Updated 10 months ago
If you’re one of the more than 800 people who have moved your family or business to Florida every day since before the pandemic, you’ve come to know the benefits of life in the sunshine.
With no state income tax and relatively low taxes at the local levels, Florida is an ideal place to claim residency. From homestead exemption for your primary residence, to asset protection, even in-state tuition at one of the nation’s highest-ranked state university systems for quality education and return on investment, there’s a reason millions call Florida home.
For many, the most important benefit starts at home. The “homestead” property tax exemption is available to individuals who own property and makes it the “permanent residence” of themselves or a dependent.
The amount of the exemption is up to $50,000 of the appraised value of the property. The homeowner must submit a homestead application to your county property appraiser.
A permanent residence also has broad protections against legal collections. Other protected assets include property owned jointly with a spouse, the wages of a qualified head of household, life insurance, many retirement and medical savings accounts, prepaid college plans, Social Security and disability income, and unemployment benefits.
Florida also has no state income and inheritance taxes. If you have a presence in another state, especially involving gainful employment, that jurisdiction determines whether you are a resident there for taxation purposes.
Finally, a resident or dependents may qualify for in-state tuition and financial aid if 12 months of residency can be proved.
How does an individual demonstrate intent to make one’s home in Florida? Permanent residence is defined under Florida statutes as “that 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.” The law states that a person may have only one permanent residence at a time.
For property taxation purposes, establishing permanent residence is made by the county property appraiser. Acceptable documentation includes, among other forms, a sworn Declaration of Domicile filed with your county Clerk of the Courts; evidence of children’s school registration; termination of non-Florida residency; proof of voter registration; a Florida address on federal income tax filings; and utility bills.
Taking advantage of Florida residency is part of smart estate, tax and asset protection planning. For an assessment of your residency and other planning issues, contact the authors at MRS@trippscott.com or TLB@trippscott.com or 954-525-7500.
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Marianna R. Seiler
Director with Tripp Scott, practicing in the areas of corporate transactions, entrepreneurial business, and general business services.
Tanya L. Bower
Director with Tripp Scott, practicing in the areas of entrepreneurial business, finance and corporate, tax and asset planning, estate planning and probate, and non-profits.