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Last Updated: 12/10/2018

Residency of Nonmilitary Spouses

If your spouse is a military member and you live with them, you may qualify for relief under the federal Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA).

What is the federal Military Spouses Residency Relief Act (MSRRA)?

The federal MSRRA lets spouses remain legal residents of their home state if they temporarily move to another state to be with their active-duty military spouse. During this time, the spouse’s work-related income generally cannot be taxed in the state where they earned the income.

What if my spouse is stationed outside Minnesota and I live with them? 

If you and your spouse are both Minnesota residents and living in another state, your work-related income is not taxed by the other state under the federal MSRRA. You should ask your employer to either withhold Minnesota tax from your wages or not withhold the other state’s tax.

Your income and your spouse’s income is still subject to Minnesota tax. However, your spouse may subtract federally taxable active-duty military pay from Minnesota taxable income. For more information, see Military Pay Subtraction.

Do I need to file a Minnesota income tax return?

You (and your spouse if filing a joint return) must file a Minnesota return if you are required to file a federal return. You must use the same filing status on your Minnesota return – joint or separate – as on your federal return.

Note: You and your spouse may have to pay estimated tax to Minnesota if you expect to owe more than $500 after subtracting your Minnesota withholding and refundable credits. For more information, see Estimated Tax.

What if my spouse and I are not residents of the same state?

You remain residents of your states until one spouse takes steps to establish residency in the same state as the other.

If you move to the state your spouse is stationed in, you should contact the tax department of that state. Your work-related income may be exempt from that state’s tax.

What if my spouse is stationed in Minnesota and I live with them, but we are not Minnesota residents?

If your spouse is on active military duty and stationed in Minnesota, their military wages are not taxable in Minnesota. Also, your work-related income is not taxable in Minnesota if all of the following apply:

  • Your spouse is in Minnesota because of their military orders.
  • You are in Minnesota to be with your spouse and did not move here for any other reason.
  • You and your spouse are both legal residents of the same state (but not Minnesota).

Do I need to file a Minnesota income tax return?

You must file a Minnesota return if your Minnesota gross income (and your spouse’s if filing a joint return) is more than the minimum filing requirement ($10,650 for 2018). For more information, see Calculating Minnesota Gross Income. For a list of the types of income taxable to Minnesota, see How Nonresident Income is Taxed by Minnesota.

If your income taxable to Minnesota is less than the minimum filing requirement:

  • You should complete Form W-4MN with your employer to prevent or stop them from withholding Minnesota income tax from your wages.
  • To get a refund of Minnesota income tax withheld from your wages, you must file Form M1, Individual Income Tax, and include Schedule M1NR, Nonresidents/Part-Year Residents. Do not include your spouse’s military wages or your wages in Column B of Schedule M1NR. Use the same filing status – joint or separate – as on your federal return.