Do U.S. Expats Need to File California State Taxes?

Did you know? You need to file your U.S. Federal Taxes every single year? Yep, no matter where in the world you live in as a U.S. Citizen or Greencard Holder, you are required to report your worldwide income to the IRS. Just see this post we wrote to learn more about that.

Now a tricker question is: Do you still need to file California States Taxes as a U.S. expat?

filing state taxes as a us expat

Are you no longer domiciled in the U.S.? For those who don’t know what domicile means, it’s that you don’t consider yourself to have a permanent home in the states that you will return to if your job contract expires, for example.

 If you are still domiciled in California, you will most likely need to file a state return every year!

If you’re no longer domiciled in the U.S., then here’s a simple guide to let you know if you still need to continue to file your state taxes as a U.S. Expat:

Did you live in California for any part of the year?

  • Yes: You will need to file as Part-Year Resident, skip down below
  • No: Continue on

Did you earn any California sourced income during the year?

  • Yes: You will need to file as Non-Resident, skip down below
  • No: You don’t need to file
  • I don’t know: See below – What is California Sourced Income?

What is California Sourced Income?

  • Money/income earned from a physical property located in California (i.e. rental income from your old Californian home).
  • Money/income earned while you worked physically in California State (i.e. any income including normal salary from your non-US employer) while on a business trip from a company located in California.

Other Californian Income Sources are listed here.

California Specific Filing Details

As a Part Year Resident: You are taxed on all income received while being a resident of California.

As a Non-Resident: You are taxed only on income from California sources.

If you have California sourced income: You will need to file a California State Tax Return, and your total gross worldwide income is more than the relevant threshold.

Expat Tax Benefits For U.S. Californians abroad:

Which expat tax benefits does California State allow?

  • Moving Expenses: Yes ✓
  • Foreign Earned Income Exclusion: No X
  • Foreign Tax Credit: No. X

How do you avoid paying State Taxes in the future? Check out our article here.

Is this a lot to process?

Figuring out if you need to pay state taxes as a Californian expat abroad can be overwhelming and confusing. So we’ll cut to the chase and just say: Use us. We at MyExpatTaxes can help you out with this stuff (ie: your state tax filings) in a affordable way. Click here to sign up for our app, and get ready for an enjoyable ride!

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