Collecting out-of-state unemployment while living in New York
March 11, 2012 12:03 PM   Subscribe

If I collected California unemployment benefits while living in New York, do I have to pay taxes to New York?

California does not tax its own benefits, so I owe no taxes to that state. However, during most of the year, I collected those benefits while living in a state that does tax unemployment benefits.

Does that count as New York State income? This is an important question because a "yes" means I owe lots of money, while a "no" means I get a large refund.

The question has evaded my Google-fu. I can find the opposite -- if you live elsewhere and collect NYS unemployment, then you do owe money to NYS. However, that doesn't seem to have any bearing on my case.

I know you're not my tax professional or my accountant, but this answer would seem to be a pretty simple "yes" or "no."
posted by Flying Saucer to Work & Money (6 answers total)
If you are talking about NY taxes... then yes, of course.
posted by JayRwv at 12:10 PM on March 11, 2012

My assumption is yes. But you don't need my assumption, you need to talk to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance or a competent tax professional in New York state.
posted by SMPA at 12:25 PM on March 11, 2012

Response by poster: SMPA, I've submitted a question to that department, but the response can take up to 10 business days. As I said, this single issue determines a great deal of my financial planning for the rest of the year, so I was hoping to get a more prompt response from qualified MeFites.

A tax professional, I assume, would cost money, and I'd prefer to keep costs as low as possible for what should be a standard, simple matter.
posted by Flying Saucer at 12:30 PM on March 11, 2012

I am not an accountant/tax professional, nor have I had your exact situation, but I did collect unemployment benefits from the state of Texas while living in Mississippi, and I did indeed have to pay Mississippi taxes on that income. (Texas does not collect taxes on any income, so I was ok there; I did have to pay federal taxes on it as well, and I assume you will have to do the same if you haven't had federal taxes withheld. I got the federal tax withholdings all back as a refund last year, though.)

Also, the way your question is phrased makes me wonder whether you are still living in NY. Did you become a legal resident of NY? If not, that may affect whether you have to pay taxes. (I did become a legal resident of Mississippi in my case.)

If you do your taxes using tax software (I do mine online with TaxAct), the software should guide you through the pertinent questions to help you get correct information on this. If you are doing taxes some other way, I would recommend going through the forms w/TaxAct (it's free) or whatever you prefer and see if you can get your answer that way.
posted by pupstocks at 1:15 PM on March 11, 2012

You earned income – from some place – while living in New York. Unless the NY tax form income box lists "except for unemployment from other states" (which seems unlikely, as the tax unemployment from their own state) I don't see why this would be a special case.
posted by zippy at 1:47 PM on March 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes. (Disclaimer: I am not an accountant.)
posted by zdravo at 2:58 PM on April 27, 2012

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