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Format of State Return

What are the different formats of state tax returns?

The format of a state return is generally one of four types:

  1. One that uses the federal form 1040 to carry over information such as wages, interest, dividends, etc. that are taxable.


  2. One that starts with carrying over the federal AGI (FAGI) from the federal tax return. The state then makes adjustments to the FAGI to arrive at a state AGI.


  3. One that starts with the federal taxable inocme. This is basically the FAGI minus exemptions and deductions.


  4. One that starts with federal tax liability.


Do I have to use the same tax filing status on my state return as I do federal income tax return?

States also vary on the handling of filing status. Some states require you to use the same tax filing status you used on your federal tax return.

I filed married filing jointly on my federal tax return, can I file married filing separately on my state tax return?

In some states, you can file married filing separately on the state tax return even if you filed married filing jointly on the federal income tax return.

Some states do not permit you to file as qualifying widow (er) with dependent child or head of household.

Differences between state tax returns and federal tax returns

Some areas in which state tax returns tend to differ from federal tax returns are:

  • Child care credit
  • pensions
  • capital gains
  • moving expenses
  • active duty military income and military retirement income
  • social security
  • itemized deductions
  • depreciation



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