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What 'snowbirds' should know about part-year residency

After the latest round of snow and frigid temperatures hit Minnesota this week, there were undoubtedly more than a few "snowbirds" -- those who seek refuge from the winter in warmer climes -- happy to be thousands of miles away from the place they call home for much of the year.

While the snowbird lifestyle makes perfect sense for many Minnesotans, it's important for them to understand that while they can escape the driving snow, bitter winds, dangerous ice and frigid temperatures, they can't escape their state income tax liability.

Indeed, this is particularly important to remember at this time of the year, as the countdown to Tax Day 2017 has already begun, such that both full-time and part-year residents of Minnesota will need to start thinking about filing not just their federal income tax returns, but also their state income tax returns.

This naturally begs the question then as to when a person is considered a part-year resident of Minnesota.

Under state law, a person is treated as a part-year resident for income tax purposes if one of the following statements is applicable:

  • They moved either from or to Minnesota during the tax year and established residency (i.e. a domicile).
  • They spent a minimum of 183 days in Minnesota during the tax year, and, during that time, owned, rented, maintained or occupied a residence that 1) accommodates year-round living, and 2) is outfitted with bathing and cooking facilities.

It's important to note that this rule concerning 183 days does not apply to armed forces personnel and their spouses who are stationed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and maintain a permanent residence in another state. Furthermore, it is inapplicable to residents of North Dakota or Michigan, as these states have tax reciprocity agreements with the Minnesota.

If you are a part-year resident with questions or concerns relating to your income tax liabilities, or who has encountered problems with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options.

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