New Hampshire and Massachusetts are fighting over whether the Bay State still has the right to tax the incomes of 103,000 former commuters now working from home in New Hampshire. But this tax spat deals with issues that spread far beyond the Massachusetts border — it has national implications and could impact millions of Americans.
Because of this, scores of tax organizations and states have filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Granite State. In fact, an analysis by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation estimated at least 2.1 million Americans that previously crossed state lines for work are now working from home in accordance with public health guidelines.
This shift will be a welcome change for many employees, especially those who used to have long, arduous commutes. But those who go remote on a full-time basis will incur at least one cost: paying for extra workspace at home. Such expenses are not trivial. A recent working paper by Christopher Stanton and Pratyush Tiwari of Harvard University estimates that, between 2013 and 2017, American renters who worked from home spent roughly 7% more of their incomes on housing than similar workers who commuted to the office. Homeowners who worked remotely spent an extra 9% on their mortgage payments and property taxes.
Both employers and households will find it easier to leave major job centers as technologies made commonplace by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a rethinking of the geography of work, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.
The study draws on survey data projecting that a third of workers could be permanent telecommuters by the end of 2021 and discusses implications of these trends for transportation, municipal finance, and wealth migration. While worst-case scenarios could bring a level of disinvestment in places like New York City not seen since the 1970s, even a mid-range scenario suggests a significant relocation of jobs and potentially wealth.