How Do You Find Out If You Live in a Community Property State?


Quick Answer

As of 2015, there are nine states that follow community property laws, which are listed in the Internal Revenue Publication 555. It's important to note that for those with more than one home, in order to assess whether property falls under community property law, the official domicile must be identified.

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Full Answer

The domicile is the location used as the legal home for an indefinite or unlimited period, as defined by the IRS. A legal permanent domicile is not necessarily where a couple regularly lives, states the IRS. There is only one domicile even if there is more than one home. Determining the official domicile is key for understanding whether one's property falls under community property law and whether it is a matter of intention by a couple to make a location or state their permanent home.

Moving into and out of a community property state within the year may or may not qualify the property as community property, states the IRS. The factors to consider when identifying an official domicile include the location of the property, where one votes and pays state taxes, citizenship and length of time spent in the residence. Business and social ties to the community may also be a factor.

As of 2015, community property states include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada, according to the IRS. Additionally, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin are community property states. Alaska has an optional system, wherein a couple may choose to include their property as community property.

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