Becoming a Florida Resident
Looking to change your residency to Florida? It is appealing with no state income tax! The place where you live with the intention of permanent residence for an indefinite time is labeled your “domicile.” It determines what state you pay taxes to and your eligibility for state programs.
But what if you have more than one home? You must choose a state and clearly indicate your choice of domicile. You can do so by taking steps to establish a relationship with the state, such as the following:
File a Florida Declaration of Domicile
A Declaration of Domicile is a sworn statement which states that you reside in and maintain a place of residence in Florida. It also states that you intend to maintain this as your permanent residence. You must state in the document whether you maintain another residence in another state. If so, you must confirm that your residence in the State of Florida is your principal home. It is filed with the Clerk of Court in the county in which you reside. Although it is not required to establish your Florida residency, it does put the public on notice that you have made Florida your permanent home.
Obtain a Florida Driver’s License
You have 30 days to obtain a Florida Driver’s License after you move to Florida or file your Declaration of Domicile. Your driver’s license from your former state will be taken by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles upon application. You won’t be able to have a driver’s license in two states. If you don’t drive, consider getting a Florida non-driver ID card instead.
Open Local Bank Accounts
It’s a good idea to transfer all your financial accounts to a Florida banking institution, but try to transfer at least one. You may have bank accounts in states you’ve never lived in and that is fine, just make sure those in your old state or states of residence are transferred.
Notify Tax Officials
List your Florida address as your residence for federal income tax purposes. File final state income tax returns in any states where you’re required and notify those state taxing officials of your move to Florida. Also notify the Social Security Administration of your new Florida address.
Register Your Vehicles
Register your automobiles, boats, and other vehicles that are located in Florida with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Insure your vehicles in Florida. You’ll need proof of insurance for the DMV.
Register to Vote in Florida
Register to vote in Florida and do so in the first available election. Registering is good, but voting is even better. You can register to vote when you get your driver’s license or non-driver ID card.
Apply for the Florida Homestead Exemption
Apply for the Florida homestead exemption if you purchase a home. This will help to establish your domicile. It will also provide real estate tax benefits and asset protection. The Florida Save Our Home Act provides that if you qualify for a homestead exemption, $50,000 of your assessed property value is exempt from taxation. If property taxes are imposed by a school district, the exemption is $25,000. Your property’s assessed value is limited to 3% increases per year.
Update Your Estate Plan
Florida law will govern your estate planning documents and power of attorney now that you’re a resident. Florida has it’s own set of laws and some can be quirky, so it’s important to use Florida professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors, to update these documents.
Remember to Cut Ties With Your Old State
If the state you’re leaving collects a state income tax or estate tax, you’ll have to take steps to terminate your “resident status” there. It’s more likely that your Florida residency will be respected if you’re able to accomplish most of the items on this list.
Welcome to Florida!