September 2015

October 01, 2015 | Revenue & Economic Update

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released new data that capture interstate migration patterns for calendar years 2012 and 2013. The data are based on the mailing addresses reported on tax returns. For Pennsylvania, more than five million federal tax returns were matched between the two years. The database of matched returns allows the IRS to identify a migrating taxpayer’s origin and destination states.

The data reveal a net outflow from Pennsylvania of 21,578 individuals (includes dependents) and $935 million of adjusted gross income reported on tax returns for tax year 2012. The states of New York (6,925), New Jersey (3,858) and Maryland (1,056) were the primary states to record a net inflow into Pennsylvania. Those individuals reported $475 million of adjusted gross income on their tax returns. The states of Florida (-9,092), Texas (-4,663), North Carolina (-2,913) and South Carolina (-2,481) were the primary states to record a net outflow from Pennsylvania. Those individuals reported more than $1.0 billion of adjusted gross income. 


The data also include breakdowns by age and income levels. Those data show that individuals aged 55 to 64 comprised roughly one-sixth (16.9 percent) of net migrants, but more than one-third of the total dollar amount (-$356 million) reported on tax returns. Those aged 65 and older comprised the same share of net migrants (16.5 percent), but a much smaller share of the dollar amount reported on tax returns (-$162 million). These age classifications are based on the age of the primary taxpayer and will include some younger dependents.

The IRS migration data differ from U.S. Census Bureau migration data because they do not include individuals who do not need to file a tax return, such as certain lower income and elderly individuals. The data also exclude most temporary relocations of college-age students. Therefore, the net outflow from Pennsylvania was not due to college students returning to their home states. The IRS data show that the 25 and younger age group accounted for 2,661 net migrants from the state.

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