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

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

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.

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 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 divided it by the number of days you lived in each state. Others look at your actual pay that you earned while living in each 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.

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 you file your tax return at the end of the year.

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.

When you move, states may check your residency status with a residency audit. 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.

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Have general questions about this post or want to learn more about a related topic? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Comments are public, and I can’t provide individual advice, but it helps me make the posts more useful for the future. Please do not post personal information. If you need personal assistance, please contact the relevant government agency or hire an appropriate professional near you.

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