You’ve been coming here since grandma first introduced you to the beach as a toddler! Now, you finally have a place to call “home” here on Sanibel Island, how exciting! So what do you need to do to become an official Florida resident?
First, you must ask yourself if you plan to spend more than half of the year (183 days to be exact) here in Florida? Maybe you have a home up north or out west, and only plan to spend the winter here. You’ll need to commit to spending 183 days in Florida in order to claim it as your domicile, AND, more importantly, you need to be able to PROVE IT!
Yes, it’s not unheard of for states to come after those they might consider taxpaying residents of their own state. In particular, New York, Minnesota, and other states with high income taxes have an eye on those who might claim Florida as their residence to avoid this tax.
You used to be able to prove your whereabouts with a receipt from your plane tickets. But we’ve heard this may no longer suffice as evidence that you spent 6 months and day in your “home state” of Florida.
So how can you prove your residency in Florida? Below we list a few actions that can build your case.
How To Help Prove Your Residency:
- File for a Declaration of Domicile in Florida and consider filing a homestead exemption
- Register your car and update your drivers license at the Lee County Tax Collectors office
- Register to vote in Lee County and actually vote!
- File taxes with your Florida address, and cease filing tax returns for your old state
- Open an account with a local bank, and keep receipts from transactions and withdrawals
- Update or open a will/trust account that complies with Florida law
- Avoid taking advantage of state benefits from your old home state
- Don’t rent your home for more than six months of the year, or even five to be safe
- Use your Florida address on every account possible
- Establish primary physicians, a dentist, and other doctor’s offices in Florida
- Get involved in the community – on Sanibel that’s easy to do!
Any number of these actions will help build your case for “proof” of residency in Florida. The more the merrier. The Florida Senate outlines factors of factual determination of permanent residency by property appraise, click here to view the 2017 Florida Statues.
We hope this helped shed light on the important topic of residency, especially as we head into a new tax season. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have for us!