Tuesday, February 18, 2014

High Court Rules That Maintaining NY Property Doesn't Make a Person "Statutory Resident"

The Village Voice reports:
John Gaied has owned a multi-family residential building in Staten Island since 1999. From 2001 to 2003, he paid the gas and electric bills for one of the apartments in the building. That apartment's telephone number was in his name. He had keys to that apartment and covered its rent himself. The building was in the same neighborhood as an automotive service business he ran.

Gaied, however, listed his residence in New Jersey and filed nonresident income tax returns in New York City from 2001 to 2003. He claimed did not live in the Staten Island apartment: His parents lived there and he financially supported them.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance disagreed with that reasoning, and when state audited Gaied in 2008, it ruled that he owed New York $253,062 for unpaid income taxes he should have paid as a "statutory resident" of New York. Gaied appealed to the courts, and his case has since underscored the complicated and murky residency definitions in the New York state tax code, leaving disagreements among both tax officials and judges.

On Tuesday the state's highest court put an end to the debate. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals reversed a previous court's ruling and sided with Gaied.
Huge victory for lower taxes.