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.
"People will think twice about spending any summer time in New York," says Robert Willens, a New York-based tax consultant. "The amount of tax they could be subjected to is likely to outweigh the benefit."...
Judge Joseph Pinto, a New York administrative law judge, made the novel ruling in a 2009 case that was affirmed last month on appeal by the New York state tax appeals tribunal. Mr. Pinto seized on what is meant by a permanent residence, which is the benchmark for whether all, or just the in-state portion, of an individual's income is subject to New York state tax.
Mr. Pinto ruled that the couple's Long Island vacation home qualifies under the law as a permanent abode because it was suitable for living year-round--whether or not the couple actually stayed in the home wasn't relevant. Under the ruling, if an owner doesn't spend a single a day in a home it could still count toward a permanent residence.
I didn't really need a reason to not buy a home in the Hamptons, but just in case I were tempted, this would pretty much kill any such desire. This, however, strikes me as one of those games (like trade wars) that New York has not thought out well before starting. My admittedly uneducated guess from knowing some New Yorkers is that more New Yorkers own 2nd homes in Connecticut than vice versa. If New York state is going to lose a tit for tat tax war if this is the case.