I was a student in USA on visa, nonresident for tax purpose. I lived in 2 states during the year - lived for 3 months in one state and 9 months in the other. However, I earned wages only in the other state - I have W2 showing income only in that state. Do I have to file state tax returns in both states? Or should I file only state tax where I earned income? Any comments are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

  • It depends on the specific states involved and in which state(s) you were actually a "resident."
    – quid
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 17:40
  • Of course, not all states have an income tax. If one of the states you lived in was Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington or Wyoming, then no state tax (per Google). (And New Hampshire & Tennessee only tax investment income.)
    – jamesqf
    Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 5:20

1 Answer 1


You should only file in the State in which you earned income. As a student being in the US for a total of 9 months, you're likely not to be a tax resident of any State.

Keep in mind that if you earned wages in State A while living in State B, and didn't tell your employer about that - you'll need to file in both A and B and pay appropriate taxes. However if all your earnings are from work preformed in State A while physically present there, you only file a tax return there.

For US citizens/people who stay for longer periods, various issues of nexus/residency can come into play, but I don't think it is something relevant to your situation.

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