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Masha Yevzelman
Masha Yevzelman

2020 Attorneys of the Year: Masha Yevzelman

Every so often, Minnesota snowbirds get into trouble with state tax authorities over whether they live here or in Florida.

The Sunshine State has no income tax, which many see as an advantage. Yet few residency cases had the peculiarities of one involving Fredrikson & Byron shareholder Masha Yevzelman. The case centers on Mark and Sharon Zauhar, a couple in their 70s who raised their family in Minnesota.

More than a decade ago, Mark decided to move to Florida to live at a trapshooting club. The retired businessman preferred a warmer climate where his arthritic knees bothered him less and where he could indulge his passion for trapshooting. Sharon, who retired in 2012, stayed in Minnesota to maintain care for one of the couple’s two daughters, who suffered brain damage in a sledding accident some 35 years ago.

The Revenue Department saw Mark as a state resident because Sharon continued to live in Minnesota. “When individuals think they changed their residency from Minnesota to Florida or any other state, the Minnesota Department of Revenue may say, ‘No, you didn’t really move, you’re still a Minnesota resident,’” Yevzelman said.

She saw the case as being more about life decisions than just an issue of taxation. The couple remain married, but Sharon chose to stay because of their daughter’s needs. They frequently travel between the two states for visits.

Minnesota Tax Court Chief Bradford S. Delapena decided Mark has been a Florida resident for many years and does not owe tax payments. Yevzelman, a Ukraine immigrant and tax specialist, sees the case as one of the more novel ones she argued. “There are a lot of really interesting and complex issues that the court hadn’t previously ruled on,” Yevzelman said.

Read more about Minnesota Lawyer’s superb class of Attorneys of the Year for 2020 here.

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