When the incidence of coronavirus surged in New York in March, some Florida residents were stuck there, under orders to shelter in place. Some were in their own New York homes, others staying with relatives. Some who might have risked returning home had to remain to take care of loved ones during the pandemic. And unfortunately, a few Floridians found themselves in New York hospitals and then, New York rehab facilities.
Our ex-New Yorker clients who claim Florida as their legal domicile know the rule: You can’t spend more than 183 days in New York. If you exceed that threshold, especially if you have significant assets, you may face a residency audit by New York taxing authorities. And if you can’t prove your Florida residency, you could end up paying New York State income taxes. Ouch. The state has long been known for relentlessly pursuing ex-New Yorkers who claim to reside elsewhere for the purpose of avoiding taxes. Pandemic or no, New York is unlikely to become any less zealous as it copes with huge budget shortfalls.
So the question that arises is: If you’ve surpassed the 183 day threshold, will New York decide to tax you like a New Yorker? The answer is, probably not – if you can supply the appropriate documentation. Which means you must be zealous about organizing your records.
A May 15, 2020 New York Times article suggests you probably have little to fear if you were sick and getting medical treatment in New York. Otherwise, be prepared to document your Florida residency. You should show that you have set down legitimate roots in Florida with, for example, a Florida drivers license and a legitimate Florida address. It’s helpful if your banking is done in Florida, if you belong to Florida-based organizations, and if your estate plan has been created by a Florida attorney. Also, the additional time you spent in New York recently should match up with the imposition of quarantine orders.
For more on what’s needed to demonstrate legitimate Florida residency, click here.