New York has decided that owners of property living in another state may still have to pay income taxes in New York. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Connecticut and New Jersey residents with a Hamptons summer cottage or a Manhattan pied-a-terre are about to get a nasty surprise: New York state wants more taxes from them.
A New York court ruled last month that all income earned by a New Canaan, Conn., couple is subject to New York state taxes because they own a summer home on Long Island they used only a few times a year. They have been hit with an additional tax bill of $1.06 million.
Tax experts and real estate brokers say this ruling could boost the tax bill for thousands of business executives who own New York City apartments they use only occasionally. It could also hurt sales in the Hamptons and New York’s other vacation-home communities.
I want to focus on this line:
Under the ruling, if an owner doesn’t spend a single a day in a home it could still count toward a permanent residence.
If every state applied this ruling and federal court does not overturn it, a person could in theory own housing property in every single state and thus owe income tax in every single state and the District of Columbia. By my rough calculation using the top marginal federal income tax rate of 35% and the sum of all the top marginal state income tax rates, a person could theoretically be taxed at a rate of 288%. (Yes, I recognize it is absurd for somebody to have property in all 50 states and DC, but the whole notion of paying income taxes in every state you own property is equally absurd.)
I urge the federal courts to overturn this ruling. A permanent residence should be and must be the state in which the person lives the most. Income should only be taxed by states once, either by residency or by where it is earned. Not both and certainly not in a state where a person is neither a resident nor an income earner.
Isn’t this why we have the interstate commerce clause in the first place? To stop states from conducting commercial and financial warfare against other states or residents of other states?