Thursday, March 31, 2005

New York Targets Telecommuters

In a ruling that is breathtaking for its government hubris, the state of New York has ruled that telecommuters in other states have to pay New York income taxes on their entire income - even if they live and spent the vast majority of their time in another sate!
A telecommuter who lives out of state while working by computer for a New York employer must pay New York tax on his full income, the state's highest court ruled Tuesday in a case that could have wide implications in the growing practice.

The Court of Appeals said that computer programmer Thomas Huckaby who lives in Nashville, Tenn., owed New York income tax for his full salary, not just the time he spent working at his employer's New York offices.
New York is famous for pick-pockets, but the politicians in the state are worse.

So what is this guy in Tennessee getting for his New York state income taxes? According to the state of New York, you pay taxes to the state for the privilege of working. Check out this quote from the attorney who prosecuted the case:
"New York provides the job, New York provides the professional opportunity, and New York should be able to tax that income, even if the employee for his own convenience was working outside of New York state"
You got that? The state doesn't owe you a damn thing in return for your taxes. You owe them taxes since it is they who are responsible for you having a job.

New York is going to do its best to run more and more businesses out its state. As the article noted, there has been a 200% increase in the number of telecommuters since 2000. Let's hope that other states avoid this, or that congress passes a law that overturns our runaway judiciary.

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