Recommend me a tax attorney in SF specializing in international tax!
July 23, 2017 9:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm a US citizen who works abroad but has some financial ties to CA. Please recommend (or otherwise tell me how to find) a good tax attorney in San Francisco who I can consult about my tax liability in CA.
posted by your hair smells like cheese! to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am not a lawyer but I am a U.S. citizen who works abroad. I know this isn't quite answering your question, but this is straightforward and you almost certainly don't need a tax attorney, unless you need help actually filing your taxes, in which case an accountant would likely be more appropriate, or if you're trying to structure an international business venture, which it doesn't sound like you are based on your question. All the information you need is here:

Basically, if you're a nonresident in California (permanently residing somewhere other than California for the entire year), you only owe taxes on California-source income. So, if you have a business that operates in California, you'd owe taxes on the business income generated in the state. If you sell property in California, you pay California taxes on the capital gains. If you own property in California, you'd still be responsible for property taxes.

If you're currently living abroad and California was the last U.S. state where you permanently resided, it's likely that you are still domiciled there (your domicile changes only when you take up residence in a different part of the U.S.). Some states impose income taxes on nonresidents who are domiciled there, but California isn't one of them. If this describes you, you should still file a tax return in California (as described in the link above) but you won't end up owing anything on your foreign-earned income, no matter how high.
posted by exutima at 11:18 AM on July 23, 2017

I'm not sure the above answer is correct re: CA not imposing income taxes on domiciled nonresidents. In my research on this (for upcoming move), CA is known to be one of the hardest states to avoid that situation.

Some links here

The first link says "Remember, the burden of proof is on you. Your tax records should include proof that you severed enough of your strongest California ties on this list (or other factors that apply to your unique situation) to prove you are a non-resident of California." which is a statement I've seen in various forms in many places. (Second link: "A California resident is anyone in the state for other than a temporary or transitory purpose. See FTB Publication 1031. Plus, it includes anyone domiciled in California who is outside the state for a temporary or transitory purpose. The burden is on you to show you’re not a Californian.")

Things like maintaing a bank account in California can potentially be an issue. I'm planning to do the same thing as you (find a tax professional who can help me double-check this liability issue).
posted by thefoxgod at 12:15 PM on July 23, 2017 [1 favorite]

Matt Whatley,

His office is in SoMa.
posted by ananci at 8:20 AM on July 24, 2017

Response by poster: If anyone's still reading, I'm NOT looking for advice on my tax matter.

I am looking for an attorney or advice on finding one.
posted by your hair smells like cheese! at 6:11 AM on August 17, 2017

Response by poster: Sorry, that came off snarkier than I meant— I'm grateful to everyone that responded :)
posted by your hair smells like cheese! at 2:38 PM on August 17, 2017

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