10 things that people from Arizona have to explain to out-of-towners

Arizona residents have no doubt the 48th state is great. Whether you hail from Flagstaff, Yuma, or somewhere in-between, there’s instant access to year-round sunshine within a short drive. We’re home to all four U.S. deserts. Not to mention mountains, red rocks, winter snowfall – and, of course The Grand Canyon. But Arizona also comes with a few quirks that outsiders may not understand.

Umbrellas in sunshine.

At the height of a southern Arizona summer when the cloud count is zero and Mr Sun is frying eggs on the sidewalk, you’ll often see locals wandering around town carrying umbrellas. Before you call for a straightjacket, spend five minutes in the blistering heat. We promise you’ll realize the genius of a “parasol.”

This isn’t The Wild West.

Ok, technically Arizona is home to a few modern-day cowboys working on dude ranches throughout the state. But if you’re expecting folks wandering around in chaps and Stetsons, turn on Longmire or Hell on Wheels. The only place you’ll find that here is at some tacky tourist trap like Tombstone.

Time (change) doesn’t exist here.

Daylight savings? Most of Arizona hasn’t observed this antiquated tradition since the 1960s. We are Mountain Standard (MST) year-round.

Holiday lights on cactuses.

In Arizona, we love to tack lights everywhere. On palm trees. Buildings. Mountains. While higher elevation towns like Prescott and Flagstaff are filled with pretty Ponderosas, desert areas are stuck with palms and cacti. So December, it’s light ‘em if you got ‘em. Even if what you have is a 20-foot saguaro in your front yard.

Candied critters.

Arizonans find it hilarious to make lollipops embedded with scorpions, snakes or spiders and stock them in gift shops. Really, we just want to see if you’re enough of a sucker to actually eat these suckers. Consume at your own risk.

Turn signals are for wussies.

Apparently, when the 62.1% of out-of-state transplants moved to Arizona, they forgot how to drive. Or maybe it’s the natives that overlook their driving test basics. Either way, don’t expect to see turn signals from your fellow drivers. Cut-offs and quiet, seething anger are the norm.

Haboobs popping up.

The Arabic word for a dust storm may inspire grade school giggles, but in desert areas these intense currents are no joke. They’ll come out of nowhere like the giant wall of sand in The Mummy, turning your easy freeway drive into an instant nightmare. If you pull off the road during a haboob (*giggle-snort*), turn off your lights to ensure drivers won’t hit your vehicle thinking you’re still on the freeway.

Carry On, Wayward Sons.

There’s a reason Guns and Ammo mag rated Arizona the #1 state for gun owners. No concealed carry permit is required, gun regulations are minimal and you can score just about any ammo you want locally at a decent price. Granted, The Brady Campaign also ranked The Grand Canyon State the top place for criminals to get their hands on a gun… but who listens to those rankings anyway?

Pink underwear and green bologna.

Thanks to recently ousted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, our state is home to a bizarre penal system that includes tents, spoiled leftovers and pink undergarments. Watch for fluorescent-orange-clad chain gangs, and pay heed to the “Don’t stop for hitchhikers” sign near every state prison.

The Grand Canyon isn’t everything.

Yes, we’re proud of having one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. But Arizona is more than just a hole in the ground. We have meteor craters, waterfalls, rivers, gorgeous sandstone caves, cliff dwellings and Native American ruins, historic mining towns and more. Check out the Official State Visitor’s Guide to see what else Arizona has to offer.

10 Tax Tips for People Working and Living in Different States

By: Dave Roos & Laurie L. Dove | Updated: Jan 20, 2021

If your morning commute takes you from kitchen to couch, consider it a win. Maybe it took years to convince your employer that you'd make an ideal telecommuter. Now you are enjoying the fruits of your labor, a perfect blend of working at home and traveling to consult with clients in other states. Plus, you get to skip roadway hassles and dive straight into your workday.

Or maybe you never planned to work from home, but the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the main office and turned everyone into remote workers. You might have moved back to your parents' house temporarily during the pandemic or rented an Airbnb with some buddies in Montana to wait out the crisis.

Then, tax time arrives. Suddenly, you're faced with paying taxes in your state of residence and the states in which you work. Or are you? The internet is full of questionable tax advice for people working in one state and living in another, including a few dubious suggestions that you're pretty sure could land you in hot water.

To make matters more complicated, the rules and regulations covering personal income tax vary from state to state. If you commute across state lines to get the job done, it can have specific and surprising consequences on your personal income taxes. These 10 tax tips can help you navigate the way.

10: Understand Residency, Nonresidency and Your State Taxes

If you're living and working in two different states, you'll need a firm understanding of key tax-related definitions. The distinctions between residency and nonresidency — and, more importantly, how they affect your taxes — vary from state to state. You'll want to investigate the tax rules and regulations that apply to each of the states in which you lived and worked during the tax year.

It may seem obvious, but it's worth mentioning that the state in which you reside is considered your state of residency. In general, you'll pay state taxes on all the personal income you earn in your home state (unless you live in a state without personal income taxation).

If you work in a state but don't live there, you are considered a non-resident of that state. So, who gets to tax you? It's a little complicated.

It used to be that both states might try to take a bite of the apple, but in 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed such double taxation, and barred two states from taxing the same earnings. That means that if you live in Maryland but actually earn your money and pay taxes on it in Pennsylvania, Maryland can't tax you for that same income. Instead, the state has to issue a tax credit for the amount that you've paid to Pennsylvania [source: Wolf]. Essentially, the state where you actually work gets precedence, unless the two jurisdictions have an agreement to allow you to pay taxes where you live [source: Turque].

9: See If Reciprocity Applies

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have reciprocity agreements with neighboring states, which means that if you work in D.C. but live in Virginia, you don't have to pay taxes in D.C. or even file a return. All you've got to do is document your residency to your employer, so that he or she will withhold taxes for your home state, but not for the two states [source: Moreno].

In addition to the District, the states with reciprocity agreements with neighboring states are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and Arizona [source: Moreno].

In the remainder of the country, you may have to spend some time and money filing a nonresident state tax return in both places, but you can take a tax credit for whatever amount of tax you may owe in the state where you work [source: Moreno].

Some states have an earned-dollar threshold that must be met, others have a time threshold. In Massachusetts, for example, nonresidents are required to file state taxes if the income they earn in the state exceeds $8,000 or reaches a certain portion of their overall income. In Kansas, nonresidents are subject to tax withholding from the first day they travel to the state for work [source: Massachusetts Department of Revenue].

8: Check to See If You're Covered by the "First Day" Rule

A blast of chilled air finds its way into the jet bridge, offering a greeting as bracing as it is refreshing. You deplane and check emails on your smartphone while walking through the Denver International Airport. It may not look like you're clocked in, but you are mentally preparing for a business meeting. And even though you don't live in Colorado, today you'll be part of its workforce — if only for about 24 hours.

You may not realize it right now, but you'll soon join Coloradans in paying income tax, too. That's because Colorado, like two dozen other states in America, operates under a "first day" rule. This means nonresident workers will owe Colorado state taxes even if their work there is temporary. Once you set foot on "first day" soil for work, you'll pay the price come April 15.

In addition to Colorado, there are "first day" personal income tax regulations in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Illinois used to be on that list, but switched to a 30-day minimum for tax years starting after Dec. 31, 2020. If you travel for work, it's a good idea to brush up on state tax code or consult a knowledgeable tax professional [sources: Mobile Workforce Coalition, Povich].

7: Understand the State Waiting Period

There are great variations among states when it comes to requiring nonresidents to pay taxes. In addition to the "first day" rule, some states have a waiting period. This waiting period allows nonresidents to earn income in the state for a specific period of time before subjecting that income to taxation.

For example, in some states, you can be a nonresident who works in-state for two to 60 days (it varies by state) before becoming liable for nonresident income tax. Alternatively, a handful of states — California, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin — have earned income thresholds instead of waiting periods. Georgia has a combination, in which you must have taxes withheld if you've worked for more than 23 days or else made $5,000 or 5 percent or more of your total income in Georgia [sources: Mobile Workforce Coalition, Povich].

Arizona and Hawaii don't tax income from out-of-state sources if you're a nonresident [sources: Arizona Dept. of Revenue, Hawaii Dept. of Taxation]. There are other states in which personal income tax is not withheld for residents or nonresidents. Despite this lack of income tax, you may still need to file a tax return in those states if you live or temporarily work there.

6: Working in a Tax-free State Is Still Taxing

There are seven U.S. states that do not withhold income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming [source: Mobile Workforce Coalition]. Two other states — New Hampshire and Tennessee — tax interest and dividend income, but not earnings [source: Dzombak].

Still that doesn't mean you won't pay taxes on the income you earn while working in these nine states. If you work in one or more of these income tax-free states, but live in a state that does withhold income tax, you'll still need to pay taxes on the money you earned in the tax-free state. You'll claim these earnings on the tax return you file in your resident state.

For example, Lois lives in New Mexico but earned an income of $25,000 while working in Texas. Lois won't owe any state income taxes in Texas, because Texas is one of the nine states in the U.S. that doesn't require its workers to pay personal income tax. However, because Lois lives in New Mexico — and New Mexico is a state that withholds personal income tax, she will need to report her Texas income on the taxes she files in New Mexico [source: Moreno].

5: State Income Tax Isn't the Same as Federal

When it comes to paying personal income tax, it's rarely as simple as "one and done." Especially for people who live in one state and work in another. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that if you file federal taxes, you've covered all the bases. State income taxes follow entirely different rules and regulations. What's more, these rules and regulations vary by state. People who live in one state and work in another could find themselves filing tax returns in multiple states. In fact, there are accounts of road warriors who work in as many as 20 or 30 states, each with different rules for reporting income for taxes [sources: Moreno, Povich].

This presents a significant record-keeping problem not only for workers, but also for the companies that employ them. As a result, some multistate companies, as well as tax professionals, are turning to software developers for programs that can track interstate taxation among employees. However, the complexities — and ever-changing nature of the tax code — make it a monumental task.

For example, some regulations tax nonresident workers who enter the state for one day, which poses issues for workers who might do business on a smartphone during a lengthy layover or attend a conference at which work is discussed [source: Povich].

5: Know Where You Don't Have to Pay Taxes

The location of your employer's corporate headquarters doesn't have any effect on where you pay taxes, if you work at a branch office in another state. For example, you might live in Connecticut and work for a California-based company, but if your office is in Connecticut, that's the state that gets to withhold your taxes and require you to file a return, because you actually perform your job duties in Connecticut instead of California.

The only complication to this is if your company inadvertently withholds taxes in its home state. In that case, here's some bad news – you may have to file a tax return there in order to get a refund [source: Moreno].

A different sort of complication arises if you work in the U.S. capital. The District of Columbia allows residents of any U.S. state an exemption from D.C. income taxes, although they still must file in their home states. Other multistate regions aren't quite as accommodating. In fact, some would even argue that some states are overtaxing workers. Keep reading to find out more.

4: Be Wary of the New York-Connecticut Trap

As we previously explained, there are many states with reciprocity agreements that save taxpayers from having to file tax returns in two places. Unfortunately, though, not all neighboring states have such agreements.

If you live in Connecticut, for example, but work in New York, you'll have to file both a nonresident tax return in New York and a resident tax return in Connecticut. You'll be allowed to claim a tax credit for income tax paid in New York on work you do there by filing a Form CT 1040, Schedule 2, and attaching your New York return, according to the state of Connecticut's official online portal [source: Ct.gov].

Another problem is that the credit amounts to the lesser of the tax paid to New York or the tax that Connecticut would impose on the wages, meaning that if you earned a lot of money in New York, you still owe taxes in Connecticut even with the credit. If the amount owed is $1,000 or more, you'll also be required to file quarterly estimated tax payments to Connecticut, due April 15, June 15, September 15 and January 15. See, we warned you this was going to get complicated [source: Ct.gov].

3: File in the Right Order

Most people filing a state tax return only need to do so in a single state. For those who live in one state and work in another, the process is a bit more complicated.

There's a specific order in which you'll need to file multiple state tax returns. First, you'll file in the nonresident state or states in which you've earned income. For example, if you were not a resident of Missouri, but worked there for three months as a contractor, you'll need to submit your tax return to Missouri before submitting one to your home state. Keep in mind, you'll only need to do a tax return in your home state if it levies income tax against its residents.

The reason for filing in the nonresident state first is to determine the amount of credit or deduction you can claim for taxes already paid in other states before completing the tax return from your resident or "home" state. Even if you don't owe taxes in your home state — perhaps your only income for the tax year was earned in another state — you may still need to file a state tax return to get a refund [source: Caplinger].

2: Be Aware of Telecommuting Complications

For many years, Sarah worked and lived in New Mexico, the same state in which her employer was located. Then she and her family moved to Colorado, where she continued to work for her employer.

So, what's the problem? The solution is simple enough, right? Sarah will need to file taxes in the state in which she lives and works: Colorado. Most states have a physical presence rule, and Colorado is one of them. In short, this means Sarah's wages will be taxed where the work is done.

If Sarah lived in one of the five states that does not follow the physical presence rule (Alaska, Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire and Delaware), she'd have different rules to follow. The wages she earned would be taxable in the state where she lives and the state where her employer is located.

There are a couple of exemptions, including an exemption for work that could only be performed out of state. An employee who works in sales and covers an out-of-state sales territory is a good example of this exemption [sources: Schapiro, Avalara].

A few states have also issued exemptions for workers affected by COVID-19 "stay at home" orders. Georgia, for example, has offered tax protections to workers who temporarily relocated to Georgia and telecommuted to work. They do not have to pay Georgia income tax for the time that they were working in Georgia under an official stay at home order or during quarantine from exposure to COVID-19 [source: Georgia Dept. of Revenue].

Most states have not changed their income tax rules in response to the pandemic, so check with your state department of revenue for more information. (The law firm Hodgson Russ has provided a chart showing the tax implications related to telecommuting during the COVID-19 crisis for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Many states, according to their chart, have so far not offered any specific guidance.)

1: There May Be Corporate Tax Implications

Telecommuting from another state may not pose a problem for you, but it could for your employer. When a telecommuter works for an employer in another state, the employer establishes "nexus," or a business presence, in the telecommuter's state. And this can have tax consequences. The employer may need to file a corporate income tax return in the state in which their employee is working.

In general, these corporate tax implications have little to do with your personal income tax. Although you could get some blowback from an employer who is reluctant to spread its corporate reach to another state for just one employee, there's not much to worry about from an individual standpoint, aside from being phased out. The truth is, the location of your employer's corporate offices has nothing to do with your tax responsibility. You'll pay taxes in the state or states where you work, as long as they tax personal income.

In most cases, states are giving corporations a pass for employees who relocated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, state tax authorities are not requiring corporations to establish "nexus" in their state if an employee relocates there temporarily due to the pandemic.

Again, if your employer mistakenly withholds tax in the state in which it is headquartered, you'll have to voluntarily file a return in that state. That way, you can get any refund you are due [source: Moreno].

If you've been required to work from home because of COVID-19 restrictions, you may be wondering whether you can deduct any home-office expenses (like internet access or office supplies) from your taxes. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated deductible expenses tied to maintaining a home office — unless you are an independent contractor.

The definition of outsiders evolves

Emo Ismail, 17, was among those at the head of the crowd in Minneapolis Friday night as it faced off with police near the police precinct in flames. Ismail lives in Richfield, on the Minneapolis border, and said he often has run into young men he knew during the protests, including from neighborhood basketball games.

“I do believe there were some people who came in to cause trouble and not to honor his (Lloyd’s) legacy,” he said. “Frankly, it’s disrespectful. But I can’t blame them – some of us channel our anger in different ways.”

Emo Ismail, 17, watches a protest in honor of George Floyd on Thursday, May 28, 2020, in Minneapolis. (Photo: Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY NETWORK)

Mat Davis, a volunteer with Black Lives Matter in Indianapolis, said no outside people were invited to Saturday’s protest. He said the media is often quick to take the word from local and police officials instead of protest organizers.

“Then we are left with not only the damage control but a full-on smear campaign,” Davis said.

Some peaceful protesters say the violent actors meet a different definition of “outsider” that extends beyond where they live: They are often white and associated with anarchist, anti-facists – also known as antifa – or far-right extremist groups.

“When you break it down it’s, antifa messing things up,” Daniel Diaz, a Rochester resident protesting in the city, said Saturday. “It's people from these suburbs. They’re coming over and they’re messing things up.”

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