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Nice Work If You Can Get It: A New Yorker's Guide to Change of Domicile

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New York State has been known to question individuals who leave the state, easily identifiable as prior New York residents who file Form IT-203, Nonresident and PartYear Resident Income Tax Returns. Often, the New York State Division of Taxation (the “Division of Tax”) will argue that the taxpayer has not established sufficient evidence to relinquish New York domicile. New York places a high standard on redomiciliation: “The taxpayer must prove his subjective intent based upon the objective manifestation of that intent displayed through his conduct,” and it is always challenging for the taxpayer to show subjective intent. Therefore, it was welcome news when Judge Herbert M. Friedman Jr., an Administrative Law Judge, in Albany, New York recently ruled in favor of the taxpayer Irenee D. May.


Mr. May moved to New York State and acquired a home in Harrison, New York (the “Harrison House”), where he resided with his wife and two children. He worked for JP Morgan in New York City for almost 20 years. Mr. May was terminated from his job effective January 2005. Shortly after, Mr. May obtained a position in London, working for the Royal Bank of Scotland. Mr. and Mrs. May made plans for the family to move to London with their children. They rented an apartment in London for the whole family, including their nanny. The lease was for one year; the eventual goal of the family was to sell Harrison House and purchase a home in London.

Subsequently, the children were not accepted to the desired London schools; therefore, Mrs. May returned with the children to Harrison allowing them to continue attending their previous school in Greenwich, C.T. Mr. May’s daughter briefly attended school in London but later returned to Harrison to live with her mother and brother.