Many Americans choose to move to the great state of Florida to enjoy our sun, sand, and surf. Still others choose to make Florida their primary state of residence to take advantage of Florida’s beneficial tax codes.
Given the subjective nature of a person’s decision to change residency to Florida, courts and taxing authorities generally look to objective criteria to illustrate one’s intent to become a Florida resident. The following is a suggested list of dos and don’ts to formalize your residency in Florida and help demonstrate you are no longer a resident of the former state:
- File a “Declaration of Domicile” in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the county of your new residence.
- Obtain a Florida driver’s license as soon a possible and change your automobile tags and registration.
- Register to vote in Florida and then vote in the first election.
- Notify the Internal Revenue Service that your new mailing address is in Florida. This can be accomplished by filing Form 8822 (“Change of Address”).
- In the year you make Florida your domicile, file any state tax returns in your previous state as a “non resident.”
- Consider buying a home. If you own the home, then you can apply for the Homestead Exemption.
- If you rent a home in Florida, consider a longer-term lease.
- Update your estate planning documents to reflect that you are a “resident of Florida.”
- Consider transferring financial and tax relationships to Florida advisors.
- If you are involved in any business transactions as an individual, include that you are a resident of Florida in any legal documents.
- If you receive Social Security or any other federal benefits, notify those federal agencies of your move to Florida.
- When possible, spend as much time in Florida. Generally when making significant trips, you should consider departing from Florida (versus departing from the former state).
- During overnight stays outside of Florida, use your Florida address as your “home” address.
- When having casual conversation, get in the habit of calling Florida “home.”
- Move away from involvement in civic, religious, or charitable organizations in your former state and consider changing your affiliations to Florida organizations.
These tips will help you transition to your new state of residency and ensure you can properly take advantage of the tax laws of Florida.