The term “Florida resident” has different meanings under different parts
of Florida law.
For asset protection purposes, Florida residency means more than just owning Florida property or having a Florida address. Whether or not you qualify as a permanent Florida resident depends on whether your circumstances and your actions demonstrate your intent to establish a primary place of residence in Florida. When “going home” means you are returning to your residence in Florida and when your personal mail is sent to your Florida address, you are probably a Florida resident.
When determining whether someone has established residency in Florida, Courts consider all relevant facts and circumstances indicative of a person’s ties to Florida. To decide if a judgment debtor is domiciled in Florida, a court often uses definitions and indications of Florida residence taken from both Florida Statutes and Florida’s administrative code. Florida Statute § 222.17 states that a person can show intent to maintain a Florida residence as a permanent home by filing a sworn Declaration of Domicile with the clerk of the circuit court. The statute does not exclude concurrent ownership
of a second residence in another state provided that the primary residence is claimed only in Florida.
Florida Statute § 196.012
defines a permanent residence 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.”
There is no waiting period to establish Florida residency for asset protection purposes. As soon as you form the intent to make Florida your primary home, you are a Florida resident, and you are entitled to Florida’s asset protection benefits.
The rules are different for bankruptcy, however. Bankruptcy law imposes a two-year waiting period before a debtor may claim Florida’s exemptions in bankruptcy court.
Residency for Tax Purposes
Becoming a Florida resident means something different in terms of state income
tax than it does in terms of Florida asset protection. While there may be certain time requirements related to income taxes
imposed by other states (Florida does not have a personal income tax), there is generally no such time requirement for Florida residency for asset protection.
For tax purposes only, you will at minimum need to be living in Florida a a resident for 6 months. Often snowbirds, or people that come to Florida to avoid say the cold winters, seek to establish residency in Florida to avoid the high income tax rates imposed by those northern states.
Ultimately you should contact a tax professional in the northern state to see what the taxing state’s requirements are in determining whether or not you have become a Florida resident.
For Florida asset protection purposes, what is needed is an intent to make Florida your permanent residence. There is not a strict 6 month time limit.
222.17 Manifesting and evidencing domicile in Florida.—
(1) Any person who shall have established a domicile in this state may manifest and evidence the same by filing in the office of the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the said person shall reside, a sworn statement showing that he or she resides in and maintains a place of abode in that county which he or she recognizes and intends to maintain as his or her permanent home.
(2) Any person who shall have established a domicile in the State of Florida, but who shall maintain another place or places of abode in some other state or states, may manifest and evidence his or her domicile in this state by filing in the office of the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which he or she resides, a sworn statement that his or her place of abode in Florida constitutes his or her predominant and principal home, and that he or she intends to continue it permanently as such.
(3) Such sworn statement shall contain, in addition to the foregoing, a declaration that the person making the same is, at the time of making such statement, a bona fide resident of the state, and shall set forth therein his or her place of residence within the state, the city, county and state wherein he or she formerly resided, and the place or places, if any, where he or she maintains another or other place or places of abode.
(4) Any person who shall have been or who shall be domiciled in a state other than the State of Florida, and who has or who may have a place of abode within the State of Florida, or who has or may do or perform other acts within the State of Florida, which independently of the actual intention of such person respecting his or her domicile might be taken to indicate that such person is or may intend to be or become domiciled in the State of Florida, and if such person desires to maintain or continue his or her domicile in such state other than the State of Florida, the person may manifest and evidence his or her permanent domicile and intention to permanently maintain and continue his or her domicile in such state other than the State of Florida, by filing in the office of the clerk of the circuit court in any county in the State of Florida in which the person may have a place of abode or in which the person may have done or performed such acts which independently may indicate that he or she is or may intend to be or become domiciled in the State of Florida, a sworn statement that the person’s domicile is in such state other than the State of Florida, as the case may be, naming such state where he or she is domiciled and stating that he or she intends to permanently continue and maintain his or her domicile in such other state so named in said sworn statement. Such sworn statement shall also contain a declaration that the person making the same is at the time of the making of such statement a bona fide resident of such state other than the State of Florida, and shall set forth therein his or her place of abode within the State of Florida, if any. Such sworn statement may contain such other and further facts with reference to any acts done or performed by such person which such person desires or intends not to be construed as evidencing any intention to establish his or her domicile within the State of Florida.
(5) The sworn statement permitted by this section shall be signed under oath before an official authorized to take affidavits. Upon the filing of such declaration with the clerk of the circuit court, it shall be the duty of the clerk in whose office such declaration is filed to record
the same in a book to be provided for that purpose. For the performance of the duties herein prescribed, the clerk of the circuit court shall collect a service
charge for each declaration as provided in s. 28.24.
(6) It shall be the duty of the Department of Legal
Affairs to prescribe a form for the declaration herein provided for, and to furnish the same to the several clerks of the circuit courts of the state.
(7) Nothing herein shall be construed to repeal or abrogate other existing methods of proving and evidencing domicile except as herein specifically provided.
The 2019 Florida Statutes
TAXATION AND FINANCE
196.012 Definitions.—For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms are defined as follows, except where the context clearly indicates otherwise:
. . .
(16) “Permanent resident” means a person who has established a permanent residence as defined in subsection (17).
(17) “Permanent residence” means 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. A person may have only one permanent residence at a time; and, once a permanent residence is established in a foreign state or country, it is presumed to continue until the person shows that a change has occurred.
VOTER RESIDENCY GUIDELINES FOR FLORIDA
(Updated February 2012)
These guidelines are for reference only. They are not to be construed as legal advice
or representation. For any particular set of facts or circumstances, refer to the applicable state, federal law, and case law, and/or consult a private attorney before drawing any legal conclusions or relying upon this information.
Legal residence-Permanent. Legal residency is not defined in law. However, over the years, the courts and the Florida Department of State/Division of Elections’ have construed legal residency to be where a
person mentally intends to make his or her permanent residence.1 Evidence of such intent can come from items or activities such as obtaining a Florida driver’s license2, paying tax receipts, paying bills for residency (light, water
, garbage service) and receiving mail at address, claiming the property as
homestead,3 declaring the county as domicile, and doing other activities indicative or normally associated with home life. Therefore, legal residence is a convergence of intent and fact. Once residency is established for voting purposes, it is presumptively valid or current
until evidence shows otherwise.
See Op. Atty Gen. Fla. 055-216 (August 26, 1955). A business address is not typically a satisfactory legal residential address but if the person resides there despite the zoning ordinance, the address could become the person’s legal residential address.4
Legal residence-Temporary Out-of-County. A person who has no permanent address in the county but intends to remain a resident of Florida and the county in which he or she is registered must be registered in the Supervisor of Elections’ main office address and assigned the corresponding precinct.
(Section 101.045, Fla. Stat.) The person has to have had some prior physical presence and residence in the county. Such persons though cannot vote in the municipal elections.
Legal residence-Mobile. For a person with a nontraditional abode (e.g., boat, motor home, etc.) who intends and has presence in the county and intends for county to be residence county, acceptable addresses include: 1) the place where messages regularly received5, 2) the general delivery address at a specific post office, or 3) the address for the campground or docking site (mail is received there).
Legal residence-Homeless. It is against Florida and federal laws to discriminate against a homeless
person. The voter registration laws cannot be applied in a manner to deny such person the right to
register to vote.6 Therefore, a person who is homeless or without a permanent ‘traditional’ home but intends to remain permanently in the locale can register using an address for: 1) place where he or she regularly receives messages, 2) the church if it agrees to accept mail or messages on the person’s behalf, 3) the shelter or other local that a person frequents and could be reached, 4) the specific post office for
. It may even be a specific street corner, park bench, vacant lot, etc., to where the person frequently rests or returns and intends to serve as the “home-base”.7 The general point is to be able to generally locate and assign a precinct that corresponds with that location.
As to Florida Driver's Licensing, Vessel and / or Vehicle Titling and Insurance Residency Requirements
You may be considered a resident of Florida when you:
Have started employment
or engaged in a trade
, profession, or occupation in this state.
Have enrolled your children
in the public schools of this state.
Have registered to vote in this state.
Have filed for homestead tax exemption on property in this state.
Have lived in this state for a period of more than six consecutive months.
As a new Florida resident, you must obtain a valid Florida driver license within 30 days of establishing residency to drive on Florida roads. In addition, you must obtain insurance from a Florida insurance agent that is licensed to sell insurance in Florida in order to title and register your vehicle(s), vessel(s), and mobile home(s) within 10 days of establishing residency.
Declaration of Domicile Document