Tax Rules and Rulings Specifically Applicable to Members Of Congress Page: 4 of 19
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Tax Rules and Rulings Specifically
Applicable to Members Of Congress
This report examines provisions of federal law, and interpretations thereof,
which provide tax rules with specific applicability to Members of Congress. These
include rules applicable only to Members and rules that, while generally applicable,
apply in some specific way to Members.
Immunity From State and Local Taxes
The Rule: A Member of Congress does not have to pay income taxes to any of the
State or local jurisdictions in the D.C. metropolitan area, unless such Member
represents such State or a district in such State.'
Explanation: A provision of federal law (not part of the Internal Revenue Code
(IRC)) provides that no State (or any political subdivision thereof, such as a county)
in which a Member of Congress "maintains a place of abode for purposes of
attending sessions of Congress" is permitted, for purposes of any income tax imposed
by the State (or political subdivision), to treat that Member as a resident or
domiciliary of the State (or political subdivision) or to treat any compensation paid
by the United States to that Member as income subject to any such income tax. This
provision does not grant immunity to a Member who represents such State or a
district in such State. For purposes of this rule, the term "State" is specially defined
to include the District of Columbia.2 Consequently, a Member of Congress does not
have to pay any income tax imposed by any of the jurisdictions that constitute the
greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area unless the Member represents that
jurisdiction or the State or congressional district imposing the tax.
This tax exemption does not extend to a Member's spouse or dependents who
earn income in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. This fact might necessitate
a Member and spouse filing separate state returns even though they had filed a joint
1 4 U.S.C. 113(a).
2 4 U.S.C. 113(b)(2).
3 See, D.C. Code Ann. 47-1805.01, Md. Code Ann., Tax-Gen 10-807, and 58.1 Va. Code
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Tax Rules and Rulings Specifically Applicable to Members Of Congress, report, October 1, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc810637/m1/4/: accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.