Connecticut residents who decided to take Governor Malloy’s advice to telecommute while Metro-North service was suspended may be saddled with a harsh penalty for their decision: the telecommuter tax.
The telecommuter tax derives from a New York state rule known as the “convenience of the employer” rule. Under this rule, if a nonresident with a New York employer chooses to spend some of his work days working from home, New York will tax the part of his salary he earns in his home state despite the fact that the home state can also tax that income. The choice to telecommute results in two state tax bills on the same wages.
The rule is both unfair and unwise. Connecticut residents should not be punished for using the Internet to get to work. They should certainly not be punished when government authorities urge them to do so.
In past sessions of Congress, Connecticut delegates have sponsored legislation that would abolish the telecommuter tax, prohibiting New York (or any state) from taxing nonresidents on the wages they earn when they are physically present in a different state. Such legislation must be reintroduced and ¬ at long last ¬ enacted. We do not need another Metro-North derailment, 9/11, or Superstorm Sandy to remind us that telework can mitigate losses when catastrophes occur and that taxing a disaster recovery tool makes no sense.
Nicole Belson Goluboff, Esq.