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Robin D.
Robin D., Senior Tax Advisor 4
Category: Tax
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Experience:  15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
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Our home is in Michigan. I am a homemaker and not employed.

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Our home is in Michigan. I am a homemaker and not employed. My husband works and lives in Tennessee. He leases a condo there. We also have a vacation home in Michigan. Our cars are registered in Michigan, we pay property taxes in Michigan. He has lived and worked in Tennessee for 11 years. Under the advise of a tax accountant, we amended the last three years of our Michigan Income Tax return, claiming that he should not be paying Michigan Income Tax. Tennessee has no personal income tax. The basis for the amended returns was a publication from IRS describing a person's employment address is where her/she spends thier time working. My husband travels home to see me approximately 2 times a month and always on a weekend. Michigan denied our amended returns due to the fact that He did not change the address on his driver license. We did not know that we had to do that. It would seem that with that in mind we are in violation with Secretary of State, not our income taxes. He has bank accounts in TN, He is on the city's chamber of commerce. We enclosed several sources of validation from other business owners, even a letter from a TN senator whom my husband worked on a committee with. We want to appeal this, but don't know how to substantiate it better. Our accountant insists that if the IRS ruling is that his employment address is TN than Michigan cannot overide or determine it otherwise. We recognize that we may have made a mistake by not changing his driver's license, but that does not change the fact that he has lived and worked in TN for 11 years. Please help us. Thank you. Cynthia Boyce.  I would also like to add that we don't believe we should lose our homestead tax exemption on our residence in which I reside, because it is our home.  We pay full taxes on our second home (vacation)  in MI.  We do not own any property in TN.  The Michigan Treasury said that we needed to provide them with property tax receipts for TN, in order to prove residency in TN.  We can't, we don't own the condo where he lives.  We did provide them with a letter from the landlord, stating the number of years that Bruce has rented from them.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Robin D. replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for using Just Answer.

Most states are reluctant to let go of a resident for tax purposes. You are a Michigan resident if Michigan is your permanent home. Your permanent home is the place

you intend to return to whenever you go away. A temporary absence from Michigan, such as spending the winter in another state, does not make you a part-year resident.

Michigan law defines principal residence as the one place where a person has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home to which, whenever absent he or

she intends to return and that shall continue as a principal residence until another principal residence is established. In order to verify a persons claim

that a particular property is a principal residence, Treasury will accept various documents that, taken together, establish that the person or persons filing the claim occupy the property as a principal residence. Examples include drivers license, voter registration card, canceled checks listing the property address, statements such as medical, bank

or charge accounts, income tax records indicating the mailing address and insurance policies. No one of these factors taken alone is controlling over any other factor. Documentation needs to verify occupancy between the periods of January 1 to Dec 31 of each year. Even when someone works in another state Michigan is going to assume they are still a resident of Michigan if they keep their property in Michigan and do not rent it out to someone else (this is listed under their home exemption guidelines).

Here is a question directly from their Frequently Asked Questions list for homeowners exemption;

"4. I own my home but rent an apartment closer

to my work. My apartment address is where I'm

registered to vote and is the address on my

driver's license. May I still claim my home?

No. Your apartment is considered your principal

residence. Because you vote in the township where

the apartment is located and the apartment is the

address on your driver's license."
Per the Michigan rules (and federal does not trump state on this)

You are a Michigan resident if Michigan is your permanent home.

Your permanent home is the place you intend to return to whenever you go away. A temporary absence from Michigan, such as spending the winter in a southern state, does not make you a part-year resident.

Because you and your husband continued to files a joint return and you stayed in the permanent home they deem him as a resident as well because he kept his permanent home in Michigan.

You can continue your appeal but using the federal rules for tax home is not sufficient to show to Michigan the change of residency.

I wish I could tell you that they must change their mind on this,

Robin D. and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
If we change my husband's drivers license, register to vote, change the address on his w-2 with personnel, change address on checking account already opened in TN , can we stop paying MI taxes for 2011? will we lose our property tax exemption on our main residence, even though both of our names are XXXXX XXXXX property and I still live here and maintain our home? Definitely do not want to pay more property taxes by losing the exemption.
Expert:  Robin D. replied 6 years ago.
Michigan may accept if your husband can show that he has no ties to Michigan. If the home is listed first in his name then it may be possible to change to TN but not keep that exemption as well. You are going to need to weigh the difference in not paying Michigan tax as a resident or losing your home exemption. Just because he changes all this still does not mean that Michigan will accept the fact that he ceases to be a resident. You are going to need to get a ruling from Department of Treasury to finally get this issue determined.