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Navigating State and Local Taxes for Special Needs Trusts: A General Guide

Understanding the state and local taxes, commonly referred to as SALT, is a crucial aspect of managing Special Needs Trusts (SNTs). The tax obligations of a trust can vary significantly from one state to another, and understanding these differences is key to ensuring compliance and minimizing tax liabilities. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key considerations for managing state and local taxes for SNTs.

Determining Resident Trust Status

One of the first steps in managing state and local taxes for an SNT is determining whether the trust qualifies as a “resident trust” in a particular state. This is important because resident trusts often have different tax obligations than non-resident trusts.

The criteria for determining resident trust status can vary by state, but common factors include:


  • Where the trust was created
  • Where the trust is administered
  • Where the trustee resides
  • Where the beneficiaries reside

For example, a trust may be considered a resident trust in a state if it was created there, even if it is administered in another state. Similarly, a trust may be considered a resident trust in a state where a beneficiary resides, even if the trust was created and is administered elsewhere. It’s important to review the specific criteria for each state where the trust may have a connection.

State Filing Requirements for First-Party and Third-Party Trusts

Once you’ve determined the resident status of the trust, the next step is to understand the state’s filing requirements for SNTs. These requirements can vary depending on whether the trust is a first-party trust (funded with the assets of the individual with a disability) or a third-party trust (funded with assets that do not belong to the beneficiary).


Some states require all resident trusts to file a state tax return, regardless of whether they are first-party or third-party trusts. Other states may have different filing requirements for first-party and third-party trusts. It’s important to review the specific requirements for each type of trust in the relevant state.

Income Source Considerations

Another key consideration in managing state and local taxes for SNTs is the source of the trust’s income. Some states tax trusts based on the source of their income. For example, a trust may be required to file a state tax return if it has income from sources within that state, even if the trust is not considered a resident trust.


In conclusion, managing state and local taxes for Special Needs Trusts can be complex, but with a clear understanding of the key considerations, it’s a task that can be navigated effectively. At BLISS 1041, we’re committed to providing the resources and expertise you need to manage these complexities. Stay tuned for our upcoming state-specific guides, which will provide detailed information on managing state and local taxes for SNTs in specific states.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as legal or tax advice. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, laws and regulations often change, and the application of them can vary widely based on the specific facts and circumstances involved. Therefore, you should always consult with a qualified tax advisor or legal professional before making any decisions or taking any actions based on the information provided in this blog post.

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