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gs77
Returning Member

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

I live in Michigan and lived in Michigan entire 2020

My spouse lives in New York State and lived in Michigan till June 2020

 

My wage income is taxed in Michigan(w2)

My spouse's wage income is taxed like below

     Michigan income taxed in Michigan(w2)

     NYS income taxed in NYS(w2)

 

How can we file married jointly?

 

Can we file jointly for federal and separately for states, I read somewhere we can't do that for Michigan

 

If we file Jointly in all the states, assuming we meet the NYS full year resident criteria(lived in rental for more than 183 days), I am getting taxed for all of our income that is not earned in New York.

 

@KathrynG3 

 

Can we file Federal Jointly and State separately 

 

6 Replies
KathrynG3
Employee Tax Expert

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

It would appear that Michigan will have to be filed jointly, but New York could be filed separately.

 

You are correct, 2020 MI-1040 Instructions Booklet page 3, second column, last sentence on to page 4 states: If you filed a joint federal income tax return, you must file a joint Michigan income tax return. If you and your spouse filed separate federal returns, you may file separate or joint Michigan returns.

 

However, only Michigan sourced income will be taxed in Michigan.

 

You are correct, your wife would have to file IT-201 for New York, as a resident since she lived there more than 183 days, but could file separately.

The 2020 Instructions for New York Form IT-201 Full-Year Resident Income Tax Return page 6:

Separate returns are required for some married taxpayers who file a joint federal return. If one of you was a New York State resident and the other was a nonresident or part‑year resident, you must each file a separate New York return. The resident must use Form IT‑201. The nonresident or part‑year resident, if required to file a New York State return, must use Form IT‑203. However, if you both choose to file a joint New York State return, use Form IT‑201.

 

However, you could file Form IT-203, and would have -0- income sourced from New York. You may need to switch to TurboTax CD/Download if you experience unexpected results on TurboTax Online.  If you both are maintaining Michigan as a permanent residence, have drivers licenses here and vote here, then allocate any investment income jointly held, such as interest and dividends, to Michigan.

 

For your reference: 2020 Instructions for New York Form IT-203 Nonresident and Part-Year Resident Income Tax Return

 

To complete the state returns in TurboTax, follow this order:

  1. Enter New York: the part-year and nonresident portions and complete the interview.
    1. Indicate who was a nonresident and who was a part-year resident.
    2. Report the dates of residency for the part-year resident.
    3. Allocate the income as to where the income was earned.
  2. Enter Michigan because this is where you lived as of December 31.
    1. Indicate who was a resident and who was a part-year resident.
    2. Report the dates of residency for the part-year resident.
    3. Allocate the income as to where the income was earned.

You will end up filing three, possibly four, returns: 

  1. Federal, married filing joint (MFJ) for both of you
  2. Michigan, MFJ for both of you
  3. New York, Resident, Married filing separate (MFS) for your spouse
  4. New York, Nonresident, MFS for you only if there is New York sourced income you have earned. However, it does not appear that is the case.

For more information, see:

How does TurboTax calculate taxes on part-year returns?

How do I file a nonresident state return?

 

If you are having any difficulty e-filing New York, check your input for the Driver's License. There is a higher standard than other states and this may be the cause if everything else went fine during the state Review. 

 

Also, try returning to your Jobs (W-2) screen. To do this, inside TurboTax, enter W2 in the search box. Select the Jump to link in the search results.

  • Once at the W-2 Input, select the W-2 and click Continue.
  • The next screen will have the box 14 input for W-2. If you have an entry in “Box 14 – Category” that says “New York IRC 414(h) NY tax exempt,” then
    • For the corresponding input for “Box 14 – Description”, append the phrase “NOT” to whatever their current text is in that field.
    • For example, if EXP is entered, change it to read EXPNOT

This workaround will provide you with the option to e-file.

 

[Edited 03/31/2021 | 12:03 PM PST]

 

@gs77

gs77
Returning Member

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

Thank you @KathrynG3.

 

Couple of more questions.

 

1. When you said "To complete the state returns in TurboTax, follow this order:" Did you mean to use CD/Download version? Because I don't think I was able to assign income allotment for New York or different residence status for each spouse in New York

 

2. For the same point as above, is there a reason I have to file New York first and then Michigan?

 

3. Do I have to create a mock federal return in CD/Download version for submitting MFS for both of us in New York? Reference: How do I prepare a joint federal return and separate state returns?

 3.1 If I am going the route as referenced above in point 3? Do I send the mock federal with state return as printed or can I send my filed jointly return along with my MFS returns?

 

One last question!!

 

If requested can you help with the same via Live expert?

 

 

JohnB5677
Expert Alumni

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

I will try to answer your questions in the order you submitted them.

 

1.) Yes, it is best to use the CD version.

 

2.) Yes, your home state is Michigan.  By filing New York first you will have the taxes paid in NY to get the credit when you post Michigan.  However, If 100% of your income was in MI, and 100% of your wife's was in NY it will not make a difference, (Your wife may have to file part year resident in both MI and NY using NY).

 

3.) Yes, you will have to create two mock Federal returns, each showing your individual income.  One for you and one for your spouse.

 

4.) Your Mock return will print with the filing packet.

 

If you have TurboTax Live you certainly can call and have an expert walk you through.

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gs77
Returning Member

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

@JohnB5677 Thanks!

 

What If me and my spouse file separately for both federal and state? Do I still need to file separately for New York, where I have earned no income?

 

@KathrynG3 

ThomasM125
Employee Tax Expert

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

Yes, you would need to file separately in New York if you did so on your federal tax return.

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gs77
Returning Member

Can I file married jointly if my spouse resides in a different state.

@ThomasM125 - Thanks!

 

I should file this even I didn't earn any income in NY state

 

@JohnB5677 @KathrynG3 

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