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. Hello! Thank you so much for all this helpful free advice. I have tried to deduce the answer to my question from other folks’ questions and your answers, but I have not yet succeeded. May I ask you about our rather complicated situation? We have rented in the state of WY for 8 months of 2018, are moving to MT shortly, and have a remote work situation in CA. Obviously, we’ll file income taxes in CA. We wish to make a cash vehicle purchase in CO (they will deliver w/in a 500 mi radius, which includes our location) and were told by the dealership that if we pay cash, they do not have to charge us sales tax at the time of purpose, but we will have to pay taxes to WY if we’re living there and none at all if we’re living in MT. Is that correct? Please help! Thank you, Dana

  2. I was born in Texas and I have parents who are divorced. My dad lives in Mass and my mom in TX, I’m spent most my high school years in Mass when I moved for High school with my dad. It’s been a year since I graduated HS, and I finished senior year working in Mass. But I just moved to Texas again and I’m staying with my mom, would I be considered in-state already being born there and have living with my mom who’s in the district, or would I have to stay for the next year and work for my residency in order to receive in-state tuition?

  3. I lived in fl for most of my life and moved to ga for only a month. My seperated husband and I tried to make it work and it did not, but I did change change over my id. In ga and fl you have to be a resident of 6 months before you can divorce. Is there a way I can either change back my residency to fl or become domicile? I’ve been here less than a month. I want to move back home to fl, but I don’t want to have to wait to divorce him. I hope this makes sense; and that I’m asking the right people.

  4. I am a full time college student in PA, work study in PA, summer intern in IA, My mom has a house in IL but she did not claims me as dependent. my dad lives in foreign country.

    How do I file my state income tax ? resident PA and non resident IA ? or non resident for both?
    Thanks in advance.

  5. I worked and lived in NYC, but purchased a house with my mom in N.C. If I don’t claim the house on my taxes, do I still have to file part year resident for both states?

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