Fort Detrick
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

Community Support Center, Room 227, 2nd Floor
1520 Freedman Drive
Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702
Phone: 301-619-2221
DSN: 343-2221

PCS Season Matters

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FROM COUNSEL - A Preventive Law Service of The Office of The Judge Advocate General Keeping You Informed On Personal Legal Affairs.

With PCS season fast approaching there are several matters with legal consequences to consider. Are you going to lease a house/apartment at your next duty station? What about buying/selling a house? Can you deduct moving expenses from your income taxes? What about changing your driver license or car registration? Is my spouse eligible for unemployment compensation if she leaves her job because of my military reassignment? Read on to learn more.

  1. Military termination clause for leases: Before you sign a lease at your next duty station, check it for a military "termination" clause suitable for your military community in case you need to end the lease before the full term. Among other things to review:
    • Does it cover lengthy deployments (e.g., Temporary Change of Station) situations?
    • Does it incorporate any state law provision?
    • How do military community members find out about it? Is it part of the Welcome packet?
    Check with the local housing or legal assistance office. Most Army legal offices have a "From Counsel: Renting an Apartment or Home Off Post?" available.
  2. If you are buying a home, these sites might have useful information:
  3. Tax planning & moving expenses: You may want to advise PCS'ers they can deduct the reasonable unreimbursed expenses incurred for:
    • Moving household goods and personal effects, including expenses for hauling a trailer, packing, crating, in-transit storage, and insurance.
    • Travel and lodging expenses from the old home to the new home, including automobile expenses (either actual expenses or 10 cents per mile) and air fare. No deductions are available for any expenses for meals, the cost of unnecessary side trips, or lavish and extravagant lodging. Only unreimbursed expenses incurred in actually moving from the former home to the new assignment are deductible. The expense of pre-move house-hunting trips are not deductible, nor is there a deduction for any expenses for moving services provided by the government, or that were reimbursed and not included in income. For more information see IRS Publication 3 - The Armed Forces Tax Guide External Link: Leaving Fort Detrick Website.
  4. MTMC site with Its Your Move [PDF] External Link: Leaving Fort Detrick Website, informative pamphlet online.
  5. Spouse unemployment benefits? Check Unemployment Compensation: A State-by-State Guide to the Laws as they Affect Military Spouses' Eligibility for Benefits Upon PCS-Related Job Loss External Link: Leaving Fort Detrick Website from Military Spouses' Career Network.
  6. Auto leasing - more and more military people are leasing cars. One useful Internet resource may help you decide if this is a good idea for you. We prepared a From Counsel: Leasing an Automobile? that you may want to read before you lease. Military personnel who lease a car should consider whether they will deploy or TCS during the lease period and plan for that contingency. Check you lease terms to see what happens.

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