When you and your family PCS to Scott Air Force Base, you may have several concerns about your state of residency, especially when it comes to your driver’s license and taxes. The following is some general advice on your options.
When spouses move with an active duty member, they no longer need to change their state residency or domicile thanks to the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act. Before the MSSRA, spouses needed to change their state of legal residence at each duty location. This affected several aspects of life, including taxes and voting registration.
If you are working while stationed in Illinois, you will need to provide your employer with a completed Form IL-W-5-NR, Employee’s Statement of Nonresidence in Illinois. Your state tax will be withheld for your state of residency, rather than the state of Illinois. Ask your employer how they prefer to change your state information.
During tax season, you can file taxes based on your state residency, but you also may need to file a return in Illinois. You are considered a nonresident of Illinois if you’re a resident of another state and are in Illinois only because of a military assignment, unless you change your domicile and establish residency.
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According to the Illinois Tax Publication 102, if you are a nonresident, you must file an Illinois return if you have earned enough taxable income from Illinois sources to have a tax liability (greater than your exemption allowance from Schedule NR). If you paid Illinois state taxes and you’re not a resident, you must file Form IL-1040 and Schedule NR and mark the Military Spouse box on Schedule NR to claim your refund.
A big concern of spouses is whether or not they need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new driver’s license. The MSRRA does not affect whether a spouse must get a driver’s license in the state of the duty location. This is a state decision. Illinois’ 2016 “Rules of the Road” states,“If you are on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, you, your spouse, and dependent children living with you may drive with a valid license from your home state.” In other words, if you have a valid driver’s license and you are stationed on Scott AFB, you do not need to get an Illinois state driver’s license.
You also have the option of voting for local or national elections. To do so, you will need to complete an absentee ballot. Contact your domicile state for more information or visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website for more information.
You do have the option of changing your domicile; however, please be aware of the rules and regulations. Most states have a residency requirement. While you are stationed on Scott AFB, you may have the option of becoming an Illinois resident.
Should you have more specific concerns about your domicile, taxes and voting, please come to the Legal office at 101 Heritage Drive (P3) Suite 210, Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-10 a.m.
Limited Legal Assistance
Due to low attorney manning and mission requirements, the Scott Air Force Base Legal Office will not offer walk-in legal assistance on Tuesdays or Thursdays and will not draft wills on Wednesdays for the two-week period of Oct. 17-28. Emergency service will be provided by calling the legal office at 618-256-3542. Clients may still walk in for customer service Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for powers of attorney and notary services.