Previously, we began looking at a California tax dispute involving the issue of residency. As we noted last time, residency can be a complicated topic in tax disputes, particularly when an individual maintains multiple homes across the country. For those who do own multiple residences, it is important to understand the tax implications, and to plan accordingly.
Every state has different residency requirements when for income tax purposes, so the rules used by the tax authority in one state where an individual owns property are not necessarily the same as those in another state where the individual owns property. Here in Georgia, the rule is that taxpayers continue to be taxable in Georgia for income tax purposes until they establish legal residence or domicile in another state.
Residence and domicile are often assumed to have the same meaning, but there is generally a difference in the way states use these terms. Residence usually refers to the place where an individual is temporarily located, while domicile refers to the location where an individual intends to make a permanent home. A taxpayer may be domiciled in one state while having residences in other states.
Again, tax laws vary in terms of how they figure an individual’s tax liability. In some states, taxpayers are taxed even though they are not domiciled in a state, while others use some definition of domicile as a factor in the definition of residency. This can become complicated, because the taxpayer’s intent is not always clear.
Tax planning around residency and domicile issues is important in order to avoid disputes with taxing authorities. When these disputes do arise, working with an experienced tax attorney can help ensure a taxpayer’s rights and interests are protected.