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. In 2018 I was in state of TX for 6 months. I lived in TX for more than 1.5 years but then by end of june/early July moved to Louisiana state. And left TX. I have been in LA state since then. So I have been in LA state for 6 months almost in 2018. But I have not purchased a house. I am renting an Apartment
    I saw on this blog, one has to be residing in a state for atleast 184 days= 6 months to be a resident but again I am renting an apartment right now

    My question is when I file for my 2018 tax returns, can I show myself as LA state resident or show myself as a TX state resident and a non resident of LA state and fill out non LA resident tax returns?
    I also saw this online
    According to Revised Statute 47:31, individuals who spend more than six months in Louisiana are considered residents of the state. … However, a taxpayer is still considered a resident of Louisiana and liable for state income taxes if a permanent place of residence is maintained within Louisiana.

  2. My Daughter moved from IL to AZ the end of November and only collected 2 checks in the month of December.She did not change her drivers license or car registration until Feb. but did change her address with post office when she got here.Does she have to file 2 state taxes this year 1 for each state?

  3. I have a 3 family home in IL; but work in IN and stay with my sister. We came 14 years ago to help take care of Mom with a broken hip. We were blessed to have her with us until 7/4/13-9 years with a broken inoperable hip. In the mean time; we had to start our own alternative health business to make a living and survive. Still have my 3 family house to retire in. I found a family to rent in the original 1&2;, I have the 3rd Motherinlaws
    Apt. Am available to retire next June. I have been paying for homeowners. Now AAA is giving me a hard time since I travel back & forth between IN and IL.; when I had to file a claim for a clogged drain that overflowed in the basement. AAA acts if I am trying to scam or be fraudulent. I have been paying $1200 a year to them because I have a mortgage as well. As far as I have researched; I am allowed to be at both places, since 1 is my sister’s I stay at.. This is the ONLY house I own. Please advise me if I should have any concerns. They are with holding all my paperwork until they finish their “Investigation”.

  4. I live in Wash.State and in 2009 I bought a House and Car in Mesa AZ . I am retired. My Insurance company canceled
    For a Nonrenewal because I do not have a driver’s license in the State of AZ. I do not want to give up my Wash. Drivers license. The car is licensed and registered in Az. I bought from a dealer in Az. How do I handle this properly?

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