Man Reunites With High School Sweetheart After 40 Years - Changes Domicile to Paris.
by Brian Gordon, CPA
In a recent case heard by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Kevin Law, it was determined that Stephen Patrick changed his domicile from NYC to Paris. According to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance's Audit Guidelines there are five primary factors used to determine domicile. They are the comparison of Homes, Business Ties, Family Ties, Near and Dear Possessions and Day Count.
I wonder if the department should add a sixth factor to determine domicile. Love. Indirectly, it is in the guidelines already. The guidelines, as well as other case decisions discuss the issue of lifestyle, or “general habit of life”. It involves more than just a comparison of factors, but includes the reason the taxpayer chose that particular location as his domicile. In this case, Mr. Patrick chose Paris, France because he reunited with his high school sweetheart who was living in Europe for forty years. He decided to marry her and move to Paris to be with her and her son. The focus of his life became their new home in Paris.
Mr. Patrick was not a statutory resident of NYC since he was present there for less than 184 days; however, he was in NYC considerably more days than he was in Paris. This was a factor on which the NYC auditors placed a lot of weight in their determination of domicile. As it turned out, the ALJ felt that the “habit of life” was more important in this case. Domicile is not simply an issue of a mathematical day count. Don’t get me wrong, this is important; however, it does not tell the entire story. Mr. Patrick spent many days in NYC visiting doctors, while the days in Paris were spent with the long lost love of his life. What would you decide?