Establishing Florida Domicile
A person can own multiple residences but can only have one domicile. A domicile is your true home, which you intend as your base. Domicile is legally defined as where a person has their true, fixed, permanent home and principal establishment, and to which, whenever absent, they have the intention of returning.
Your legal domicile has certain important implications for you. For instance, it is tied to citizenship, voting rights, and taxes. As you know, each state in the USA has its own state government and legislature and therefore its own laws. Depending on the state where you have established domicile, you have the benefits or drawbacks of that state’s laws.
Requirements for Florida Domicile
Establishing a Florida domicile requires meeting several legal requirements to prove that an individual has made Florida their permanent home. Some of the key factors may include:
• obtaining a Florida driver’s license
• registering to vote in Florida.
• Register any vehicles in Florida.
• establishing a Florida mailing address.
• filing a Florida Declaration of Domicile (see below for more information on this form)
• show evidence of a physical presence in Florida, such as owning or renting a home, having a job or business in Florida, and spending at least 183 days per year in the state.
It is also important to sever ties with any former state of domicile and to update legal documents accordingly. The act of moving to move to Florida does not create a Florida domicile unless certain actions are taken.
What is the Difference Between Residency and Domicile?
Residency is where one chooses to live. Domicile is more permanent and is essentially somebody’s home base. Once you take steps to establish your domicile in one state, such as Florida, that state becomes your tax home.
Florida Declaration of Domicile Form
Please note, no Florida law requires an existing or new Florida resident to file a declaration of domicile. So failing to file a declaration does not disqualify you from being a Florida Resident. A Florida Declaration of Domicile may be helpful though to establish under another state’s laws that the individual is a Florida resident, and therefore, should not be subject to the original state’s income taxes.
A Florida declaration of domicile is a sworn affidavit filed in the Circuit Court of a person’s residence that documents the intent to make Florida their permanent home. Florida Statute 222.17 permits people to demonstrate and document their intent by filing such a declaration of domicile. People who maintain a second residence in another state may file a declaration of domicile to communicate that their Florida residence is their primary home.
Talk with Attorney James Nici
Consider talking with attorney James Nici about your situation and if establishing a Florida domicile is right for you. Since where your domicile has certain legal implications, you should discuss your intentions with him, as he understands the legal implications of Florida law on this topic. He can review the advantages to you regarding Florida domicile and help you with doing it properly.
Each person thinking about making Florida their permanent home will want to consider their own unique situation such as business effects, second homes, and tax liabilities. Florida is proud of the advantages we offer with no state tax and the homestead exemption but if it isn’t right for your situation, then you may not want to proceed. Attorney Nici will be able to answer your concerns and help you proceed. If necessary, he will assist you with other items such as your estate plan that may need updating if you decide to make Florida your permanent home.
Based in Naples and headed up by attorney James Nici, Nici Law Firm offers legal guidance in the:
- Estate planning
- Estate administration
- Asset protection
- Probate services
- Business Planning
- Florida Domicile
- Strategic Estate Planning System
Nici Law Firm serves clients in the towns of southwest Florida: Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, Ave Maria, Immokalee, Estero, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Sanibel. Contact Nici Law firm at 239-449-6150.