You can visit the FVAP web site to learn the dates of your state’s primaries. The federal election occurs on the Tuesday immediately after the first Monday in November (this does not necessarily mean the “first Tuesday” in a month because the first day of a month can be a Tuesday). The earliest possible date is November 2, and the latest possible date is November 8, as it will be for the 2016 election.

In most cases, one application will register you to vote as well as to apply to receive a ballot. You can fill out the SF 76 Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) that you receive from your VAO, or the online version (OFPCA) that you download from the FVAP website.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.