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Wendy Emerson
/ Categories: By George H. Gray

Have You Really Changed Your "TAX HOME?"

HAVE YOU REALLY CHANGED YOUR “TAX HOME”

At one time or another we have all heard an anecdote concerning a person who has – sometimes successful/sometimes not – attempted to change his or her “tax home” from New York to another state. One’s “tax home” is where he or she is “domiciled” and it is different than where one “resides.” A person can have more than one residence, but he or she should have only one place of “domicile.” “Domicile” is defined as

the place at which a person has been physically present and that the person regards as home; a person’s true, fixed, principal and permanent home, to which that person intends to return and remain even though currently residing elsewhere.”

There are two elements of proving domicile: documentary evidence and evidence of the “center of the person’s affairs.” To change domicile from New York to another state, a person must show not only that he or she is domiciled in the new state but that he or she has abandoned their domicile in New York.

Documentary Evidence. – While essential to prove a change of domicile, New York considers documentary evidence (driver’s license, voter registration and the like) as merely the start point of an inquiry into a change of “tax home.” As important as securing identification in the new state is the relinquishment of proof of identity in New York. Nevertheless, New York Tax authorities view this documentary evidence is easy to obtain and easy to change and may not reflect a change of attitude toward where you consider your “home.” Many persons are tripped up by not changing from their New York address on bank and brokerage statement or the address on tax returns. To be successful, a person must make a change of address!

Center of Affairs. – This element relates to the place of your “home” for business and social affairs and the location of items near and dear to your heart. Your place of domicile is the center of your life and the address you identify for tax, social and civic purposes. It is your home address for all tax filings and the place you enroll as a “resident” member in civic, social and religious organizations. Equally as important is to relinquish membership in clubs, congregations and organizations in New York, or, at the very least, enroll as a “non-resident” member. New York looks at things as simple as where you maintain your personal photos and the location of your jewelry and “good” china to determine your true “domicile.”

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