In about 2 months, my wife and I will be moving to another state and I will be starting a new job - this move will be from the Capital Region of New York State to the St. Mary's County region of Maryland. Note that this question is not about the financial wisdom of such a move - for personal reasons, I want to make this move.

My question is - how can I prepare for my 2020 Tax Return in regards to this rather dramatic move in my life? What sort of preparations can I take to avoid an unnecessary tax burden related to moving from state-to-state, and is there any unavoidable tax burden that I should prepare for?

Specifically, this is regarding income tax, both at the federal and state level.

3 Answers 3


There should be no difference in Federal taxes. You will have to file a federal W-4 with a new employer.

You will want to do everything you can to make it clear to New York that you have moved. Register the cars, get drivers licenses, and register to vote in Maryland. Close all the bank accounts in New York, and open accounts in MD.

A big mistake that people make when they change states is that they don't submit a new state W-4. This is true if they aren't changing employers. It can be painful if no state tax withholding has been sent to the new state. The old state one will give you a refund but the new state may want to hit you with a penalty and interest.

One tricky part of MD income tax is that there is also a county/city income tax. Make sure you have enough withholding or you may get a surprise in April 2021.

Based on a your edit to the question mentioning Saint Mary County, here is a link to the tax rate for the counties:

Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City levy a local income tax which we collect on the state income tax return as a convenience for local governments.

The local income tax is calculated as a percentage of your taxable income. Local officials set the rates, which range between 2.5% and 3.20% for the current tax year.

You should report your local income tax amount on line 28 of Form 502.

Your local income tax is based on where you live - not where you work, or where your tax preparer is located. Be sure to use the correct rate for the local jurisdiction in which you live.

                    2019     2020   
Calvert County     .0300    .0300  
St. Mary's County  .0300    .0317  
Charles County     .0303    .0303

note .0300 is 3%

  • 1
    Fortunately I am going to a new employer so I will be filing a new W-4, but that is still important to know!
    – Zibbobz
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 19:46
  • In the general case, there will be an effect on federal taxes, if you move from a no-income-tax state to one with one. Commented May 19, 2020 at 20:49
  • @AzorAhai Do you mean there's a change in how you will file, or simply a change in your taxable income at the federal level?
    – chepner
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 12:40
  • It is possible to have a change in state income tax impact the itemize/standard deduction decision on your federal taxes. But with the changes to the tax laws a few years ago, even more people are taking the standard deduction, so a change in state taxes is likely to have zero change to your federal taxes. Commented May 20, 2020 at 12:47

I have done this before (move to another state). Federal taxes will be the same. State taxes will be divided up between the two states dependent on the time you were in each.

For example if you were in Utah for 3 months from January before you moved, and then you were in Kentucky for 9 months, then you would pay 3 months worth of Utah taxes and 9 months worth of Kentucky taxes - for state taxes only. (Note: you would pay taxes for the 3 months of income in Utah and for the 9 months of income earned in Kentucky - do not divide your whole year's income into 3 and 9 months unless your income stayed exactly the same. Most tax software will calculate this automatically if the software is any good.)

New York to Maryland is not that dramatic of a move, but it sounds like your taxes and cost of living may decrease.

There are other factors though, the hidden taxes. A hidden tax is car registration and taxes. Some states make you pay car taxes or property taxes (for owning a car) in the new state when you move. Car registration fees may increase, increasing your effective "tax". Other hidden taxes include tolls, parking tickets, speeding tickets (an avoidable tax), license fees, unknown sales taxes (e.g. California has a tax on soda that is automatically applied if you buy it, you may miss this tax if you don't look at your receipt), and many more.

But, overall, since New York has some of the highest taxes in the country, then a move to any other state, with the exception of California or Hawaii, will likely result in a net decrease in taxes as well as a net decrease in living expenses for the same standard of living, after you conclude your moving expenses - unless perhaps you move from a very rural part of New York to a high-priced part of Maryland.

  • More specifically, this would be a move from the capital region of New York to the St. Mary's County region of Maryland. Which I'll add to my question to help cultivate better answers.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 12:55
  • 1
    Maryland will charge you sales tax on the value (they calculate) of your vehicles when you register them. This is to prevent people that would just buy vehicles in Delaware which has no sales tax. Commented May 19, 2020 at 15:19
  • @AbraCadaver, is that true even if they are used cars, previously registered, with your name on the title? Commented May 19, 2020 at 19:43
  • Yes at least it used to be. My dad had a 10 year old car registered in Illinois when we moved to Maryland and they charged him on a value that was higher than he could sell it for. Commented May 19, 2020 at 19:46
  • 2
    Important clarification: state income taxes are not strictly divided by time. ie, you do not divide your total annual income and pay tax on ¼ to state A and ¾ to state B. Instead, you pay tax on the amount you actually earned during the 3 months while in state A, and the amount actually earned during the 9 months in state B.
    – josh3736
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 21:22

If you register your vehicle(s) within 60 days of moving to Maryland and can prove that you paid 6% or more in sales tax to the state where you bought the vehicle(s), then you owe $100 tax. Otherwise, you owe 6% or the difference between the 6% and what you actually paid in sales tax based on the NADA value.

Found at Motor Car Tag and Title:

The State of Maryland requires that all vehicles be registered within 60 days of moving to the state. As long as you register your vehicle within 60 days you will qualify for the Maryland excise tax. If you paid 6% or more in that state you are moving from you will be charged a flat $100 tax. If the state you are moving from charged less than 6% then deduct the percent from 6% and you will pay the difference.( Example- Virginia charges 4% sales tax. If you are moving to MD from VA you will pay 2% sales tax of the retail value).

If you do not register your vehicle within 60 days of moving to Maryland, you will be charged 6% sales tax on retail value of your vehicle (The MVA uses nada.com to value all automobiles and trucks).

FYI... I have lived in Salisbury (Eastern Shore), Fort Ritchie/Hagerstown (North Catoctin Mountains) and Lexington Park (St. Mary's County).

  • Thank you for putting this in an answer - it's very useful information to have when moving to this state.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 12:35

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