If you make your money in the same state you live in, paying state income tax is pretty simple. It gets more complicated if you work across state lines: states that charge income tax, such as Georgia, can tax you on income you earn in other states. Florida doesn't have a state income tax, but if you live in Georgia, you pay tax on your Florida income.
If you're a Georgia state resident, you pay Georgia no matter where you earn your keep -- Florida, Oregon or Azerbaijan, it makes no difference. Georgia is your legal residence if you vote there, have a Georgia driver's license or claim state benefits available only to Georgia residents. If you move to Georgia from Florida partway through the year, Georgia can't tax money you earned in Florida before the move. If you keep working out of state after the move, you pay Georgia.
You don't pay tax on your Florida income if you're not required to file in Georgia at all. You file in Georgia if you file federal income taxes and if you have income subject to Georgia state income tax that isn't taxed at the federal level. You don't have to file if your income is less than the state's standard deduction and personal exemptions. As of 2012, if you and your spouse combined earn less than $8,400 and neither of you is blind, you don't have to pay Georgia a dime.
When you work outside Georgia in a state that also collects income tax, both governments want their cut. That doesn't mean you get double-taxed: You can claim a Georgia tax credit for however much you paid your other state. You can't claim a Georgia tax credit for taxes you pay outside the United States and you can't get a credit when you work in states that don't have state income tax. Florida doesn't charge income tax.
If you live in Georgia but still claim Florida as your residence, you don't have to pay state tax if you have no Georgia income. However, if your spouse is a Georgia resident and you file a joint return, you have to use a special formula -- Schedule Three on income tax Form 500 -- to calculate Georgia taxes for the two of you. Filing separate returns may work out better as it keeps your spouse's taxable income in a lower bracket. You can file separately even if you filed a joint federal return.
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