Fleeing NJ and NY for FL - What is a Florida Resident?
With all the discussion and speculation circulating around the possible repeal of Federal Estate Taxes, many clients in NJ and NY are beginning the realize that retirement to Florida may have significant tax benefits, beyond the spectacular weather and beaches. Florida does not have any income taxes, though it does have a sales tax and an intangibles tax. More importantly, Florida does not have an estate tax, and its constitution prevents the legislature from ever instituting one. In order to get these benefits, you need to be a Florida resident.
There seems to be quite a bit of mis-information about what it takes to be a Florida resident. The concept of a "6 month rule" is often bandied about - live in Florida for 6 months and you are a resident. However, there is no 6 month rule. Florida residence is governed by Chapter 222.17, F.S. - Homestead and Exemptions.
Essentially, becoming a Florida resident requires 4 simple steps:
1. Obtain a valid Florida driver's license
2. Register your automobile in Florida
3. File for voter registration
4. File a Declaration of Domicile with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the County where you are residing.
All of this information and much more can be found on the Florida Residency Guide, operated by the State of Florida.