The shift to remote work has changed more than just office locations, it is also complicating tax season for many. With a significant increase in Americans working from their living rooms, kitchens, and home offices, some employees are now facing the tax codes of multiple states.
The Remote Work Rise
When the pandemic hit, work habits transformed overnight. Offices closed, and homes became the new workspace.
This shift wasn’t just a change in scenery; it introduced many to the complexities of state income tax laws.
Double Taxation Dilemma
It is not uncommon these days to work in your pajamas in one state while your employer’s headquarters sit in another.
While it might not seem like a big deal, when tax season rolls around, you might just find yourself owing taxes in both states.
Credits to the Rescue?
Typically, if you’re taxed by two states, one should offer you a credit to avoid paying twice on the same income. But, this is not always the case as some states play by different rules.
Convenience Rule Confusion
Five states have a tricky “convenience rule” for taxing remote workers based on their company’s location, not where the work is done.
This rule can lead to double taxation without the relief of credits in your home state.
Jared Walczak from the Tax Foundation sheds light on the issue, stating, “Many remote workers will face tax liability in multiple states.
For most, this will not result in genuine double taxation because they will receive a credit in their home state against liability incurred in other states.” However, not everyone is so lucky.
The States With Strict Rules
States like Connecticut, Delaware, Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania are stricter with their tax laws for remote workers. Each has its own version of the “convenience rule”.
New York’s Aggressive Approach
New York stands out for its aggressive taxation of remote workers. If you’re employed by a New York company but work elsewhere, New York wants its share of your income taxes.
Exceptions to the Rule
Some states have agreements that simplify taxes for cross-border workers, focusing on residency over work location. These reciprocity agreements can save a lot of paperwork and confusion.
There are about 30 of these agreements across 16 states aiming to make life easier for remote workers. These deals mean you pay taxes where you live, not where your employer is based.
When States Play Nice
For those living and working across state lines, these agreements mean you only file and pay taxes in your home state. It simplifies tax season significantly, reducing the risk of double taxation.
Credit Where Credit’s Due
In cases without reciprocity, you might still avoid double taxation through credits. By filing in both states, you can get a credit for taxes paid to the state where you don’t live.
Advice for Remote Workers
If you are working remotely across state lines, it is important to understand the tax laws of both your home state and your employer’s state.
Planning and professional advice can prevent tax season surprises.
Understanding Your Obligations
Knowing whether your states have a reciprocity agreement or if you are subject to the “convenience rule” can save you from unexpected tax bills.
Seek Professional Help
Tax laws can be as complicated as they are dry. If you’re unsure about your tax situation as a remote worker, consulting a tax professional can offer clarity and direction.
Tax codes change, and staying on top of these changes is crucial for remote workers.
What is true one year might not be the next, so keep informed to avoid pitfalls.
More From Frugal to Free…
The post Remote Work Tax Headache: Avoiding Double Taxation Across State Lines first appeared on From Frugal to Free.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / fizkes.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.