Love Across State Lines

Today TaxMama hears from Mary in Georgia who tells us, “I live and work in Georgia. My spouse lives and works in New York. We will file a federal return together. But do we file state returns together?
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Do I pay NY state tax on my GA income; and does he pay GA tax on his NY income?
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How does this work?”

Dear Mary,

That’s an excellent question. And I had a client with a similar situation – except he was in California and she was in Georgia.

First of all, you’re right. You do file a federal joint return.
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Then, you have two choices, depending on how the taxes come out the best.

You can file a married filing separate return in GA and he can do the same in NY.

OR you file non-resident returns in both states. The non-resident return will be a joint return.
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It will exclude the income of the person who is residing in the other state.
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And it will only tax the income of the
local resident. (That’s how we did it.)

You’ll need to check if your states permit taxpayers to use a different filing status for state than you use on the IRS tax return.

Get someone to help you who understands how to prepare non-resident returns. They’re always a bit tricky and sometimes require a bit of tweaking to get the software to handle the computations properly.

Oh well, at least with the Internet and webcams, long-distance romances aren’t so distant any longer. Heck, you can even leave the camera on and have dinner together and spend time with each other (or ignoring each other) just like any couple sitting side by side.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about multi-state taxes and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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