Men and women retiring from a career in the military usually have been posted all over the country if not all over the world during their time in the armed forces. When looking for a place to settle in retirement, state laws on military retirement taxes can be a deciding factor. Georgia's tax laws on military retirement benefits and its veterans' programs make it an attractive choice.
Georgia Military Retirement Tax
As of July 2011, the Georgia Department of Revenue allows an exclusion of up to $14,500 of military retirement income for those aged 62 and up or their surviving spouse. Permanently and totally disabled individuals receiving military retirement benefits receive the exclusion without an age limitation, but benefits to the surviving spouse are fully taxable. Income to the military retiree from a nonmilitary source is fully taxable. The maximum state tax rate is 6 percent of all taxable income.
Disability Retired Military Pay
Along with the disability exemption, Georgia does not tax the Social Security benefits of any retired military personnel, or any benefits from the Veterans Administration. Unlike some states, Georgia does not permit married couples to submit separate state tax returns if filing a joint federal tax return, unless one spouse legally resides in Georgia and the other one does not.
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State Income Tax Abatement
Under Georgia law, members of the armed forces who die as a result of wounds, injuries or diseases incurred due to serving in a combat zone are exempt from any and all state income taxes for the year in which they died. Taxes also do not apply for a prior tax year that ends on or after the first day in which the person entered the combat zone in service.
State Veterans' Benefits
In addition to tax laws on military retirement pay, a state's veterans' benefits also come into play for career military personnel making residence decisions. All honorably-discharged veterans may receive free treatment at the Georgia War Veterans Home in Milledgeville, or nursing home care at Augusta's Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home. Retired military personnel looking to return to work receive a veteran's preference for state employment. Totally disabled veterans receive free lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, and may visit state parks and other state-run attractions at reduced rates.