Imagine you are working for a New York Company. They allow you to telecommute because you are their southeast sales manager. You are in Atlanta, and all of a sudden you receive a letter from the State of New York, It is an income tax audit because you are working for a New York Company, and you did not pay state taxes to New York.
That is what the New York Court of Appeals has decided.
As telecommuting becomes a more viable option for the modern day worker (some are even saying that telecommuting is necessary for national security), who better to put a speed bump on the road to progress than the state tax system? Today, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that an out-of-state telecommuter is liable for a full year’s worth of New York state income tax. The court’s argument is that the state of New York provided the opportunity for the job, and therefore, should be able to tax the full amount of that person’s income. Luckily for the telecommuter in question, he resides in Tennessee, which does not have state income tax, so he’s not being double taxed. Numerous telecommuters now face that daunting possibility. The court’s myopic decision today could end up backfiring — telecommuters will now be less willing to work for New York companies. Sounds like a case of “taxation without representation”, and we all remember what happened the last time that happened.