Establishing Florida Domicile
How Do You Establish Florida Residency?
Having a Florida domicile means that you reside permanently in the state and can take advantage of all the state programs and benefits, including no income tax, estate, or inheritance tax. For many people, there is a substantial financial incentive to establishing Florida residency. If you do not formally establish a Florida domicile, the state where you formally live can pursue you for income taxes.
There is not one form to complete or step to take to automatically become a Florida resident. Instead, through the totality of your conduct, you must prove that you intend to make Florida your permanent residency. There are various steps that you can take to establish Florida.
1. File a Declaration of Domicile
A straightforward way to help establish a Florida domicile is to file a Declaration of Domicile with the clerk in the Florida circuit court of the county where you reside. In this sworn statement, you declare your intent to maintain a permanent home in Florida. You must sign the declaration under oath before an official authorized to take affidavits. In Naples, you would file your Declaration of Domicile with the Collier County Clerk.
2. Rent or Own a Home in Florida
This is probably self-evident, but you must purchase or rent a home, apartment, condo, or another residence in Florida. If you own a second home, your Florida residence should be bigger or at least the same as your other home, if possible.
If you purchase a property, you can apply for the Florida homestead property tax exemption. Receiving the homestead property tax exemption will save you money and further work to prove your Florida residency.
3. Spend More Than Half the Year in Florida
The more time you spend in Florida, the easier it will be to declare Florida as your domicile. You must spend over half of the year (183 days) in Florida. Most states have what is commonly called the “183-day rule,” which states that you must live in the same state for 183 days before becoming eligible to pay taxes on that state’s income. If you split your time between two states, you should be prepared to prove that you spent the majority of your time in Florida if you are audited. Your travel records, utility bills, and other receipts are examples of evidence.
4. Get a Florida Driver’s License
Taking a trip to the DMV and applying for a Florida driver’s license can be used as evidence of residency. If you do not drive, you should get a state-issued ID. In addition, you should register your vehicle, RV, or boat in Florida. If your vehicle has an out-of-state lienholder, you should contact them and have the title transferred to Florida.
5. Register to Vote in Florida
You can register to vote after you get your Florida driver’s license or state ID. The registration can be completed online or through a paper application.
6. File Federal Tax Returns with Florida as Your Resident State
When you file your federal income tax return, you should list your Florida address as your home address. You can also file a form to change your address on file with the IRS. Additionally, you should file non-resident income tax returns in any other state where you also own property.
7. Transfer Bank Accounts to Florida
You should transfer your banking accounts to Florida from the state where you previously resided. If you use a national bank, you should confirm that there is a branch close to Naples, Florida. All banking and credit card statements should be sent to your Florida address. Working with brokers, financial planners, and insurance agents based in Florida is also a good idea.
8. Contact a Naples Attorney to Update Estate Planning Documents Per Florida Laws
Every state has its own estate planning and probate laws. You should contact a qualified Naples estate planning attorney to update your estate planning documents to ensure that they comply with Florida laws and take full advantage of the many benefits that Florida residency offers.
Call A Naples Estate Planning Lawyer
If you have questions about establishing a Florida domicile, you should contact Nici Law Firm. James R. Nici is an experienced Naples attorney with over 25 years of experience. He is well versed in these issues and can create an estate plan that fits your needs. Contact our office today at (239) 449-6150 or use our web form to set up a free consultation.