There are a lot of nuances when it comes to filing your taxes. One person's tax situation may be very different from another's, and state tax filing requirements vary widely. You might be wondering, "Can you file state taxes first?" The answer to this depends a bit on how you are filing, but there is a basic rule of thumb that federal should be filed first.
Can You File State Taxes First?
Generally, you'll want to file your federal taxes before your state taxes. This is because most state tax filing processes will use information from your federal return to help fill out your state return. For instance, you will likely need figures like your federal adjusted gross income to calculate your owed state taxes.
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Additionally, if you're mailing paper returns, most states require you to enclose a copy of your federal return with your state return. Furthermore, if you're e-filing your state return using an online filing program, you may not be able to file your state return until after you've filed your federal return, explains H&R Block. In this case, you'll just need to make sure that you enter the correct information from your federal return into the state filing program. Are you not sure where to file state income taxes? Ask a tax adviser or call your state's tax department for help.
Overall, it's generally best to file your federal taxes before your state taxes, but there may be some exceptions depending on your individual situation. It may be tempting to file state taxes first if the date acceptance begins is earlier than the date federal acceptance begins. It's best to check with a tax adviser to see if this is wise in your specific situation.
Filing State Taxes First
Theoretically, you could calculate your federal taxes manually and then complete a paper tax return form for your state using the information calculated on your federal return. You could then submit that paper tax return to the proper authority in your state as long as it doesn't require a copy of your federal tax return too.
Still, if you are going through the effort of calculating your federal taxes first, you might as well finish the process and submit them before you move forward with your state taxes. This is a best practice for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it will help you avoid errors and possibly the need to refile your state taxes later if you made mistakes.
Which Tax Refunds Come First?
Is it normal to get your state refund before your federal return? In short, it depends. The state where you reside and the way in which you filed your taxes will play a role in when you can expect to receive any refunds. If your state tax return came before the federal, there may not be anything strange going on even if you sent them in the opposite order.
Generally, if you e-file your state and federal taxes together or if you file them separately but very close to each other, you should get both refunds around the same time. In some cases, however, you may get your state refund before your federal refund. This is especially true if you e-filed your state return several weeks before submitting your federal return.
It can even vary from year to year. For example, if the state where you live makes changes to its tax laws or computer systems, that could affect processing times for state refunds. The same is true for the IRS; if the federal agency is dealing with any changes or delays, that could push back the timeline for processing federal refunds. If you're curious, you can check a "where's my refund" tool through the IRS, and many states have something similar. These tools will tell you when you should expect to receive your money.
In the end, it's important to remember that there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to state and federal tax refunds. The best thing you can do is be patient and wait for your state and federal refunds to come in according to their own timelines.