It has been that way forever. My brother got hit with the problem in 2001 and 2002. He sold his home in CA, moved to Washington
, bought a boat there, sailed around Puget Sound
for 6-months (back when that was legal), then sailed to Puerto Vallarta
. He stopped in Chula Vista late July - early December 2000 to visit friends. His mailing address was in Washington
The boat was USCG documented - hailing port Seattle
BUT - he retained his California Drivers License
till he got to Florida in spring 2002.
California (Riverside County) wanted boat property tax for 2000 (Washington and Mexico), 2001 (Mexico), 2002 (enroute to Florida). He obtained a Florida drivers license
in 2002 and sold the boat in 2002.
He blew off the California Franchise Board demands for about $3,000 'cause he was never in California with the boat (except for 4-months July-November 2002).
When he tried to buy a house in Florida in 2003 he learned there was an outstanding tax bill due in California and the escrow company in Florida would not allow the closing to proceed till he cleared the California tax bill. I do not remember the legal
terms used by California and the Escrow company but there was some kind of national lien or judgement that prevented him from buying
a house anywhere in the US until California was paid off.
It is not fair - it is not just - but it is the California way.
You have to provide POSITIVE PROOF that you have established residence in another state, not just create a mailing address there or keep a boat there.
My brother sent the CA tax folks Passport images
(Canada in 2000 and Mexico
in 2001...etc), marina bills from Puget Sound
and Mexico and California. But, as long as he had the California drivers license he was a California resident and owed California taxes - no matter where he lived or where the boat was.
Same thing happened with his retirement income
. It was paid to him by a California company and California taxed it, no matter where he lived, UNTIL he bought a house in Florida, and obtained a Florida drivers license, and moved his investments to a local bank in Florida.