November 10, 2020
Re: § 58.1-1821 Application: Individual Income Tax
This will reply to your letter in which you seek correction of the individual income tax assessment issued to ***** (the “Taxpayer”) for the taxable year ended December 31, 2017.
The Department received information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) indicating that the Taxpayer may have been required to file a Virginia income tax return for the 2017 taxable year. A review of the Department’s records showed that the Taxpayer had not filed a return. The Department requested additional information from the Taxpayer in order to determine if his income was taxable in Virginia. When a response was not received, the Department issued an assessment. The Taxpayer appeals, contending he was a resident of ***** (State A).
Two classes of residents, a domiciliary resident and an actual resident, are set forth in Virginia Code § 58.1-302. The domiciliary residence of a person means the permanent place of residence of a taxpayer and the place to which he intends to return even though he may reside elsewhere. For a person to change domiciliary residency to another state or country, that person must intend to abandon his Virginia domicile with no intention of returning to Virginia. Concurrently, that person must acquire a new domicile where that person is physically present with the intention to remain there permanently or indefinitely. An actual resident of Virginia means a person who, for an aggregate of more than 183 days of the taxable year, maintained his place of abode within Virginia. A Virginia domiciliary resident, therefore, working in other parts of the country or in another country who has not abandoned his Virginia residency continues to be subject to Virginia taxation. Additionally, a person who is not a domiciliary resident of Virginia, but who stays in Virginia for an aggregate of more than 183 days is also subject to Virginia taxation.
In order to change from one legal domicile to another legal domicile, there must be (1) actual abandonment of the old domicile, coupled with an intent not to return to it, and (2) an acquisition of a new domicile at another place, which must be formed by personal presence and an intent to remain there permanently or indefinitely. The burden of proving that the domicile has been changed lies with the person alleging the change.
In determining domicile, consideration may be given to the individual’s expressed intent, conduct, and all attendant circumstances including, but not limited to, financial independence, profession or employment, income sources, residence of spouse, marital status, situs of real or tangible property, motor vehicle registration and licensing, and such other factors as may be reasonably deemed necessary to determine the person’s domicile. A person’s true intention must be determined with reference to all the facts and circumstances of the particular case. A simple declaration is not sufficient to establish residency.
The Department determines a taxpayer’s intent through the information provided. A taxpayer has the burden of proving that he or she has abandoned his or her Virginia domicile. If the information is inadequate to meet this burden, the Department must conclude that he or she intended to remain indefinitely in Virginia.
The evidence provided indicates that the Taxpayer did not begin residing in Virginia until 2018. The Taxpayer’s lease agreement, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) information and 2018 Virginia part-year resident income tax return are all consistent with this conclusion. The Taxpayer also filed a 2017 State A income tax return as a resident for the entire year. In addition, the Taxpayer filed his 2017 federal income tax return with a State A address. Although the Taxpayer had at least one 2017 information return sent to a Virginia address, that is insufficient when compared to the far greater weight of the other evidence provided to conclude that the Taxpayer should have been taxable as a full, part-year or actual resident of Virginia for the 2017 taxable year. The assessment, therefore, will be abated.
The Code of Virginia sections cited are available on-line at www.tax.virginia.gov in the Laws, Rules & Decisions section of the Department’s web site. If you have any questions regarding this determination, you may contact ***** in the Office of Tax Policy, Appeals and Rulings, at *****.
Craig M. Burns