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Becoming a MA resident [Dec. 28th, 2008|01:47 pm]
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b0st0n

[sakristne]
I graduated in May from NEU and have since continued to live and work in Boston. I'm still listed as a resident of NH where I'm originally from, since that's my "permanent" address, but for tax purposes I want to file as a MA resident. I don't have a car and won't anytime soon so I won't be driving here, but I do have a NH driver's license.

So the question is, what do I have to do to become a MA resident? Mass.gov wants me to go to the RMV and change my license, but I won't be driving here so that doesn't make sense to me. Do I still need a MA license? Can I just keep my NH one til that expires and then renew it again in NH or here if I have a car by then? Do I need to actually fill paperwork out to become a resident or can I just change my address with the post office?

Thanks in advance!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: myselftheliar
2008-12-28 07:10 pm (UTC)

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All I did was get an MA Liquor ID (an over 21 non drivers ID), and registered to vote in MA. All done at the RMV
[User Picture]From: aspasia02
2008-12-28 07:23 pm (UTC)

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That's bizarre. I was an MA resident for ten years and never did any of that.

Residency is based more on taxes than anything else. If you work in MA, pay your taxes in MA, vote in MA, and live there for the majority of the calendar year, you're a resident. Drivers licenses don't play much into it.
[User Picture]From: j3ss
2008-12-28 09:55 pm (UTC)

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I could be wrong but I think everyone who works in Mass has to pay taxes here. My co-worker lives in NH and pays MA income taxes. I would think they would want to have more strict residency rules these days because of gay marriage and the new health insurance laws. But I'm just speculating.

I think the living in MA would be the key fact of what you describe.
[User Picture]From: aspasia02
2008-12-28 09:59 pm (UTC)

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You're right (and I was unclear in what I wrote). When you work in MA, you pay state taxes here. That's not to say you can't also pay state taxes elsewhere, but that's only if you also work in a business located out of state. The MA tax forms make you declare if you are a full-time resident or part-time resident (ideal for students & people who hold a second job outside of MA).

But yep, living in MA is the #1 factor.
[User Picture]From: l_o_v_e
2008-12-29 04:38 am (UTC)

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And if you live in MA and work in another state, you have to file in both states.
[User Picture]From: m00n
2008-12-29 04:11 pm (UTC)

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Even if you work only one hour a year in MA, you *still* have to file income taxes here, just as you would any other state. Taxes really have nothing to do with residency.

Residency, for what it's worth, is really a pretty fluid concept. That being said, if you live more than 50 percent of the time in Massachusetts and don't change your license to reflect that, I'm pretty sure you're in violation of the law any time you drive a car in either state.
[User Picture]From: sallythetimid
2008-12-28 07:24 pm (UTC)

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http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/ciswel/WELTOMAS.HTM

"There is no formal procedure for establishing a legal residence in Massachusetts."
[User Picture]From: littlestarletta
2008-12-28 07:35 pm (UTC)

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I don't think a MA license is needed to get residency, but is a clear sign of living here.
[User Picture]From: _gatecrasher_
2008-12-28 09:05 pm (UTC)

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and allows for less hassle when going out and about around town at night...
[User Picture]From: sup3rmark
2008-12-29 07:19 am (UTC)

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i've never encountered a bar that required a Mass license, though i've run across liquor stores that do...
[User Picture]From: m00n
2008-12-29 04:16 pm (UTC)

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There is this odd quirk of Massachusetts licensing law that puts the onus on the night club/liquor store/restaurant if they serve/sell alcohol to someone with a fake, out of state ID. Whereas if they present a fake Massachusetts ID, the fault rests with the state. Thus every once in a while you hear about a club or a bar that tries to refuse to take out of state licenses or requires a second form of ID. I'm not sure that's legal, however, since it's basically a violation of the Interstate Commerce Clause.
[User Picture]From: fibro_witch
2008-12-28 07:45 pm (UTC)

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Well I guess it depends on what you want to do.

If you want to file taxes as a Mass resident, then just get the tax paperwork from the IRS-MA division.

If you want to vote in MA, you can go to city hall and register to vote. They will ask for proof of citizenship, and proof of residence. Or you can go to the registry and get both at once, thanks to the motor voter bill.

The post office just delivers mail, it has nothing to do with your right to vote, or residency.

Edited at 2008-12-28 07:46 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: fibro_witch
2008-12-29 01:29 pm (UTC)

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Any utility bill would work or your lease.
[User Picture]From: cowsandmilk
2008-12-28 08:09 pm (UTC)

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I didn't do anything beyond the forwarding mail from my old address to my address in Boston and registering to vote. When my old license expires, I'll get around to getting a MA one. I don't think there's a formal procedure. If you act like you're a resident, you are. That just means voting here and paying your taxes here.

I had the same questions when I moved, but at some point figured out that if I filed my taxes for that first year saying I moved to the state in August, they probably wouldn't care about the license and all that nonsense.
[User Picture]From: m00n
2008-12-29 04:17 pm (UTC)

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A lot of people (including myself) take this attitude because of the high cost of converting an out of state license (~$90 I believe). If you don't own a car it really doesn't seem to make much difference. And even if you do drive, it is very difficult for police officers pulling you over to prove you wrong.
[User Picture]From: empressov
2008-12-28 08:20 pm (UTC)

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If you want to pay MA taxes, just file. Paying taxes here is pretty much the most immediate way to have a verifiable claim of past residency. See, you "establish" residency by living here. Which you've already done. I'm presuming you want something to prove your residency perhaps for tuition purposes or something?
[User Picture]From: jeveuxsavoir
2008-12-28 09:13 pm (UTC)

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Even though I don't have my own car anymore, I switched my license over to MA from NC this fall. I did it more so I wouldn't have to carry around my passport if I just wanted to go out for a drink or something, but also to make sure that I wouldn't have any other legal ties to NC for tax purposes - they were still taxing me on income from MA when I hadn't even been in NC for more than a few days of 2007, but it was still my "permanent residence."

I've no idea if that makes any sense, but it confused the hell out of me when I was trying to figure out what to do as well.
[User Picture]From: m00n
2008-12-29 04:19 pm (UTC)

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Wouldn't that mean you were paying income taxes in two different states on the same income? That doesn't seem right...
[User Picture]From: dianamp04
2008-12-29 06:48 pm (UTC)

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That's odd - I have an out of state license (my car isn't technically in my name because I bought it from my parents and I'm lazy) and have not been taxed by MO since the year I moved (but that was because I worked in both states that year).
[User Picture]From: arrowwhiskers
2008-12-28 11:31 pm (UTC)

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I agree with above comments, you just register to vote, and if you have a Massachusetts address as a permanent address then you're probably all set. I registered to vote in Arizona, and they told me that I was therefore an Arizona resident. But I'd also agree with above comments that if you want to use your license as an ID, you should probably change it, too, especially if you're not planning to move back to NH for awhile.
[User Picture]From: geniusorafool
2008-12-29 12:56 am (UTC)

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Stop watching NASCAR and start dating girls who have all their teeth - then you'll be a MA resident.

*Just a sorry attempt at humor from a former Granite State resident*
[User Picture]From: sup3rmark
2008-12-29 07:22 am (UTC)

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mass tax code says if you spend more than 190 days or something (not sure of the exact number) here, then you're a full-time resident. look into the real number, because i may have made that one up.

if you don't drive, that's it. unless you drink, then you might at least want a liquor ID, but i don't think that makes you an actual resident.

try registering to vote here, though, and you'll get called up for jury duty. sidenote: i'm apparently arrestable in nyc because i've been getting jury notices down there and didn't know. whoops.