CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, December 6, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 5428, the Military Residency Choice Act, under suspension of the rules. H.R. 5428 was introduced on June 9, 2016, by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) and was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which ordered the bill reported by voice vote on September 21, 2016.
H.R. 5428 amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to permit the spouse of a servicemember to claim the same state of residence as the servicemember for taxation and voting purposes, even if the spouse has not previously lived in that state.
Congress has long recognized that active duty servicemembers should be granted certain legal protections during their years of military service. As a means to afford these protections, the U.S. government codified the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) into law in 1942. Among other protections, the SCRA allows servicemembers to maintain their original state of residence for taxation and voting purposes even if the servicemember is absent from that state due to the transient nature of active duty military service.
In 2009, Public Law 111-97 amended the SCRA to extend these same protections to spouses of active duty servicemembers who lived in the same State in which the servicemembers established residency prior to a permanent change of duty station. Therefore, spouses who marry a servicemember, after the servicemember has already been transferred from the original state where they established residence, cannot legally claim that same State as their place of residency. In other words, this discrepancy creates an unfair burden on military spouses who are forced to legally change his or her State of residence each time their servicemember spouse is transferred due to military requirements.
To mitigate this inconvenience, Section 2 of H.R. 5428 would amend section 511(a)(2) of the SCRA to allow each spouse of a servicemember to choose the same State of residence as the servicemember for taxation or voting purposes regardless of when or where the two individuals were married. According to Mr. Raymond C. Kelley, Director of the National Legislative Service of the Veterans of Foreigns Wars of the United States, “Protecting spouses of our military from losing residency in their home-of-record, while also allowing them to elect to have the same residency as their partner will greatly ease some of the stressors military families face.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that H.R. 5428 would have no effect on the federal budget and would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
For questions or further information please contact John Wilson with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-1811.