Step-By-Step Guide to Filing Taxes After Moving to Another State

Did you just move states? You may need to file two state tax returns. Here’s what you need to know.

This post is provided for general information only. Please confirm the details and circumstances of your unique situation with your tax accountant or other appropriate advisor before taking action.

What state do you file taxes in when you move?

You will generally file taxes in both states when you move. That’s because you had income in both states.

The main exception would be if you moved right around the new year. In that case, you might not have been in one of the states for the minimum number of days in the year to owe that state’s income tax.

Another exception might be if you were retired or not working in one of the states. For example, if you worked in California for the first half of the year, then retired and moved to Arizona, you might not have to file an Arizona income tax return.

Do you have to pay two state income taxes?

If you earned income in both states, there’s a good chance you may owe income tax to both states. That doesn’t mean you’ll be paying double tax.

Let’s say you moved in the middle of the year and had the same income as the year before. You’ll pay about half of your prior year’s taxes to the old state. The new state will get the other half of your taxes.

The rules vary based on the state exactly how your income is divided between states. Some states take your total income and divide it by the number of days you lived in each state. Others look at the actual pay that you earned while living in each state.

What do you pay if you’re moving to a state with no income tax?

If you’re moving to a state with no income tax, you’ll usually divide up your income just like if both states have an income tax. You’ll pay state income taxes based on your income that counts for your old state and no income taxes on the income that counts for your new state.

How can you file multiple state tax returns?

Filing multiple state tax returns is actually pretty easy if you use tax software. The first step is completing your federal income tax return as normal.

When you get to the state tax return portion, the software will ask you if you moved during the year, to which state, and when. It will then ask you any questions specific to each state.

Finally, it will automatically apply the partial year resident rules to figure out how much tax you owe each state.

Do you have to pay extra to file multiple state tax returns?

Whether you have to pay extra to file multiple state tax returns depends on your tax software. Many providers do charge separate fees for each state tax return.

If you qualify for the IRS Free File program, you may be eligible for a similar program in your state.

  • States with free filing programs with similar requirements to the IRS include Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
  • Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming have no income taxes, so you won’t need to file a state tax return there.
  • New Hampshire only has income taxes on interest and dividends. You won’t need to file an income tax return in New Hampshire unless you have $2,400 ($4,800 for joint filers) worth of taxable interest or dividends. This tax will be repealed starting in 2027.

Can you still get a state tax refund?

Your state tax refund is based on how much you had withheld in each state compared to your final tax liability for that state. Be sure to provide current direct deposit or mailing information when you file.

How do you change state residency for taxes?

If you only have one home, changing state residency for taxes is pretty easy.

You generally don’t need to do anything extra before filing your tax return at the end of the year. You just declare the move on your tax return.

If you’re swapping your primary and secondary residence, things can get more complicated. States want to know you’re actually changing your primary residence and not just doing so on paper to lower your taxes. You don’t necessarily need to do anything, but they may take a closer look to make sure you actually moved and aren’t trying to evade taxes.

When you move, change your driver’s license, car registration, voter registration, mailing address with your bank, and similar things as soon as possible. This demonstrates your intent to change your primary residence.

What is a state tax residency audit?

After you move, states may check your residency status with a residency audit. States are trying to avoid situations like New Yorkers using their Florida vacation home to avoid taxes.

The states with the highest income taxes, such as California and New York, are usually the most aggressive about auditing people who say they moved out of state.

A basic residency audit looks at things like whether you updated your driver’s license, where your bank statements go, and your utility bills. If the state suspects fraud, they may dig into your social media history, look at records of where you used your cellphone, or take other steps to make sure you were actually living where you said you were.

Does anything change on your federal tax return?

If you’ve moved to another state, you still file a federal tax return and pay federal taxes as normal. You don’t report the move other than that you’re entering a new address.

There is no longer a moving deduction except for certain qualifying active-duty military members.

If you paid state income taxes in either your old or new state, you can claim those taxes as an itemized deduction.

IRS Change of Address

You will need to change your address with the IRS. Use Form 8822.

While the IRS will update your address when you file your tax return next year, you don’t want to miss any important notices they may send before then.

If you moved your business, such as your S-corporation, use Form 8822-B for your business.

Don’t forget property taxes.

If you’re buying a home in your new state, it’s important to look up the property tax rules.

The deadline to pay property taxes may be different than your old state. In some states, like Rhode Island, the deadlines can even change from city to city.

State Property Tax Information:

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