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Returning Member

Filing Status in CA and MA

My spouse and I have two abodes: one in California and one in Massachusetts. 


I claim California residency and my spouse claims Massachusetts residency.  For 2020, I spent 365 days in California and my spouse spent 360 days in California and 5 days in Massachusetts.  Although all of our family activities are in California, my spouse maintains a Massachusetts drivers license and is registered to vote there.  I hold a California license and am registered to vote there.


All my income comes from California sources. All of my spouse's income comes from states Other than California and Massachusetts.


We believe the correct way to file in Massachusetts is to use Form 1-NP/PY as married filing jointly and and to attribute income as either MA sourced on not.



4 Replies
Expert Alumni

Filing Status in CA and MA

Unfortunately, since you did not reside within Massachusetts with your spouse, you will not be able to file as Married Filing Jointly in MA.  


Massachusetts specifically states you must reside there for the same period of time during the year.  If you do not, you will need to file as married filing separately for MA.


MA filing status information


Please see the link below for instructions to help you prepare these returns using TurboTax.


Filing a joint return for federal but separate for state


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Level 15

Filing Status in CA and MA

@Thom31 wrote << spouse spent 360 days in California...>> 


Then your wife must file in CA as a resident.


From page 5, California Publication 1031 "Guidelines for Determining Residency Status":


"You will be presumed to be a California resident for any taxable year in which you spend more than nine months in this state."


**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.
Returning Member

Filing Status in CA and MA

Thank you for the advice on Married Filing Jointly in Massachusetts.  My follow-up question is this. Given the totality of circumstances in my original question, does my spouse claim to be a MA resident or a CA resident. My understanding is as a CA resident, MA tax obligations would depend only on MA source income.

Level 15

Filing Status in CA and MA

Since she spent 360 days of the tax year in CA, per California law she must file her CA tax return as a resident.  See the California FTB reference cited in my previous post.


Her filing in MA will depend on her residency status there as defined by Massachusetts law.  This web reference will give you the details on that:


Residency for tax purposes is not a matter of picking and choosing.  Each state has specific laws regarding such residency.  


Note that a taxpayer may be both a domiciliary resident of one state and a statutory resident of another, a situation known as dual residency.


**Answers are correct to the best of my ability but do not constitute tax or legal advice.
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