Published May 03, 2016
A bill making its way through the Senate looks to offer a tax credit to military spouses who renew or transfer a professional license after an interstate military move.
The legislation, introduced in late January, would give qualifying spouses up to $500 in tax credit after a permanent change of station (PCS) move.
"Military spouses deserve the opportunity to seamlessly transition employment and continue working in their licensed career fields when moving across state line," said Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill. "The Military Spouse Job Continuity Act reduces military families' financial burdens due to relocation by offering a tax credit to military spouses who must renew or transfer professional licenses."
Many states offer various kinds of reciprocity for out of state professional licenses and certificates held by military spouses. But no states offer a tax credit or fee discount that they know of said Brooke Goldberg, deputy director of government relations for the National Military Family Association.
Military spouses spend on average $280 to renew or transfer a professional license after a PCS, according to a 2014 spouse employment report by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). And while a $500 tax credit won't cover the total cost of all professional licenses, advocates said, it will ease the financial burden.
"The tax credit is an important step in relieving some of the pressure on military spouses who are in between jobs because of a PCS," Goldberg said.
Thirty-five percent of employed military spouses need professional licenses or certificates for their occupation, according to the MOAA report.
Similar bills have been offered every year since at least 2009, Goldberg said. But this year is the first time she has seen the bill gain any traction on Capitol Hill. Both Goldberg and Karen Golden, a deputy director for government relations at the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) are optimistic that the bill may this round actually go to a vote.
"This is an acknowledgement that you're moving because the government has ordered your service member moved, and we want you to continue to work in your profession if you're a licensed professional," Golden said. "That is good for that state and it's good for the federal government because you're contributing to the tax base."
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at Amy.Bushatz@military.com.