Tax Residency Rules by State (2024)

Millions of Americans move from one state to another each year, whether it’s to take a new job, be closer to family, or lower their taxes. And with more employees working virtually, many of them now have fewer restrictions on where they can call home.

However, if you’ve moved to a new part of the country within the past few months, you’ll want to research the tax residency rules for both your new state and your old one as each state has its own tax code. Getting up to speed now can help you avoid big hassles and perhaps a higher tax bill down the road.

Key Takeaways

  • Your domicile is the state you regard as your home.
  • If you spend a substantial amount of your time in two states, keep good records so you can prove which is your domicile.
  • Most states will consider you a resident for tax purposes if you spend 183 days or more in that state.
  • If you permanently moved to another state during the year, you may have to file a part-year resident return in both states.

How to Determine State Residency

For income tax purposes, you’re the resident of a state if you meet either of the following conditions:

  • The state is your “domicile,” the place you envision as your home and where you intend to return after any absences.
  • Though domiciled elsewhere, you spent more than half the year in the state. and thus are considered a “statutory resident” under state law,

At any given time, you can only have one domicile. However, that doesn’t mean that another state can’t claim you as a resident for tax reasons. If you’re moving between states, establishing that new domicile as quickly as possible can help you avoid any confusion regarding which state or states you need to file a tax return for.

In a worst-case scenario, failure to establish your new primary residence can lead to paying taxes on your full income in both your new state and the previous one. According to the tax advisory firm Baker Tilly, more states have started to audit former residents who have changed their domicile, which makes it even more important to get things right.

How to Prove Residency

How do you establish your new domicile? States will look at your place of employment as well as the nature of your job—whether it’s permanent or temporary. Here are some steps you’ll want to take:

  • Update your mailing address with the postal service and have bills and financial statements sent directly to your new home.
  • Obtain a driver’s license in your new state.
  • Register to vote in your new state.
  • Close any accounts at local banks in your old state and open a new account in your new state.
  • Buy or rent a home in your new state and sell any residences in your former state.
  • Record how many days you spend in your new state versus your previous one.

Depending on where you live, state revenue departments can take a surprisingly deep dive into your personal and financial records, even looking at what church you belong to and whether you’ve seen a local doctor.

The more documentation you have of your presence in a new state, the harder it is for the previous state to claim you as a resident.

Moving to Another State

Seven states—Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming—don’t have a personal income tax. Residents in New Hampshire only have to pay tax on dividends and interest earnings, while residents in Washington state only have their capital gains income taxed if they are in a high enough bracket.

Still, in most states, you have to file a return if you earned income there—whether through wages or self-employment—or generated income from real property in the state.

Even when you establish a new domicile, you typically have to file a return in both states for the year during which you moved. You’ll want to look up how each state classifies full-year and part-year residents so you know which form to complete.

Some states classify you as a full-year resident if you lived there for at least 183 days, although others have different thresholds. Keeping a log of how many days you spent in each one can spare you toilsome investigative work later.

A state where you spent part of the year may require you to report income from all sources, just as you would if you were a full-year resident. When you calculate the tax, the amount decreases based on the amount of time you lived in that state. In other jurisdictions, you would figure out how much income you earned while living there prior to determining the tax.

If you move to a neighboring state but continue to work in your old state, be sure to research whether the two governments offer income tax reciprocity. This is a special arrangement between states in which you only pay taxes where you are domiciled as long as your work in the other state is your only source of income. Any earnings from other sources, such as rental income or lottery winnings, are generally not included.

Living and Working in Different States

What happens if you work in a different state than the one you call home? In most of the country, you’ll have to file a nonresident return in the state where your company is located. (If you’re an employee who receives a W-2, your employer probably withholds taxes throughout the year.) In all likelihood, you will also have to submit a resident tax return in the state in which you’re domiciled.

Fortunately, most states provide a credit to help offset taxes paid to another state. Unfortunately, not all do so, or the state may not extend that credit to investment income. Residents of New York who work elsewhere, for example, may find their interest and dividends taxed by two different states.

Things are much simpler for those who live in a state that grants income tax reciprocity to neighboring states. As long as your only income was from wages earned in a state with such an agreement, you only need to file a return in the state where you live.

Residents of Illinois, for instance, don’t have to pay tax on income earned in Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, or Wisconsin. They only need to file a return in their home state. If any of those states deducted income tax throughout the year and you lived in Illinois, you’d be eligible to claim a refund on that withholding.

Living in another state for a prolonged period can have tax consequences, so you have to be careful to file the appropriate returns in each state, if necessary.

The 183-Day and Convenience Rules

A state with a 183-day residency rule will consider you a full-year resident for tax purposes if you spent more than half the year there. Suppose your domicile is in California, but since you can work remotely you decided to live with your sister in Illinois beginning in April. Because you spent more than 183 days in California, you’re considered a dual resident.

Going forward, you can avoid that scenario by simply spending fewer than 183 days in your “temporary” state—Illinois, in our example—which could mean going back to your domicile for the required length of time or even spending a few weeks somewhere else altogether. Or, if you decide to stay in Illinois, you could set up a domicile there to avoid any claims California would have on your income.

How States Chase Wandering Workers

The increasing mobility of people who work remotely has some states acting aggressively to claim any income tax due from their wandering residents. You need to be vigilant about filing claims with the state or states in which you reside. Keep good records of where you spend your time so you can prove it if necessary.

Jurisdictions that have “convenience rules” pose a particular challenge for telecommuters.Six states—Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania—allow employers to withhold income tax even if the worker doesn’t live there. That may be a rude awakening for workers who move to a different state only to find that the state where their company is based is still withholding state taxes.

How Snowbirds Are Taxed

And what about so-called “snowbirds,” who leave their chilly states for sunnier weather, and sometimes lower tax rates, down south? If, for example, your permanent home is in New York and you fly down to Florida (a no-income-tax state) during the colder months, there’s a good chance New York will want to tax all your income for the year—not just what you earned within its borders.

To avoid that, you have to establish a domicile in the Sunshine State. That means voting, getting a driver’s license, and registering a car, just for a start. New York, known for its vigorous audits, is even likely to check that your home in Florida is of a comparable size to your home up north. You also have to spend at least 183 days of the year in Florida. If New York’s revenue agency comes after you, you’ll want to show receipts or any other documents that can back up your claim.

There are many traps, especially if you spend part of the year in a state with an aggressive taxation department. It might be worth your while to consult with a tax specialist if you’re planning to change your domicile while living part of the year in your old state. The last thing you want is to get it wrong and have unpaid tax bills accruing without your knowledge.

Can You Be a Resident of Two States?

Yes, you can. In fact, you can have several residences in multiple states. But you can have only one domicile, which is considered your permanent and primary residence, the one you intend to return to after an absence—say, for vacation or military assignment.

For tax purposes, you'll want to know and abide by the rules of each state where you have residences in order to avoid double taxation. You may want to consult a tax expert if you have houses in more than one state in order to secure the best tax outcome.

How Do You Establish Residency in Florida for Tax Purposes?

Many well-off people seek to establish residency in Florida to take advantage of the fact that it has no state income tax. In order to establish Florida residency, you must be physically present in Florida for 183 days of the tax year (with parts of a day counting as a full day). It also helps to establish a domicile, with a driver's license, vehicle registration, and home ownership or a lease.

How Do You Establish Residency in Texas for Tax Purposes?

Under the Texas tax code, you can demonstrate your intention to become a Texan resident by "establishing a fixed dwelling place in Texas, registering to vote in Texas, or demonstrating a legal or economic constraint to live in Texas." Some sources also recommend registering your car in Texas, getting a Texas driver's license or state I.D., and spending as much time in the state as possible.

How Do You Determine NYC Residency for Tax Purposes?

New York City has its own income tax, making it important for long-term visitors to know if they can be counted as New York City residents. Fortunately, the rule is straightforward: If your domicile is in the five boroughs, or if you have a place of abode in the city and spend 184 or more days there, you are counted as a New York City resident.

All city residents are subject to the NYC personal income tax, regardless of the source of their income.

The Bottom Line

Knowing where to file taxes will depend on state-specific residency rules. If you recently moved or if you spend a significant amount of time away from your main home, you’ll need to check both states' residency requirements. They can be complicated, so it may be worth consulting a tax expert.

Those considering purchasing a second home in another state would also do well to investigate the tax implications.

This handy table, compiled with information from individual government websites and tax preparation software company TaxAct, will help. The website TaxSlayer.com is a useful place for finding your state (or, in the case of D.C., city) tax website.

Tax Residency Rules by State (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 6568

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Cheryll Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-12-23

Address: 4653 O'Kon Hill, Lake Juanstad, AR 65469

Phone: +494124489301

Job: Marketing Representative

Hobby: Reading, Ice skating, Foraging, BASE jumping, Hiking, Skateboarding, Kayaking

Introduction: My name is Cheryll Lueilwitz, I am a sparkling, clean, super, lucky, joyous, outstanding, lucky person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.