Florida Residency Requirements
The Legal Language From The Florida Legislature
Permanent Residence"..... means the place where a person has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment to which, whenever absent, he or she has the intention of returning. A person may have only one permanent residence at a time*; and, once a permanent residence is established, it is presumed to continue until he or she shows that a change has occurred. [Florida Statute, Section 196.012(18)]
In Florida, the courts have determined that your legal residence is determined by your intention. Therefore, if you come to Florida with the intention of making this state your primary residence then you are a Florida resident and are entitled to the advantages and privileges that go along with it.
You are not required to physically live in Florida for a specific period of time (i.e. "6 months and one day") to be considered a Florida resident by the State of Florida. However, many states have lost significant tax revenue as a result of residents moving to Florida and other lower tax states. In a quest to increase tax revenue, these states may be more aggressive in seeking to negate your claim of permanent Florida residency, which includes potential tax claims against you or your estate. The amount of time that you physically reside in Florida could be used in these claims. The more ties you have to Florida, and the fewer ties with your previous state, the more likely your Florida domicile will be respected.
Once you make the decision to become a Florida resident, you should make sure that everything about you shows that you are a Floridian. For example: a Florida resident is not registered to vote in Massachusetts; a Florida resident does not carry a Michigan drivers license; a Florida resident does not own or drive around in a car registered in Ohio; and a Florida resident does not root for the Yankees. O.K., maybe you can get by with that last one. Adherence to the following procedures will provide solid evidence of your intent to be a resident of Florida.
Declaration of Domicile. Upon making Florida your permanent residence, you should execute and file with the clerk of circuit court in the county where you reside, a Declaration of Domicile. This document is a sworn statement stating that you reside in and maintain a place of abode in the Florida county of your residence and that you intend to maintain such residence as your permanent home. If you also have a residence or residences in other states, you may disclose them and declare that the Florida residence constitutes your predominant and principal home.
Obtain a Florida Driver's License. Florida law requires that you obtain a Florida driver's license within 30 days after becoming a resident of Florida if you operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state. To obtain a Florida driver's license, you must present evidence of your identification, proof of your date of birth and your social security number.
Vehicle Title and Registration. You must apply for a Florida certificate of title for any vehicle you own and operate in the state of Florida. Your vehicle must be registered within ten days of establishing residency. To register your vehicle you must submit the original title and proof of Florida insurance to the county tax collector. If you are registering the vehicle in Florida for the first time, Florida law requires payment of a $100 initial registration fee in addition to the basic registration fees. You are required to register your car every year. The registration period begins the first day of the owner's birth month and ends on the owner's birthday.
Voter Registration. One of the best ways to evidence your intention to reside in Florida is to register to vote in the Florida county where you reside and to participate in local, state and federal elections as a Florida voter. You may register with the county Supervisor of Elections when the voter registration books are open. The books close 30 days before an election and reopen following the election. Also, in most counties, selection for jury duty is taken from the roll of registered voters.
Update your Will and other legal documents to conform with Florida law.
List Florida as your residence on all deeds and other legal documents.
Pay taxes in Florida and use your Florida address for filing your Federal income tax return.
Apply for Homestead Exemption in Florida.
Establish Bank Accounts, brokerage and related financial accounts in Florida and transfer assets to your Florida accounts from other states.
Notify Social Security, Medicare or other agencies of your address change to Florida.
Use your Florida address on official documents, such as passports and driver’s licenses.
Maintain your safe deposit box in Florida.
(Note: The information contained in this webpage is believed to be accurate, but it is not guaranteed, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. You should always rely on an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida for all legal matters.)