Trump may face hurdles in bid to become Florida resident

By Bernard Condon and Jonathan Lemire | Associated Press

NEW YORK — Donald Trump a Florida man? Not so fast.

Despite a stinging “good riddance” tweet from New York’s governor, the president’s home state may not let him go to Florida without a fight.

Trump’s plan to shift his permanent residence to Palm Beach will likely be heavily scrutinized by New York state officials, who are notorious for auditing wealthy residents seeking to flee to lower-tax states to make sure such moves are real and not just on paper. Those cases can go on for years.

“New York says just because you fill out a piece of paper, that doesn’t make you a Floridian,” said Mark Klein, a tax lawyer who has handled hundreds of tax-residency audits. “People have this misunderstanding that if you go to Florida and fill out an affidavit, you register to vote and you get a driver’s license, that is all it takes.”

Even though it appears Trump has a strong case — he’s only spent a few nights at his Trump Tower penthouse overlooking Fifth Avenue since he became president — tax experts say it’s not a matter of if he will be audited but when.

“It’s 100 percent he’ll get audited,” predicted Barry Horowitz, a tax accountant who has handled many change-of-residency cases. “They’ll be a fight.”

The general rule for avoiding New York taxes is to spend less than 184 days of the year in the state, but that’s just the beginning. Auditors and judges could look at where his business is headquartered (also in Trump Tower), the size of his various homes, where he displays his family photos and his most valuable artwork, even where he gets his teeth cleaned.

In announcing his move in a tweet late Thursday, Trump said New York City “will always have a special place in my heart!” But despite paying “millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year,” he complained, he had been “treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly tweeted: “Good riddance. It’s not like @realDonaldTrump paid taxes here anyway…”

And then New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio chimed in, tweeting, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and “Deepest condolences to the good people of Florida.”

Trump responded later Friday with a four-part tweet that blasted both Cuomo (“the brother of Fredo”) and de Blasio, saying, “I love New York, but New York can never be great again under the current leadership.”

In New York, Trump is paying a top marginal tax rate to the city and state that adds up to 12.7 percent. And because of Trump’s own tax overhaul two years ago, he can no longer deduct most of those state and local taxes on his federal return.

In Florida, Trump would pay zero income taxes and zero estate taxes.

Trump is following a well-trod path of many other septuagenarian New Yorkers who have been drawn to Florida’s year-round warmth, sunshine and low taxes. Last year alone, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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