The Dallas Morning News
Elderly dog helped Match.com’s CEO avoid having to pay $430,000
N.Y. considered him a resident, but judge says exec lived in Dallas
Match Group chairman Gregory Blatt became an official Texan in 2009 thanks to his elderly dog, according to a recent ruling by a New York judge.
The dating firm executive’s move to Texas and love of the Uptown Dallas lifestyle were recently at issue in a New York tax case.
Blatt moved to Texas from New York City in 2009 when he became CEO of Dallasbased internet firm Match, which owns dating sites and apps such as Match.com, Tinder and PlentyofFish. Court records indicate that despite initial reservations about life in Texas, Blatt quickly fell in love with his new job and living at the Ashton luxury apartment building in Uptown.
But New York tax authorities were less convinced of Blatt’s new Dallas fandom.
Unlike Texans, New York City residents have to pay both state and city income tax. According to court documents, New York officials audited Blatt in 2011 and determined that he owed $430,065 in personal income tax plus interest and penalties for the years 2009 and 2010.
Attorneys for the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance claimed that Blatt’s continued ownership of a New York City condo meant that he never relinquished his New York residency and therefore owed taxes in that state.
But Administrative Law Judge Donna M. Gardiner found that Blatt fully embraced Dallas as his new home, citing his decision to move his large, elderly dog to Texas’ hot climate, among other factors.
“In reviewing the factors of a change in domicile, historically, the move of items near and dear tend to demonstrate a person’s intention,” Gardiner wrote in her opinion. “As borne out by the evidence in this case, petitioner’s dog was his near and dear item which reflected his ultimate change in domicile to Dallas."
Blatt’s passion for Dallas may have spared him a significant tax bill, but the love affair was short-lived. Blatt moved back to New York City in 2011 after he was promoted to CEO of Match’s parent company, IAC.