New York Demands Income Tax from Orbiting Astronauts

April 1, 2011

Before U.S. astronauts blast off on April 19 to dock with the International Space Station, they better set up tax withholding first.

New York’s tax authorities, infamous for aggressively reaching beyond their borders for revenue, are demanding that astronauts pay income tax for the period of time that they will be over New York in orbit.

“Those astronauts on the space station orbit into New York territory 15 times a day, spending as much as 40 seconds in the state each time,” the New York tax commissioner told the media. “They need to pay their fair share for the cost of providing New York services to them.”

The astronauts could make use of a wide variety of state services, he clarified, such as police protection, fire prevention, or even admiring publicly-financed landmarks visible from space.

There is no record of an astronaut making use of such New York services.

The Multigalactic Tax Commission (MTC) backed New York’s arguments.

“This is about state sovereignty,” said an MTC representative, Montana’s revenue director. “We can’t have the federal government or whoever telling states what they can and can’t tax. We’re in a fiscal crisis, after all.”

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