More than half of those who were audited lost, and the average collected by New York state between 2015 and 2017 was $144,270 per audit, Monaeo said. In addition to the traditional audit methods the state uses to make sure a taxpayer isn’t gaming the system — like checking taxpayer’s credit card bills and travel schedules — New York is using a whole new set of high-tech tools, including cellphone records, social media feeds, veterinary and dentist records. Auditors are even conducting in-home inspections to look inside taxpayer’s refrigerators.
“If you’re a high earner in New York and you move to Florida, your chances of a residency audit are 100 percent,” said Barry Horowitz, a partner at the WithumSmith+Brown accounting firm. “New York has always been aggressive. But it’s getting worse.”
Mark Klein, chairman of Hodgson Russ tax attorneys, says his office is now working on about 200 tax-residency audits and the number is growing as more wealthy New Yorkers head for the exits.
“We’re seeing a huge uptick in our practice,” Klein said. “I’m seeing dozens of extremely high-income individuals actually leaving New York.”