If you moved to a new state during 2020, you'll normally file a part-year return for each state you lived in during 2020, assuming the state(s) collect income tax.
Below are some common scenarios and how they would be handled. Use these as a guide for your particular situation.
This is the most common scenario. Let's say you've lived and worked in New York for years.
In September, you moved from New York to Pennsylvania. After moving, you started working for a new employer in Pennsylvania.
This year only, you'll file part-year returns for both New York and Pennsylvania. Next year, you'll only need to file a Pennsylvania return.
You're a New York resident who had been working in New York. You quit in late March. In April you started working for a different employer in New Jersey.
In September, you moved to New Jersey to save on living expenses and shorten your commute. You would file 3 returns:
- A part-year New York return covering income earned January through August (including income earned in New Jersey);
- A part-year New Jersey return covering income earned September through December;
- A nonresident New Jersey return covering income earned while you were still a New York resident (April through August).
You should prepare your returns in this order:
- Nonresident New Jersey (always do any nonresident returns first)
- Part-year New Jersey
- Part-year New York
Next year, you'll just file a resident New Jersey return.
Scenario 3: You and your spouse moved to a new state; one works there, the other still works in the old state
Let's say you and your jointly-filing spouse were New York residents until July. Then you both moved to Vermont.
Your spouse now works in Vermont, but you still commute to your New York job. You would file 3 returns:
- A jointly-filed part-year return for New York covering income earned January through June;
- A jointly-filed part-year return for Vermont covering income earned July through December;
- A nonresident New York return for yourself, covering the income you earned as a Vermont resident (July through December).
You'll want to prepare your returns in this order:
- Nonresident New York (always do any nonresident returns first)
- Part-year Vermont
- Part-year New York
Next year, assuming nothing changes, you and your spouse would jointly file a Vermont resident return along with your nonresident New York return.
Maybe you retired and moved to a different state to enjoy your golden years. Or perhaps there weren't any jobs in your former state, so you packed up and moved to a state where there were.
Either way, if you didn't earn money in one state, you don't have to file a return for that state. Just file a part-year return for the state where you earned your income.