How to Establish Florida Residency

by: Smith and Howard

February 27, 2014

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A Florida resident has a true, fixed and permanent home in Florida.  Certain actions establish residency; other actions only indicate intent to establish residency.  Combining the two action groups result in a well-documented change of residency to Florida.  Please note that we are unable to advise on individual situations and whether they meet minimum requirements for residency. We recommend that you contact the various Florida agencies included in this article for confirmation or further details.

Actions to establish residency—the minimum requirements:

File a Declaration of Domicile:  File a Declaration of Domicile in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in which you intend to reside.  You may download the declaration from your Florida County’s website.  The counties require notarization of the form.  The clerk’s office usually has a notary public on site.  If the state of your former residence has a Declaration of Non-domicile, consider filing it.  Some Florida counties include the Declaration of Domicile on the homestead property tax exemption form.

Apply for a Homestead property tax exemption:  Qualify for the homestead property tax exemption if you own your Florida residence. You have until March 1 to file for the homestead property tax exemption with the County Property Appraiser in your Florida county of residence. You may follow the links to the specific county property appraiser site to download the county’s homestead exemption application  (  Call the appraiser’s office to see if you need to submit the form in person or if you can mail it in, as each county has a different procedure. You will need a copy of your deed, a Florida driver’s license, a Florida automobile registration (if applicable), your voter registration card and/or a filed Declaration of Domicile, and your social security number in order to complete the form. If you do not drive, you must get a Highway Patrol identification card issued at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office (DHSMV). For jointly owned property, both parties must furnish the proof.

Register to Vote:  After moving to Florida, register to vote as a resident of Florida. Contact the County Supervisor of Elections for residency requirements for voting and then register.  Contact the county Board of Registrars of your former state of residence to notify the Board of your change of residence and instruct the Board to remove your name from your former county’s voting roll.

Actions to indicate intent to establish residency:

Florida driver’s license:  Obtain a Florida driver’s license and plates for your automobile. You must visit a Florida DHSMV site in person to obtain an initial Florida driver’s license. Florida law requires identification, proof of date of birth (i.e. certified US birth certificate, valid US passport, Certificate of Naturalization), proof of residential address (i.e. deed, Florida voter registration card, Florida vehicle registration) and proof of social security number (i.e. social security card, W-2, pay stub) from all residents before issuing a driver’s license or identification card.  If you’ve recently changed your name (i.e. marriage), be sure you’ve updated your records with the Social Security Administration before applying for a Florida license. Contact the local Florida DHSMV for driver’s license requirements (

Income tax returns:  File future Federal income tax returns using your Florida address. (IRS Service Center in Austin, TX if no payment due.  IRS Service Center in Charlotte, NC if payment due.) If you have income sourced in a state outside of Florida (i.e. your former state of residence), file a nonresident income tax return in the state of the sourced income if that state has an individual income tax.

Wills and estate planning:  If you do not have a will or you have a will executed in your former state of residence, contact an attorney to draw a will declaring Florida as your state of legal residence.  Execute your estate planning documents in Florida.

Tax agency:  Notify taxing officials of your change of residence by either calling the state’s Department of Revenue or, if your state of former residence has a change of address form, filing the change of address form. Most states’ part-year resident returns provide a place on the return to indicate your period of residency ending within the tax year.

Physical presence:  Be physically present in Florida for more than half of the year.  Own or lease, and occupy, a dwelling in Florida.

Stocks and ownership interests:  If you own corporate stocks or own a Partnership/LLC interest outside of a broker account, notify the entities of your change of residence.  This will not only indicate your intention to establish Florida residency, it will ensure you receive your Forms 1099 and Schedules K-1 to assist you in preparing your   income tax returns.  Transfer financial (i.e. securities, bank) accounts from your state of former residence to Florida.  Change your mailing address to Florida for any out-of-state accounts (i.e. brokerage accounts, bank accounts) you maintain.

Safe deposit box:  Rent a safe deposit box in Florida to hold all your valuables.

Contracts and other documents:  In all future contracts and other documents containing reference to your state of residency, cite Florida as your state of residency.

Club memberships:  Withdraw membership in any club outside of Florida if a requirement of membership includes residency within the state of the club’s location. Change an out-of-state club membership to a “nonresident” membership, when possible.

Religious affiliations:  Transfer your religious affiliations to Florida.

Communications:  Declare Florida your state of residence in all oral and written communications concerning your residence or domicile.

Hotel registrations:  Register at hotels as a resident of Florida.

Business:  Transact business in Florida.

Social Security:  Notify the Social Security Administration of your change of address.

Passports:  Use your Florida address for your passport.

Credit cards:  Use your Florida address for your charge accounts.

Insurance:  Register your Florida address with your insurance company and Medicare.

Checks:  Have all income, pension, dividend/interest checks and other payments mailed to your Florida address.

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