For those who consider two or more states to be “home,” it is important to understand the legal distinctions between residency and domicile, and the opportunity for tax savings based on where you spend your time.
Residency controls for Income Tax Purposes
The IRS allows you to choose your state of residency as long as you do not spend 183 days a year in one state. In other words, its where you aren’t, not where you are, that controls residency. This is strategic since residency controls for income tax purposes.
Domicile controls for Estate Tax Purposes
Domicile is very important for estate tax planning, and it is vital factor in order to preserve as much of your wealth as possible. Where you spend your last days can have a drastic effect on your family’s inheritance since domicile controls for estate tax purposes.
How a beloved Dog earned his bone
In February 2017, the CEO of Match.com argued in the State of New York tax court that he was a new resident of Texas after having moved there, and therefore a non-resident of New York.
New York claimed that he still owed state taxes. The CEO claimed that he did not.
While the CEO had factors showing that he had ties to both states, the deciding factor came down to his most beloved possession – his Dog – having moved to Texas. Based on this, the court found that he (and his Dog) were Texas residents and therefore was not responsible for New York state taxes. (In re Gregory Blatt 2017)