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Filing a state income tax return, receiving public assistance, registering to vote or claiming a homestead exemption in a particular state all mark you as a resident of that state. If you move to a new state in mid year and qualify as a resident in each state, other definitions come into play. Many states, including North Carolina, Massachusetts and Rhode Island consider you a resident if your legal residence was in that state for 183 days or more in a given year.
If you spent 200 days in Rhode Island last year, for example, then relocated to Massachusetts, Massachusetts may still expect you to pay state income tax. You can find downloadable forms for part-time residents in your state on the department of revenue website. Some states, such as North Carolina, may want you to report your total taxable income, as well as your North Carolina taxable income, but you only have to pay taxes on the latter.
If you work in one state while residing another, you may have two sets of taxes to pay. If you're a Nevada or Rhode Island resident, for instance, you pay state income tax even on money you made outside the state. To avoid double taxation, your home state may give you a tax credit for any income tax you paid in other jurisdictions. If only one of the states has an income tax, you only have to pay one government.
If you serve in the military, the rules are different. Regardless of where you're stationed and for how long, you pay income tax only in the state identified as your legal home. If you're married to a service member and living out of state with your spouse, the Military Spouse Residency Relief Act states that you don't have to pay tax in the state you're living in, only in your resident state. This only applies if being with your spouse is the only reason for the move.