Multi-State Tax Fiasco
February 20, 2011 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I am having some major tax issues and can't find the right way to go about filing for 2010. I left to travel abroad in January 2010. However, I was finally paid my last part of a bonus in March 2010. I forwarded my address to my parents house in Illinois - but officially I don't really have proof that I actually lived in IL (No lease, no driver's license etc.). To make things more complicated I lived in NYC and worked in Connecticut. Therefore, I have NY State, NY City and CT state taxes taken out of my pay check. Then I moved to Wisconsin in August of the same year. What do I do/What state should I claim I was living in when I was received my final pay check? 1. Claim I was living in IL? 2. Claim I am not a resident of any state when I was last paid? 3. Claim I was living in WI? 4. Another option I am not thinking about? Any advice would be appreciated/I know you aren't a tax professional!
posted by nanhey to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Forwarding your mail somewhere doesn't prove you live there.

It sounds like you need to file a federal, NYS and CT tax return.

Consult a competent tax accountant for more information.
posted by dfriedman at 12:24 PM on February 20, 2011

I concur with dfriedman, with the addition that you'll probably need to file in Wisconsin too (assuming that they have state income tax.)
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:30 PM on February 20, 2011

The tax forms ask where you were living on 12/31/10. So that's the address you need to put. If you earned income in X states, you need to file federal, those states, and any applicable city/county/boro taxes.

All you really need is TurboTax, which will guide you through all the possible options. You'll have to buy 2 or 3 state add ons, but that's just the price you pay.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:35 PM on February 20, 2011

1. Obviously, consult a tax professional.
2. If you have lived in Wisconsin, you owe the state of Wisconsin tax for Aug to Dec of that year and any tax software will allow you to file tax that way. You should claim reimbursement from NY and CT for taxes paid for that period through your paycheck.
- if you were a salaried employee during this period, it may be simpler. NY and CT may potentially require a corrected W4 from your employer in order to reimburse you this amount (or at the very least a letter from your employer to the effect that your your original W4 was incorrect).
- You should ask your employer to get your W4 corrected. I believe employers are legally required to correct W4s within a pre-defined time frame after you request this of them (not sure about this)
3. For tax payments between NY and CT - generally speaking tax software do a reasonably good job of calculating how the tax calculations should work out between the two states (depending on how much money you are talking about. I knew a sr. biz executive in a company who used to log the time they he worked out of state in NY - his corp hq was in PA. Most of ordinary mortals dont do that.)
4. Consult a tax professional. I am not one.
posted by justlooking at 12:42 PM on February 20, 2011

Also, what misanthropicsarah said. You would need to file tax for all three states (I did this once. Not as bad as it sounds :-) ).

I would still recommend that you speak with a tax consultant since you dont seem to have a proof of residence in the state of Wisconsin. As I mentioned, if you were salaried employee of a company, it may be simpler. Your employer may just require a declaration from you to the effect that you lived in Wisconsin etc. ...
posted by justlooking at 12:48 PM on February 20, 2011

The easiest solution, in my mind, is to say you were a NYS resident until August. Then you file the three state returns as listed above but as a partial-year resident. When I had to do this years ago (IL and MN) I think I had to say what percentage of the year I lived in the state.

Just leave IL out of it, because you never actually lived here, and therefore didn't earn the income as a state resident.

I agree that you might want to go to a tax preparer for help with this.
posted by cabingirl at 1:46 PM on February 20, 2011

Check if there are part-year tax forms for each state -- there probably are. (I just checked and there is at least one for WI.) Filing these also makes it clear to the various states why you stop filing the next year.
posted by advil at 2:46 PM on February 20, 2011

There are part-year tax forms for each state. The major online sites will do this really easily for you. Turbotax, HR Bloc, etc.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 5:35 PM on February 20, 2011

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