Brian Faughnan over at the Worldwide Standard calls it Eliot Spitzer's death wish. I think he's pretty close to the mark. It seems that Spitzer's tax people have decided to change the rules of residency for tax purposes in New York in a new and novel way – all in an effort to wring money out of Derek Jeter, the New York Yankee shortstop. The article Faughnan links to is here.
Jeter is not accused of lying about living in Florida to evade taxes, which is why the state is seeking taxes and interest, but no penalties.
Instead of arguing that Jeter is a New York resident based on the rule that he spent at least 183 days of the year in the state, tax officials contend that his ties to New York are so strong that this qualifies as his "primary residence."
The novel concept? This gem:
The state claims that Jeter "keeps certain personal items near and dear" in his $12.7-million New York City apartment, and that "he has immersed himself in the New York community," according to an administrative law judge's ruling in the case. The case is pending, with new filings due by Sunday.
Faughnan puts it this way:
New Yorkers are sophisticated enough to recognize that the city's confiscatory tax rates encourage athletes and entertainers not to make their permanent residences there. And if Jeter asserts that he intends to reside permanently in Florida once he's retired from baseball, what New Yorker will hold that against him? After all, that's a New York cliche.
Heck, it's a standard joke that the majority of people in Florida are New Yorkers. It may be an exaggeration, but it isn't much of one. The rule should be the rule. If Jeter was there more than the 183 days, he should be taxed. If not, Spitzer cannot change the rules on his whim. I am rapidly becoming convinced that Eliot Spitzer is actually not a very smart man. But I'm guessing I know the next novel expansion of tax authority Spitzer will try: