What Is Residency? Can I Be a Resident of More Than One State?

So there's different concepts to residency but the most common concept is from an individual perspective. Let's say you live in one state and you move to another state. Your residency changes and you know if you pick up and leave California and move to Texas and you never come back to California, no problem. The problem is is that people and businesses aren't usually that simple as a person can have multiple contacts with multiple states. They might travel around, they might live in several different states for a period of time and so residency is really where the tax home is for the taxpayer and what residency really entails is an analysis of what's called domicile. Domicile is where you plant your flag. It's where you set up your tax jurisdiction and the way that most state residency rules work is in order to sever residency with the state, you have got to pick up your flag out of that state and plant it in another. There's a variety of factors that go into this but residency is a very complicated thing because people say "well can I be resident of two states" and yes, from a physical perspective you can be a resident of two states. You can say I live in California and I summer in Colorado or you know whatever it is, but the reality of the situation is with residency is even if you go back and forth between two states, your domicile is in one of those states and one of those states has controlling jurisdiction over you. You can't have a situation where you have two controlling jurisdictions, so it's really important from a residency analysis to stop thinking about it from a "where do I live perspective" and start thinking about it from a tax perspective and that's where a lot of people get into trouble.


Sam Brotman, JD, LLM, MBA

Owner and Director of Legal
Brotman Law