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SALT TALK: Permanent Place of Abode: Can I Call a Plumber?

Posted by Wayne K. Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Nov 30, 2015 4:59:31 PM
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So those of you who have been avidly reading my blog (thanks, Mom) know we have been examining the “permanent” aspect of Permanent Place of Abode (PPA). We will continue our examination of what it means to be permanent before we even delve into the even more complex aspect of the taxpayer’s relationship to the abode (stay tuned).

The New York State regulations set forth that in order for an abode to be permanent, it must contain “facilities ordinarily found in a dwelling, such as facilities for cooking, bathing, etc.” Now for the punch line — I have had taxpayers ask me if they take the toilet out of their home (apartment, cabin, etc.), will the home no longer constitute a PPA.

Well, other than the inconvenience this might cause to the taxpayer and his or her guests, based on current plumber’s rates, this step would likely be more costly than some good tax advice. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to this question, but I certainly wouldn’t want to plan around the lack of a toilet to win a residency case. Although I never had to actually test the issue (since we ultimately proved the taxpayer was present in New York well under 183 days), I have had auditors comment that the availability of a microwave oven to a hotel guest would constitute the requisite cooking facilities even though the taxpayer never requested one. I would hate to have an audit resolve around the issue of how much demolition I would need to do to the bathroom.

Uncertain about your exposure to permanent place of abode rules and the impact on your tax requirements? Contact me at

Wayne Berkowitz, a tax partner and head of the State and Local Tax Group at Berdon LLP, advises on the unique requirements of governments and municipalities across the nation.


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