California Military Filing Information
Should I file a Resident or Nonresident Return?
Military personnel (Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, Merchant Marine, and Coast Guard) who were residents of California upon entering military service remain residents of California for income tax purposes. Regardless of the period of absence or where you are stationed, if you were a resident of California when you entered the military, you generally remain a resident of California for tax purposes. In most cases, you do not change your state of residency if the only reason you are no longer residing there is because of military orders.
Nonresidents of California: Nonresident military personnel merely having a duty station within California (whose legal residence is not California) are not required to file a California income tax return unless they have earned income from California sources other than military pay (example: you had a part-time job while you were living in California on military orders). If they have earned income in California other than military pay, they are required to file a nonresident return.
Military Couples: A spouse who is not in the military generally has the same domicile as the military spouse unless proven otherwise. Because of this, if you are filing Married Filing Jointly, you would file a Resident return for the state that the military member is a resident of. If the member of the military is a California resident, you would generally file a California Resident Married Filing Joint return. If the member of the military is a nonresident of California you would generally file an California Nonresident Married Filing Joint return. If you are filing Married Filing Separate returns, the military member would file a Married Filing Separate return for his or her resident state.
If the husband and wife are both in military service, each could be a resident of a different state under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act. You would need to contact your respective states to determine how to file.
Is my military income taxable?
Depending on your particular case, your income may or may not be taxable. For information on the taxability of your income, please visit the following link to the California website:
On pages 7 and 8 of the document, there are a variety of cases, depending on your filing status to help you determine whether your income is taxable or not. One of these cases will generally apply to your filing case.
How to report in TaxSlayer:
If you determine that you can exclude your military pay from your return, you can do so by selecting State Section from the Welcome Back screen of your account followed by Edit>>>Enter Myself>>>Begin (Subtractions from Income)>>>Begin (Active Duty Military Pay). Enter the amount of excludable income in the field for Eligible Military Income.
Other Helpful Information:
If you file a joint tax return for federal purposes, you may file separately for California if either spouse was:
- An active member of the United States armed forces or any auxiliary military branch.
- A nonresident for the entire taxable year who had no income from a California source.
Nonrefundable Renter's Credit Qualification -
Military personnel: California residents or part-year residents who paid rent for at least six months on their principal residence located in California and meet certain income requirements may claim this nonrefundable credit against their tax.
For more information on military filing refer to FTB Pub. 1032, Tax Information for Military Personnel: click here