MIAMI – In an article on President Trump’s decision to establish his legal residence in Florida, The New York Times reported that changing one’s legal home is not so simple.
New York has a platoon of state auditors who zealously examine whether people are trying to skirt paying its state and local taxes by improperly claiming that they live elsewhere.
Tax experts say that convincing auditors that a taxpayer has gone from being a New Yorker to being a Floridian involves more than filing a “declaration of domicile” form, as Donald Trump and Melania Trump, the first lady, did in Palm Beach County Circuit Court in September.
And the burden of proof would be on him.
“Unlike the current impeachment hearings, where the burden of proof is on the House of Representatives, here the burden of proof is on the president to prove that he is no longer a New York resident,” said Michael Kosnitzky, who is the co-leader of Pillsbury’s Private Wealth practice in Miami and New York. “The burden is squarely on him.”
One issue that the tax authorities consider is “have you abandoned your New York residence?” Kosnitzky said.
But the state considers more than whether abandoning a New York residence means giving up a brick-and-mortar house, like Trump’s home on the 58th floor of Trump Tower.
“The term they use is where you have established strong and enduring ties,” Mr. Kosnitzky said. “He’s associated with New York. He’s Mr. New York. It’s hard for Mr. New York to disavow his residency. It’s not insurmountable, but he’s associated with New York.”