Q: work 5 1/2 mos in CA, keep home family and ties in IL do I pay tax just on the 5 1/2 mos income
Currently a resident of IL. Considering taking a job that will involve travel to various sites and offices on the W Coast and states adjacent – basically CA, NE, AZ and OR. Will have latitude on where to spend my time, but the main office is in LA. Will get a cheap apartment there. My employment position does not have a truly fixed site – and I can arrange it so that I spend less than 6 mos of the year within CA. Keeping house and family in IL, I expect to transfer back to IL w/in 2 yrs. My take on this is that if I don't have ties to CA other than job I take the position that I am a nonresident of California. But I don't see a way to avoid paying CA taxes on the portion of income earned in CA--or is there? what about AZ, OR - nonresident returns for all on prorated income basis? Any way out of filing 4 state returns? (have to file in IL due to wifes income) Thanks.
A: Your biggest problem may be California. Check it’s residency rules versus part year resident and non resident and document accordingly. California is notorious for its aggressive pursuit of tax dollars. You likely have to file a non resident return for states where you are physically located and providing services during the year above a minimum threshold. States generally publish those rules and you can reduce the impact of high tax states like CA and IL with apportionment to other states. It may be a burden but necessary. Ask your employer to pick up the tab for a good CPA to file the returns. Not an unreasonable request given your travel and value to your company.
D. Mathew Blackburn agrees with this answer
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