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I am international student and was working in two different states (CA, NJ). I want to fill out both state taxes. In forms they asked me about "Total Wages". Should I put only the wages I got form that state, for example California, or I should consider cumulative? i.e.

  • California state tax --> Only California wages

    or

  • California state tax --> California wages + New Jersey wages

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That is not what the form asks. Line 12 on form 540NR is "Total California wages from your Form(s) W-2, box 16".

If you're a California resident and you need to fill form 540 (not the NR version), then California taxes its residents on world-wide income.

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First, you need to determine which state you were resident in, for which periods of time.

If you were a California resident the whole year, you would fill out 540 and you need to pay taxes on your worldwide income as if it was all from California.

If you were a part-year California resident, and the New Jersey income was from the part of the year you were not California resident, you would fill out 540NR and you do not need to pay California taxes on the NJ income, but your worldwide income is still needed to calculate your tax rate. So in this case, if you look at the form, you will need to fill out BOTH your California-only income AND your California + New Jersey income, in different places.

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