Florida is often thought of as a tax haven due to its: lack of a state Income Tax, Inheritance
Tax and Gift Tax. It has a reasonable Sales Tax (6.0%) and in 2007 eliminated its Intangible Tax. However,
Florida has one of the most inequitable property tax system in the nation. This is due to
the "Save Our Homes" cap on Florida property taxes which went into effect in 1995.
The cap limits the increase in the annual assessment of property taxes for Florida residents (homesteaded
properties) to 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.
plus the rapid ramp-up of real estate prices from 2000 through 2006, resulted in property
taxes for second home (non-homesteaded) owners rising 150% while Florida residents experienced a 3% (or less) rise each
year. Some of this increase was mitigated by the subsequent "correction" in real estate prices since 2006,
but now we're starting to see another significant increase in market values (as much as 10% in 2013).
advantages of Florida residency increased further in 2008 when Florida legislators passed Amendment 1 which
makes a homeowner's total savings from the Save Our Homes cap portable. With this amendment
the total savings produced by the cap on the homesteaded property are transferable
to another homesteaded property anywhere in Florida.
Consequently, it pays more now than
ever to consider becoming a Florida resident.
Establishing Florida Residency
As reported above, there may be good reasons for establishing Florida residency, where your second home/condo
Following are the steps that you should take in establishing Florida residency:
or purchase a home/condo in Florida, that you consider your primary residence. If you own
a home in another state, you must own (not rent) your Florida home/condo in order to declare residency.
in Florida for 6 months and one day. Leave and return to Florida when vacationing elsewhere to
claim days-in-state credit.
File a Declaration of Domicile in Palm Beach County.
Apply for a Residency/Homestead Exemption.
in your Will, Codicil or Trust that you are a resident of Florida.
to vote in Florida as soon as you are eligible, and vote in Florida.
jury duty in Florida if/when asked.
Transfer all bank accounts, brokerage accounts, safe deposit
boxes and securities to financial institutions within Florida.
Register your automobiles
and boats, if applicable, in Florida and obtain a Florida drivers license. You must relinquish your prior
File your Federal income tax return with the IRS using your
new address and Florida's IRS filing address.
State that you are a resident of
Florida in all transactions, business and charitable.
Use your Florida address on all registrations
Change the address on all your credit cards
and insurance policies.
Establish church membership in Florida. Change social, religious
and other national organization memberships.
Obtain a telephone listing in Florida and use
this as your primary phone. Consider removing any phone directory listings from other
Keep as many of your primary records, personal photos,
and valued possessions as possible in Florida.
Remove any residency property tax discounts
from your prior state of residency, and cancel your prior voting registration.