Can You Be a Resident of Two States at the Same Time?

You can be a resident of two states but you may want to avoid it.

If your life mostly involves just one state, filing state taxes is relatively simple. When your life involves more than one state, things can get complicated pretty quickly.

Everything depends on residency. It determines where you have to file, what kind of return you have to file, and how much you’ll be taxed. The problem is, determining residency is more complicated than it sounds. The states have convoluted and differing definitions of what constitutes a resident.

Generally, you can only be a full resident of one state. Most filers who spend time in two states end up filing a resident return to one state and a non-resident return to the other.

Is this even possible?

Yes, it is possible to be a resident of two different states at the same time, though it’s pretty rare. One of the most common of these situations involves someone whose domicile is their home state, but who has been living in a different state for work for more than 184 days. In a situation like this it is conceivable that you could be the resident of two states.

Filing as a resident in two states should be avoided whenever possible. States where you are a resident have the right to tax ALL of your income. This is regardless of where it was earned. If you are a resident of two states, you will likely end up paying more in state taxes than if you were a resident of just one, or a resident of one state and a nonresident of another.

Check the definitions

The first thing to do if you think it’s possible that you could qualify as a resident in more than one state is to check the definitions of residency. Each state has its own definition of who constitutes a resident. It’s possible that, according to the exact definitions of the law, that you aren’t actually a resident of two states.

Generally you are considered a resident if your domicile is that state, or (if your domicile is another state) you maintained a permanent place of abode in that state and spent more than 184 days there during the year.

Most state tax authorities have a page explaining what exactly constitutes a resident in their state. If you can’t find a page on their website, try checking the tax return instructions themselves. Most include a section on residency.

Make sure you aren’t a nonresident

If you only worked in a state, or lived there for a brief amount of time – in a vacation home, for example – you likely aren’t a resident. In this case, you’d only file as a resident in your normal home state. You would then file as a nonresident in the other state only if you earned money there.

Make sure you aren’t a part-year resident

If you move from one state to another during the year, you’ll file as a part-year resident in both states. You’ll be treated as a resident of each state for only the days that you lived in that state. This will help you to avoid being double-taxed. Don’t make the mistake of filing as a resident in both states if you permanently left one state and moved to another.

Exemptions for students, military personnel, expats, etc.

Most states also have exemptions for students who attend college out-of-state as well as members of the military and their spouses who often have to move from one state to another. These people are generally considered residents of their home states.

For more information about filing taxes in two different states, please refer to this blog post. And don’t forget, you can always file a return for multiple states with the help of RapidTax.

Generally, you can only be a full resident of one state. Most filers who spend time in two states end up filing a resident return to one state and a non-resident return to the other.

269 Replies to “Can You Be a Resident of Two States at the Same Time?”

  1. I am moving from CA to OR in May and will work remotely as a wedding planner with weddings in both states. In 6 months I will file as a resident of OR and do my taxes in OR, but I am hoping to claim the CA weddings as “destination” weddings, where clients had me travel from my business location to do their weddings. I will be living primarily in OR, except to travel for my work. Can I file my income and taxes in OR and claim that I work in OR, or will I need to claim that I work in CA as well?
    Also, will I need to file as a resident in both states this year?

    Thank you!

  2. For the first half of 2017 I was Active Duty Military with my home of record in Arizona. However from June-December I was being paid in the Reserves out of Ohio while I was a full time, non-resident student also working at Target. I had an apartment in my name in Ohio, attended school and received 2 separate incomes but never applied for residency due to my student status. Which state should I file for?

  3. I am a full time student in WV. I work in WV. My permanent address is in Utah. I do not earn money in Utah. Do I file both states?

  4. I work in MI and stay there in an apartment during the week. I commute to my home in NY on Fridays and return to MI again on Sunday. I do this every week except for vacation, holidays and if I am sick at which point I am at NY. My wife and daughter are in NY and wife works in NY. I intend to return to NY if I can find a job there and am still looking. Below are my questions.

    How do I file taxes? Do I file joint non-resident MI and joint resident NY or single non-resident MI and joint resident NY or what else? Please advise.


  5. Hello,

    I was a chef in MT for 3 months but lived in AZ the rest of the time. Do I have the following information correct?

    I need to file a non-resident in MT and full time resident in AZ.


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