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Do I Need to File a Nonresident State Tax Return?

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A nonresident state tax return is a tax return to any state where you don’t have residency. If you’ve generated income in another state during the year, you may have to file a nonresident state tax return in addition to the tax return to your home state. Let’s go over the basics to help you decide if you need to file a nonresident return.

When You Need to File a Nonresident Return

Some situations that may lead to a requirement to file a tax return in a nonresident state are:

  • You worked in a state that you are not a resident of. For example, Jane lives in New Jersey and commutes to work in New York. Jane would file a nonresident return in New York and a resident tax return in New Jersey.
  • Your employer withheld state taxes for the wrong state and you want a refund
  • You made non-employment income in a state other than your home state

Non-employment Income That is Taxable to Nonresidents

Most states tax any income that is sourced to their state, including the income of nonresidents. You don’t have to actually work in a state to owe taxes, these other types of income can also be taxable for a nonresident.

  • Your income as a partner in an LLC, partnership, S-corporation. Your share as a partner can be taxable in the state where the company is based. Note that this does not apply if you are simply an employee of a company.
  • Income from services performed within the state. For example, an appliance repair person travels across state lines to repair an oven in someone’s home.
  • Lottery or gambling winnings
  • Income from the sale of property within the state
  • Rental income
  • Carrying on a business, trade, profession, or occupation in a state. For example, working as a consultant or contractor in another state.

You May Not Need to File a Return in Reciprocal States

Certain states have agreements that allow residents of certain states to work in their state tax-free. These agreements are known as reciprocal agreements. If your resident state and the state you are working in have such an agreement you may not have to file a return in the nonresident state. Keep in mind that these agreements typically cover only earned income (income made from employment).  Also, if you had taxes withheld for the nonresident state you would still need to file a return to get that money refunded.

Also see: Which states have reciprocal agreements?

Check With Your Nonresident State

These are general guidelines, so you should be sure to check with the state tax authority in your nonresident state to be sure of your tax filing obligations. 

More information:

How to File a Nonresident State Tax Return

Am I a Part-year Resident or a Nonresident?

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