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Can I Be Double-Taxed if I Lived in Two States Last Year?

Q. I moved from Washington, D.C., to New York City in November 2009. My W-2 form shows that I was taxed by D.C. for just the portion of the year that I lived there. But the state of New York is claiming I owe taxes on the entire year’s income. Is this correct?

A. Don’t worry—you won’t actually have to pay a full year’s New York taxes. New York is an unusual case. Even if you worked in the state only for a week or so, employers there will give you a W-2 form that makes it look like you worked there for the entire year.

File a “part-year resident” return for both New York and Washington, and you’ll be allowed to prorate your income (and your deductible expenses) based on the amount of time you lived and worked in each place.

By the way, if you had moved somewhere other than New York, the answer could be different. In most other states, employers calculate the numbers on your W-2 based on the actual number of days you worked there.

In either case, when you file your state taxes it couldn’t hurt to include a copy of the return from your previous state with the return from your current one, and vice versa.

Linda Stern is a freelance journalist who writes about financial issues.


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