what do i need to do to become a florida resident
How to Become a Florida Resident
If you are already living in Florida, you'll need to fulfill the basic residency requirements by getting a Florida drivers license, registering your out-of-state car, and registering to vote. If you have live in two different states, you'll need to file a Declaration of Domicile to prove that Florida is your primary place of residence. In order to get the declaration approved, you will need to prove your physical presence in Florida as well as your "intent" to stay. Proof of intent might include a job, a spouse, community involvement, and being registered to vote. Know that it will be much easier to establish residency if you are currently employed in Florida!
Initiating Residency Requirements
Get a Florida driver's license.The sooner you get a Florida driver's license (or Non-Driver ID) the better. If you already have a license from another state, you will not have to take the written or driving tests to get a Florida license. For the record, you have 30 days after filing the Declaration of Domicile to get a Florida driver's license (you may get a Florida license with or without this declaration, which we’ll discuss in the second section). To get your license:
- Bring your out-of-state license to your local Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (county tax collector). Take an identify document with you too, such as the original or certified copy of your birth certificate. It's also okay to bring a US Passport, or a Certificate of Naturalization.
- Provide proof of your Social Security number. This could be your Social Security card, a W-2 or pay stub.
- Offer two documents that prove your Florida address. A mortgage deed, Florida car registration or recent utility bills are the most commonly accepted, but anything with your new address should suffice.
- If you don’t intend to drive, you need to get a Non-Driver ID card. This is the same exact process as getting a Driver’s License (without any tests, of course).
Register your out-of-state car.Transfer your car title and get registration for your car ‘’in Florida’’. You have 10 days after establishing Florida residency status to complete this task.
- Get car insurance in Florida. Submit proof of your policy to the county tax collector.
- Show the original title to the county tax collector.
- Bring the car you want to register to your county tax collector's office, so they can check out the VIN.
- Pay the fees. It costs around 0 to title and register your car for the first time in Florida. You will also have to pay the typical registration fees, which vary depending the age, type, and weight of your vehicle.
Register to vote.It is convenient to do this while getting your Florida driver's license – often at the DMV (county tax collector) they will attach a voter registration form along with your new address forms. However, you can also register with the Supervisor of Election. You must wait until the voter registration books open, as they close 30 days prior to an election and reopen after an election.
- This is a simple form that takes about 5 minutes to fill out. After you hand it in, your work is done. It's as simple as that!
Part 1 Quiz
Why might you bring your W-2 form or pay stub with you to the DMV?
Establishing Yourself as a Floridian
If you live in two different states, file a Declaration of Domicile.Just having a home in Floridatechnicallyisn’t enough. Because plenty of “snowbirds” go to Florida just for the winter, a Declaration of Domicile confirms that it is yourprimaryresidence. Your signature on this document, once approved, confirms that you now reside in Florida, and that the state is your permanent residence. This is done through the clerk of the circuit court.
- To get this declaration approved, you need two things: physical presence in Florida and intent. The former is pretty self-explanatory. As for the latter, “intent” can be shown through employment, having a doctor, being registered to vote, being involved in the community – the list goes on and on, and we'll discuss many aspects below.
- Having this means that all your taxes now go to the state of Florida and nowhere else (starting with the next full calendar year, of course). Because Florida has no income, death, or estate tax, this may be a wise move.
- If you only have one residence, a declaration of domicile isn't necessary, though it is wise (for tax benefits).
File for a homestead exemption.Florida’s Homestead Law protects any Florida resident from losing his or her home to a creditor or any other lien holder, with the exception of mortgages. Should you have to declare bankruptcy, having a homestead exemption can let you breathe a sigh of relief. You can file this once you have a Declaration of Domicile to your name.
- It also affects your taxes (for the better). The Florida “Save Our Home” Act says that once qualified for the homestead exemption, the assessed value of your property for tax purposes carries an exemption for the first ,000 of taxable value for all taxing entities except the school district (which allows a ,000 exemption). In addition, once qualified, the assessed value for tax purposes cannot rise more than 3% in any given year. That means equity you won’t have to pay on.
Accept employment.One of the clearest methods of making it hard to argue legally that you are a resident of any other state is to accept employment in Florida. With wages coming from Florida and a residence in Florida, no one will question you otherwise!
- If you are looking to provide intent between two states, this is a good way to do it. Having employment in Florida will add weight to your case should your Declaration of Domicile be in question.
If applicable, enroll your child in a Florida school.Another way of showing intent and moving toward veritable Florida residency is to enroll your child in a Florida school, public or private.
- Child here meaning under the age of 18, of course. With a child in the Florida school system, this too adds weight to your Declaration of Domicile case.
File federal taxes after becoming a Florida resident.You will send your tax returns to the Atlanta, Georgia location of the Internal Revenue Service Center when you move to Florida. When you file your final tax return for your previous state, write "final return" on it, and use your current address so it is clear that you have moved.
- If you live in two states in the same year, look into filing part-year returns. States combine differently (each state has different regulations), so look into your specific situation before assuming anything.
Part 2 Quiz
What is an example of "intent?"
Making Recommended Moves
Transfer all accounts to Florida institutions.If you belonged to any banks, clubs or churches in your previous state, find a Florida location to join. Doing so will show that you are committed to being a resident of Florida, rather than another state. Here are some ideas:
- Community groups, organizations, or affiliations
- Insurance-approved medical group
Notify the parties necessary of your address change.Whether it’s your magazine subscriptions, distant relatives, or your dessert-of-the-month club, notify the parties necessary that your new address is now in Florida. Start by filing an address change with the Postal Service and then contact organizations individually.
- This can show intent in your Declaration of Domicile, too. Should any tax issues arise, this will certainly help your case.
Renew any licensure for the state of Florida.If you have any licenses or certification that are good state-by-state, make sure you get reassessed in Florida so your licensure is valid and you can still practice. Whether you’re a nurse, a lawyer, or a real estate agent, this is necessary not only for your workflow, but also to show that Florida is where you intend to stay.
- If there is any doubt, it's always best to check out your situation. What's more, you may run into new rules and regulations you didn't know if in your research.
Get involved in your community.To further prove that you are a Florida resident, start getting involved. Vote, join a gym, be a part of your neighborhood association, find a doctor and a dentist, and establish your roots. The more engrained you are, the more you’ll truly be a resident of Florida.
- It wouldn’t hurt to get an annual pass for Disney World, either!
Part 3 Quiz
True or False: Something as simple as changing gyms to a Florida location can help you prove your residence and aid in filing taxes.
QuestionCan a man be a Florida resident, but not his wife?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes. You and your spouse do not have to be residents of the same state. I'm a Florida resident and my husband is a Maine resident.Thanks!
QuestionCan I apply for employment and get an interview prior to becoming a resident of Florida?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should be able to. I know people who have done this, they just applied using their current addresses and informed the employer that they would soon be moving to the area.Thanks!
QuestionDoes renting a condo for over 6 months qualify as a residence?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, a resident of Florida is a person who has resided continuously for a period of 4 calendar months or more within the preceding year, regardless of whether the person resided in a recreation vehicle, hotel, rental unit, or other temporary or permanent locationThanks!
QuestionDoes being a Florida resident reduce my property taxes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you are talking about real estate, no. If you are talking about a "use tax," then yes.Thanks!
QuestionWhat physical location do I go to where I can file declaration of domicile papers after I have had them signed and notarized?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake it to your county records office, generally located by/in the courthouse.Thanks!
QuestionHow does a non driver get Florida residence?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGet a state identification card, instead. No driving is required.Thanks!
QuestionIf I move to Florida and establish residency, how long does it take for my income to be counted as Florida income without income taxes to be paid from another state?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI'm not a tax professional, but in my experience, having lived in multiple states and abroad, the tax I paid depended upon where I was working when I generated the income. So Day 1 of working in FL would be considered FL income. However, if I worked in my state (and even some localities) for more than six months in a calendar year, I had to file a tax return in that state. So if you move to FL on Nov 1, the following April you would have to fix a tax return in your old state and reconcile your taxes for Jan-Oct. But if you moved to FL on Jun 15, you wouldn't have to file. But you need to check your current state's laws, and be sure to change your address with your employer right away.Thanks!
QuestionHow many months do I need to live in Florida to establish residency?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe rule is 30 days if you have purchased a home or rented a condo.Thanks!
QuestionI am retiring at the end of the year and want to immediately move to Florida. I plan on living with a fellow retiree. What do I need to do to establish immediate residency?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI found that you should immediately register to vote, register a vehicle, get a FL driver's license, declaration of domicile, and some mail with your name and Florida address.Thanks!
QuestionCan I live in my camper?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerProbably not. Most communities consider living in a vehicle to be vagrancy. In a rural setting, you might get way with it.Thanks!
Can one declare residency if they lived in an owned condo part of the year and have it on a rental program part of the year? Do required residency months have to be continuous?
Can I do online consulting work while living in Fl and that be considered employment for residency and tax purposes?
Do I have to have a Florida car registration and driver's license to be considered a resident?
Can I work part time in another state and still establish Florida residency?
I am retired and plan to live on my sailboat at a marina in Florida. How can I become a resident?
To become a Florida resident, first file a Declaration of Domicile. This is necessary if you live in 2 different states but spend more than 4 continuous months in Florida, and recommended even if you only live in Florida. You'll need to provide proof of your physical presence in Florida and your intent to stay, such as a job or voter registration. Get a Florida driver's license or ID and register your out-of-state car within 10 days of becoming a resident.
Things You'll Need
Declaration of Domicile form
Original or certified copy of your birth certificate
Social Security card, W-2 or pay stub
2 documents that display your Florida address
Florida car insurance policy
Original car title
Sources and Citations
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