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How domicile may be determined for tax purposes

Most people in Northern California like where they live. And what’s not to like about it? Between world class professional sports teams (yes, we’re talking about the Warriors and Sharks), technological development firms, access to world renowned landmarks and restaurant choices, millions of people think the San Francisco Bay area is great.

However, it may not be so great for tax purposes. Between federal income tax, state income tax and local sales tax, taxes in California can be as high as 13 percent, depending on your income. As such, it is not uncommon for people to the Bay Area their second home for tax purposes, while their original home is in jurisdiction without state income taxes.

However, state taxing authorities may not agree with your money saving rationale, and they are notorious for chasing suspected tax cheats. With that said, it should be noted that one’s domicile determines what state income tax protocols a resident will be subject to. Before raising the ire of tax officials, it is important to understand how one’s domicile is determined.

Where do you own property ?– If you own a home in California, or a significant amount of property that keep you in the state for a significant amount of time, it is likely that you may be considered a resident.

Where is your primary source of income? – If you work inside the state for nine months or more on a consistent basis, chances are that you will be considered a resident even if you travel regularly.

Where do your kids attend school? – The same reasoning above applies, especially for school age children. College kids are not usually considered children for tax purposes.  

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