“Snowbirds” may want to establish residency in their low-tax Florida winter destination

Florida’s sunny winter climate is not its only attraction for retirees from chilly northern climates; Florida is also one of only nine states without an income tax. For “snowbirds” who summer in a high-tax state up north, there is a potential to save thousands of dollars each year by changing their permanent address to Florida.

Establishing Florida as your primary and permanent home is intentionally not as simple as declaring it so on your tax return.   Snowbirds must cut as many ties to their warm-weather home as possible and truly put down roots in Florida.  But even that may not satisfy the tax agencies in high-tax northern states, woh have well-earned reputations for fighting wealthier snowbirds who suddenly claim to be Florida residents.

Here are a few things you can do to show that you are, in fact, a Florida resident if your warm-weather state challenges your residency status:

  • Spend at least 183 days in Florida.  Residency requirement does not have to be consecutive, and good record-keeping is recommended.
  • Get a Florida drivers license.
  • Register your car or truck in Florida.
  • Vote in Florida
  • Buy or rent a home in Florida, ideally larger than your home in your northern state.
  • Update your estate plan  and other important papers to reflect your Florida address
  • Establish yourself as a patient or client with a Florida doctor, dentist, CPA, lawyer, etc.
  • Bank in Florida, and move important paperwork and valuable items to a Florida safe or bank vault.
  • Send bills for your northern property to your Florida address.
  • Update public records and social media account to reflect your Florida resident status.

If you’re a Michigan “snowbird” considering making Florida your permanent residence and need assistance making this change, please contact a ShindelRock tax professional.