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So, is it valid to live a tax year as only a part-year resident and a nonresident, without full-residency in the background?

No. You are always a resident of one state and sometimes you can be a resident of more than one state simultaneously. You need to review each state's rules for determining residency.

From what you've written, you are still a resident of NY. Your NY residency won't end until you move from NY with no intention of returning to NY. This will be evidenced by such actions as changing your driver's license, voting registration, banking and other connections (doctors, etc.). It's not somenthing you can just decide so as to reduce tax liabilities.

I don't know the MA rules for residency intimately, but it's possible that MA may also consider you a resident based on your physical presence in the state for more than a certain number of days. If so, you will file resident returns in both states and pay state income tax to both.

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