How to Know If I Need to File State Taxes

State taxes are as varied as the 50 states. All states collect taxes, but many are painless, like sales tax added to the price of things you buy so you don't have to do anything special to pay them. Most states also levy income taxes, much like the federal income tax, although rates and filing mechanisms vary. Many states also require filings for corporate or business taxes, but these taxes and regulations vary. Taxes also can be complicated if you live or work in more than one state, either regularly or by relocating.

Ask your employer about state income taxes; you must fill out a federal withholding document at work and usually have to complete a similar form if there is a state income tax. As of 2012, Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming do not have state income taxes. Review your state's website for specifics about filing state income taxes.

Check both state websites if you live in one state and work in another or get income from two states. File returns in both states if that is the law, but you usually will pay tax only where you get income. Ask specifically about laws governing relocation, but generally you will need to file in both states.

Use state websites to find out about filing business or other taxes, such as estate taxes. File a business or company return in the state where the business is located, even if you live in another state. Organizations such as the Tax Foundation also have information on other taxes. Consult an accountant or tax adviser or a state tax or revenue agency if you cannot find an answer elsewhere.

Ensure you have made enough money that you need to file a tax return. If your adjusted gross income is more than the threshold listed by your state, then you must file a return.

 

About the Author

Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.