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We live in PA and own a place in VA. With Youngest approaching college age, we are looking at the possibility for me to establish residency in VA to multiply his options for in-state tuition. DH would join me in VA after he retires and Youngest graduates high school.

I am assuming I would have to do things like get my license there, register my car, register to vote, and pay VA taxes on my limited investment income. I would commute back and forth to PA and probably not get a job beyond continuing to work on our place. We would have to file separate state taxes, but hope to be able to still file federal taxes jointly.

I suspect I would have to do this at least 12 months before Youngest graduates. We already have our place, and are not renting it out.


Just an idea at this point. Any pitfalls or potential I am not considering? Yes, I realize Youngest may not choose or get accepted to a school there.

IP
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Any pitfalls or potential I am not considering?

Is "gaming the system" really the example you want to set for your children?
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Not only that, but I think it would be a hard sell to say the student is "in-state" if they graduated from an out-of-state high school just three months earlier.
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I think it would be a hard sell to say the student is "in-state" if they graduated from an out-of-state high school just three months earlier.

We briefly looked into this for Eldest, and it was actually the parent's residence that mattered. Could vary from school to school. That end definitely will need to be explored when we tour specific schools.

As far as "gaming the system," we all do that every day. Don't need to go any further than the way people manipulate their income, investments and expenses to minimize taxes. Since you are on this board you probably take advantage of certain tax qualified education investments. If you both want to teach your kids to pay more than they have to by ignoring legal advantages, I would view that as not teaching your children properly. We pay property taxes and I will be a legal resident and pay state income taxes. We also won't qualify for aid most likely, and will have to foot 100% of the bill, so yes, we are looking at ways to minimize that bill. Legally. That is a skill worth passing on.

IP
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Just an idea at this point. Any pitfalls or potential I am not considering?

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+23-7.4

From my reading of the state law, you would have to abandon your PA residence completely. That probably means you'll need to be removed from the title on the PA property.

"For the purposes of this section, the domicile of an unemancipated minor or a dependent student 18 years of age or older may be either the domicile of the parent with whom he resides, the parent who claims the student as a dependent for federal or Virginia income tax purposes for the tax year prior to the date of the alleged entitlement and is currently so claiming the student, or the parent who provides the student substantial financial support."

Part of your post mentions multiplying his options. Under the definition of domicile, it states no individual may have more than one domicile at a time. Now the above paragraph says the domicile of the dependent student maybe the domicile of the parent of A, B or C. You don't have to meet all three conditions. It appears you are choosing B which is parent who claims the student as a dependent for federal or Virginia income tax purposes. You definitely don't meet A since he is living in PA. You could meet C if you should you are providing substantial financial support.

The problem comes in with the definition of domicile. It states "individual" which can mean the dependent student too. You are probably playing a dangerous shell game if you claim his domicile is VA on VA college applications and his domicile is PA on PA college applications. That would be more than one domicile for the student.
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From my reading of the state law, you would have to abandon your PA residence completely. That probably means you'll need to be removed from the title on the PA property.

Thanks for the info, PSU, but I can't see having to remove myself from property title. Owning property in a state other than which you reside does not make you a resident, or we would already be residents of PA, VA, and NC. I do see the need to move my personal stuff out of PA.

From your link: To become eligible for in-state tuition, a dependent student or unemancipated minor shall establish by clear and convincing evidence that for a period of at least one year prior to the date of the alleged entitlement, the person through whom he claims eligibility was domiciled in Virginia and had abandoned any previous domicile, if such existed. If the person through whom the dependent student or unemancipated minor established such domicile and eligibility for in-state tuition abandons his Virginia domicile, the dependent student or unemancipated minor shall be entitled to such in-state tuition for one year from the date of such abandonment.

In determining domiciliary intent, all of the following applicable factors shall be considered: continuous residence for at least one year prior to the date of alleged entitlement, except in the event of the establishment and maintenance of a place of residence in another jurisdiction for the purpose of maintaining a joint household with an active duty United States military spouse; state to which income taxes are filed or paid; driver's license; motor vehicle registration; voter registration; employment; property ownership; sources of financial support; military records; a written offer and acceptance of employment following graduation; and any other social or economic relationships with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions.

...

The domicile of a dependent student shall be rebuttably presumed to be the domicile of the parent or legal guardian claiming him as an exemption on federal or state income tax returns currently and for the tax year prior to the date of the alleged entitlement or providing him substantial financial support.


So it looks as though talking with a tax pro will be required to see if we can fit the above.

Further:

D. It is incumbent on the student to apply for change in domiciliary status on becoming eligible for such change. Changes in domiciliary status shall only be granted prospectively from the date such application is received.


This is cool. I thought that you could not change residency status after you were accepted. Since it is our plan to move away from PA permanently after Youngest graduates, it looks as though we will have options then as well. Hmmm, maybe I should look into that for Eldest's situation!


The problem comes in with the definition of domicile. It states "individual" which can mean the dependent student too. You are probably playing a dangerous shell game if you claim his domicile is VA on VA college applications and his domicile is PA on PA college applications. That would be more than one domicile for the student.

I read through the link a couple of times and no where do I see a reference to anything other than "the person through whom he claims eligibility," though I confess I'm not prepping for a dissertation here and could have missed it. Youngest will still be a minor when college starts. Either way, yes I agree he can't apply as in state for both states, and his options apply in providing him more schools to choose from, but he will have to narrow the search down and focus it before applying. Truthfully, PA state schools are no bargain for residents. Other states give a much better break. Since we are not going to be up here when he is in school, I would much prefer his picking a school closer to us. Haven't seen Eldest since mid August, and am sure looking forward to his flying in on Saturday!

Thanks! Helps to talk this through.

IP
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Thanks for the info, PSU, but I can't see having to remove myself from property title. Owning property in a state other than which you reside does not make you a resident, or we would already be residents of PA, VA, and NC. I do see the need to move my personal stuff out of PA.

I'm sure with the high school transcript from PA three months earlier as mentioned before, his application will be looked at very closely. I would suggest that you consult a lawyer, not a tax pro for advice in this matter.

PSU
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WARNING - LONG, LONG SCROLLY POST

inparadise: "We live in PA and own a place in VA. With Youngest approaching college age, we are looking at the possibility for me to establish residency in VA to multiply his options for in-state tuition. DH would join me in VA after he retires and Youngest graduates high school.

I am assuming I would have to do things like get my license there, register my car, register to vote, and pay VA taxes on my limited investment income. I would commute back and forth to PA and probably not get a job beyond continuing to work on our place."


This may be the same URL the PSU posted (I did not double check:

General -

http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/international/...

Virginia - http://www.collegeboard.com/about/pdfs/sr_VA01.pdf

"The Code requires that independent students, emancipated minors, or the parents/guardians of unemancipated minors or dependents prove Virginia domicile to receive in-state tuition. Applicants must prove by clear and convincing evidence that they have abandoned any previous domicile and have been domiciled in Virginia for at least twelve months prior to the first day of class for which the student is registering.

. . .

The domicile of an unemancipated minor or dependent student 18 years or older may be [1] the domicile of the parent with whom the student resides or [2] the parent who, for the previous and present year, has claimed the student as a dependent for Federal and Virginia income tax purposes."

I am assuming that your kids are neither independent students nor emancipated minors.

Definition [1] seems to be inapplicable because your son will be residing with your spouse in Pennsylvania and gradutating from a Pennsylvania high school.

I am not a tax lawyer, but definition [2] also seems to be a reach. I have no idea what the requirements are for claiming a dependent under Virginia tax law, but Federal income taxlaw has a four point test:
See http://taxes.about.com/od/dependents/a/Dependents_2.htm

"1. Relationship — the person must be your child, step child, adopted child, foster child, brother or sister, or a descendant of one of these (for example, a grandchild or nephew).

2. Residence — for more than half the year, the person must have the same residence as you do. [emphasis added]

3. Age — the person must be
•under age 19 at the end of the year, or
•under age 24 and a be a full-time student for at least five months out of the year, or
•any age and totally and permanently disabled.

4. Support — the person did not provide more than half of his or her own support during the year."

Part 2 seems to be the downfall of your plan.

Now, one thought, and I am unsure of its validity, but you may want to determine if it might be possible (especially if status at time of application is not permanent), and assumeing that your son might be admitted while a non-resident, after you move timely, for your son to apply, be accepted (presumably), graduate from HS, move to Virgina with you, then defer admission for a gap year so that he could establish Virgina residency, and then meet the requirement of Virgina residency of "at least twelve months prior to the first day of class for which the student is registering".

UVA FAQ:

http://www.virginia.edu/provost/vastatus/faq.html

If students wish to be considered legal residents for the purposes of admission and tuition, they must apply for Virginia status by completing the Application for Virginia In-State Educational Privileges, which is a part of our application for admission. For more information, please read About Virginia Domicile.

If you are a dependent and your parent(s) or spouse moves to Virginia while you are in school and fulfills the requirements of domicile, you should petition for a change of status effective 12 months after the move. If you entered classified as an out-of-state student, you must present clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption that you are residing in the State primarily to attend school. Residence or physical presence in Virginia primarily to attend the University does not entitle you to in-state tuition rates.

Id.

See also: http://www.virginia.edu/provost/vastatus/ for some .pdf forms that are required, and
especially: http://www.schev.edu/students/VAdomicileguidelines.asp

Note the following:

Domiciliary intent means present intent to remain indefinitely, that is, the individual has no plans or expectation to move from Virginia. Residence in Virginia for a temporary purpose or stay, even if that stay is lengthy, with present intent to return to a former state or country upon completion of such purpose does not constitute domicile.

A student who claims Virginia domicile must support that claim by clear and convincing evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is not as stringent a standard as proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as required in the criminal context, but is a degree of proof higher than a mere preponderance of the evidence. Clear and convincing evidence is that degree of proof that will produce a firm conviction or a firm belief as to the facts sought to be established. The evidence must justify the claim both clearly and convincingly.

Institutions shall also consider financial support obtained from parents or other relatives. Substantial financial support from a parent or relative in another state could be evidence of continuing ties to that state.

Mere physical presence or residence primarily for educational purposes will not confer domiciliary status. For example, a student who moves to Virginia for the primary purposes of becoming a full-time student is not a Virginia domiciliary, even if the student has been in Virginia for the required one-year period.

1. If a student is classified initially as out-of-state, it is the responsibility of the student thereafter to petition the responsible official for reclassification to in-state status if the student believes that subsequent changes in facts justify such a reclassification. The institution will not assume responsibility for initiating such an inquiry independently.

2. It is presumed that a matriculating student who enters an institution classified as an out-of-state student remains in the Commonwealth for the purpose of attending school and not as a bona fide domiciliary. The student seeking status reclassification is required to rebut this presumption by clear and convincing evidence.

Falsification of information.

A. Where an institution has erroneously classified a student as a Virginia domicile for tuition purposes resulting from the student's knowingly providing erroneous information in an attempt to evade payment of out-of-state fees, the application of the student is fraudulent.

B. An institution shall re-examine an application suspected as being fraudulent and redetermine domicile status. If warranted, the institution may change the student's status retroactively to the beginning of the term for which a fraudulent application was filed. Such a retroactive change will make the student responsible for the out-of-state tuition differential for the enrolled term or terms intervening between the fraudulent application and its discovery.

C. The student may also be subject to dismissal from the institution or such other action as the institution deems proper. Due process procedures, as provided in Section 25 and Section 26, must be followed to dismiss the student and, if the student chooses, to appeal such action.


Whew.
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LONG, LONG SCROLLY POST

LOL. And very useful. I feel as though I owe you a consultation fee. ;-)

Definition [1] seems to be inapplicable because your son will be residing with your spouse in Pennsylvania and gradutating from a Pennsylvania high school.

...

2. Residence — for more than half the year, the person must have the same residence as you do.

...

Mere physical presence or residence primarily for educational purposes will not confer domiciliary status.


By the time Youngest is a senior, the only reason DH will put off retiring and us moving to VA is to allow Youngest to graduate from the school system he is in currently, which is an excellent one that he loves. They will be in PA at that point for educational purposes, DH continuing to work to pay for that privilege. We hope even to have sold the house before he starts senior year and renting an apartment. So if Youngest is in PA for schooling, in VA with me during vacations, just like kids who head out to boarding school do not reside with their parents for more than half the year, does that time count towards residency?

Truthfully, this is for the most part an intellectual exercise, because there is no way I see myself being away from DH that long, but at the same time it is good to know our options. It has been a very useful exercise simply from the POV that I now know we can re-categorize residency when we move there.

IP
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I would suggest that you consult a lawyer, not a tax pro for advice in this matter.

Tax pro comes first, since the changes required in the return may simply quell our desire to try this route, but I get your point. Knowing now that we could re-categorize our residency when we move makes the desire to move early less pressing.

The irony is that all this investigation could well be for naught, but we try to think outside the box and do our best not to leave money on the table. Making plans for your kid is kind of like trying to herd cats...the destination is not at all certain. For all I know he will probably pick a private school in Philly or even points further north as we head further south. Either way, it's his choice.

IP
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Whatever you do just be sure that you do it right and keep good records.

When I was in college I knew a senior who was getting ready to graduate and he had used an uncle's house as his mailing address to get in state tuition in a blatant plan to scam the collage out of paying out of state tuition. Part of the process at that college is when you were getting a degree was that they reviewed your records then to make sure that everything was in order. They decided to audit his and basically told him that if he wanted to get a diploma that he pay up four years of out of state tuition, and probably some other fees.

He was in a bad situation since he did not have the money, couldn't get a student loan, had probably missed out on some financial aid, and would likely have any job offer rescinded.

I was not real close with him and he was a few years ahead of me. It had not been resolved by the time that I went home for the summer and I never heard how it finally turned out.

Greg

As a side note they also check for things like parking tickets. My wife and her younger sister shared a car in college and her sister had lots of parking tickets with the car. Apparently she thought that since the campus police were not "real" police and she never heard anything when she did not pay her first few tickets that nothing would happen if she kept parking illegally and getting more tickets. My wife was the older sister and her name was listed. She graduated first and had to pay a LOT for the parking tickets in order to graduate.
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Whatever you do just be sure that you do it right...

Only way I do things. I like sleeping at night, and even with a very clean conscience I have a hard time doing so. Can't imagine how bad things would get with a guilty conscience!

IP
a big believer in what goes around comes around
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The domicile of an unemancipated minor or dependent student 18 years or older may be [1] the domicile of the parent with whom the student resides or [2] the parent who, for the previous and present year, has claimed the student as a dependent for Federal and Virginia income tax purposes."

Good post. I do have a small quibble. I would suggest looking at the Virginia Code instead of College Board Guide to State Residency Requirements.

http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+23-7.4

In the Virginia Code, it says:
----
For the purposes of this section, the domicile of an unemancipated minor or a dependent student 18 years of age or older may be either the domicile of the parent with whom he resides, the parent who claims the student as a dependent for federal or Virginia income tax purposes for the tax year prior to the date of the alleged entitlement and is currently so claiming the student, or the parent who provides the student substantial financial support.
----
One difference from the document that you posted is that it says federal or Virginia income tax purposes, not federal and Virginia income tax purposes. The "or" makes a big difference. Also the code has the third condition which is the parent who provides substantial financial support. There is an "or" before that which means you only have to meet that condition if you want and not the income tax filing condition. It would have been a much more stringent domicile requirement if all conditions would have to be met by using "and" between the conditions.

As for the other stuff that you posted, I did see that and thought of posting it myself. The two things that really stand out is the "clear and convincing evidence" and the retroactive look back where they can change the student status and charge the differential in tuition. If it is possible to split residency, the process is not for amateurs.
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PSUEngineer:

<<<The domicile of an unemancipated minor or dependent student 18 years or older may be [1] the domicile of the parent with whom the student resides or [2] the parent who, for the previous and present year, has claimed the student as a dependent for Federal and Virginia income tax purposes.">>>

"Good post."

Thanks.

"I do have a small quibble. I would suggest looking at the Virginia Code instead of College Board Guide to State Residency Requirements."

No problem; I agree, and that is why I list my sources. I have the College Board Guide bookmarked and do not have bookmarks for the relevant law of each of the 50 states.

"In the Virginia Code, it says:
----
For the purposes of this section, the domicile of an unemancipated minor or a dependent student 18 years of age or older may be either the domicile of the parent with whom he resides, the parent who claims the student as a dependent for federal or Virginia income tax purposes for the tax year prior to the date of the alleged entitlement and is currently so claiming the student, or the parent who provides the student substantial financial support.
----
One difference from the document that you posted is that it says federal or Virginia income tax purposes, not federal and Virginia income tax purposes. The "or" makes a big difference. Also the code has the third condition which is the parent who provides substantial financial support. There is an "or" before that which means you only have to meet that condition if you want and not the income tax filing condition. It would have been a much more stringent domicile requirement if all conditions would have to be met by using "and" between the conditions."


I previously disclaimed any knowledge of Virginia tax law and have no inclination to learn anythin about it. I also do not know whether federal and Virgina dependency can be severed. As to the third condition, it would require researching what "substantial" means. The only definition that I would feel relatively comfortable with is more than 50%. Perhaps it might also arguably mean (1) more than the other parent and (2) more than the student; in which event the parent who provided 45% of support, while the other parent provided 40% of support and the student provided 15% of his/her own support could be used to support claim for state residency. Beyond that, any further attenuated claim to provide substantial support would appear suspect to me, BWDIK, especially without any research.

Regards, JAFO
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I'm pretty sure that, up until the moment the cell door clanged shut, that both Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan believed they had done nothing wrong and had clear consciences. They both may still believe they're on the side of the angels.
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Eudaimon,

If you want to teach your kids to line up like sheep to a slaughter, not question convention and investigate unconventional ways to legally pay less for what they want, be my guest. Meanwhile I will teach our kids to look for those loopholes and take advantage of them until they are removed from the legal side of the equation. Lord knows the math is stacked against us even with those loop holes.

Not every investigation is productive to the point where you reach the original goal, and this one may well wind up that way. However by pursuing this line of thought I already have a less lucrative back up plan that should be very easy to implement and of which I was not aware before asking questions. The only stupid question is the one not asked.

If you want to pay more than you legally have to, please do so. In fact, I'm sure the Federal Gov't would more than welcome your contribution, so why don't you start by paying more in taxes than you are legally required. Charity is not a bad thing...at least not when voluntary.

IP,
hoping you enjoy your illusion of moral superiority, because other than a few recs for your post, it won't get you more than that temporary joy
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If you want to teach your kids to line up like sheep to a slaughter, not question convention and investigate unconventional ways to legally pay less for what they want, be my guest. Meanwhile I will teach our kids to look for those loopholes and take advantage of them until they are removed from the legal side of the equation. Lord knows the math is stacked against us even with those loop holes.

I don't have a problem with someone using loopholes as long as they stay within the parameters and spirit of the loophole.

In your case, that means you don't just change your address, vehicle license, where you file your taxes and where you vote but yet continue to live with your husband and kids in PA. If you are going to become a VA resident for in-state tuition, then you follow the requirements. You don't just spend a few weekends in your cottage. You will live there full time while your kid attends high school back in PA. Do you really want to be separated from your family?

PSU
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You will live there full time while your kid attends high school back in PA. Do you really want to be separated from your family?

LOL. Depends on the day. Youngest won no prizes this morning. ;-)

I LOVE our place in VA and am very anxious to move there. I am also there a considerable amount of time working on the place, and this would give me a good opportunity to do so. I already feel as though I have moved there in spirit, and have a stronger network of friends there than here. However, as I have already posted in this thread, this exploration is probably more of an intellectual one because I don't see being separated from DH that much. Particularly with the revelation that we can change school residency status after moving, moving down prior to graduation gets us reduced tuition for only one year rather than 4. Don't know that is worth it, particularly given the extra stress it would put on DH.

We have made a commitment to paying in full for our kids' undergrad degree, at the same time trying to get DH retired as young as possible before he has a heart attack at his desk. The man does not understand moderation and will not stop working until the day he quits. If being separated from them for a year, other than periodic visits home...every weekend if need be, gets us to that retirement earlier, then yes. Truthfully, we don't share many waking hours now during the week with my living here full time, and we are very much looking forward to the years we can spend having fun together.

I would much rather see him fishing, kayaking, and hiking than tied to his computer, particularly since I would get to do it with him.

IP
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You will live there full time while your kid attends high school back in PA. Do you really want to be separated from your family?

I understand that this is ultimately the question that has to be answered. However, I am not going to ask it without knowing if we could accomplish our goal with that sacrifice. If we can't, then it is a moot question.

First things first.

IP
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