Florida Residency

Our mail service provides you with a physical address. This address can help you to establish Florida residency if you wish. If you choose to use our address for driver's license and residency, then an initial physical presence at the DMV in Crestview, Florida will be required.

You do not have to claim legal residency in Florida to use our mail service. A large number of our customers are part-time travelers (snowbirds, winter birds) who use our service as a mailing address only.

Florida statutes 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." You can establish residency in Florida by filing a declaration of domicile, qualifying for homestead exemption, or registering to vote.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Signup with Good Sam Mail Service for Florida physical address.
  2. Break all ties from your home state. Change addresses directly with all major institutions, banks, insurance companies, IRS, social security, cell phone provider, etc.
  3. Mail flow to your new address in Florida.
  4. Plan trip to Crestview, Florida at the Okaloosa Tax collector. (Initial physical presence at DMV required.) (Free boondocking on 5 acre property available to Good Sam Mail Service members.)
  5. DMV requirements (two documents required from this list):

    • Bill paid with new address (electronic statements are acceptable)
    • Bank statement, bank checks
    • Florida certificate of address
    • Florida vehicle insurance policy

    A U.S. Passport or birth certificate is also required.

  6. Surrender old drivers license plus eye exam. No written test.
  7. After obtaining drivers license, contact the Supervisor of Elections office in Okaloosa County for information on registering to vote, 850-689-5600.
  8. Vehicle registration requirements:

    • Original title
    • Proof of Florida insurance
    • Bill of sale on RV (if purchased in past 6 months)
    • VIN number verified by dealer or police officer (if not presenting RV or vehicle in person)

Resources

Lienholder letter for title - https://goodsammailservice.com/files/StandardTitlePacket.pdf
FL vin verification form - https://www.flhsmv.gov/pdf/forms/82042.pdf
FL certificate of address - https://www.pbctax.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Cert-Address-Form_updated.pdf

Advantages of Florida Residency

  • No state income tax.
  • No personal property tax.
  • No tax on pension checks and Social Security benefits.
  • No annual vehicle inspections.
  • No emission testing requirements.
  • Drivers license valid for 8 years.
  • Low vehicle plate fees.
  • Quality health care and health care providers.
  • Florida voted most beautiful & friendly RV parks.
  • Florida residency discount for state parks.
  • Florida residency discount for Disney World.
(Note: Crestview, Florida is located in Okaloosa County, which is ranked #45 (closed) out of 948 Florida cities with the lowest vehicle insurance premiums.)

Florida Residency Checklist

To establish residency in Florida, one should consider the following Florida residency checklist:

  • Record a Declaration of Domicile in the county in which you live.
  • Maintain a physical mailing address, not a P.O. Box.
  • Keep a record of informal statements regarding residency (emails/texts).
  • Work for an employer that is located in Florida.
  • Register to vote in Florida.
  • Obtain a Florida driver’s license.
  • If owning a home in Florida, pay applicable property taxes.
  • Use a Florida address on all legal paperwork.
  • Use the Florida address when filing income tax returns.
  • Obtain Florida tags on all vehicles.
  • Change passport address to Florida address.
  • Physically move some valuable household items, such as artwork or jewelry, to your Florida home.
  • File for the homestead tax exemption if you own a Florida home.
  • Notify other professionals, such as your attorneys, accountants, banks, and insurance carriers, that your primary residence is in Florida.
  • Change your primary care physician to a local one in Florida.
  • Leave any social clubs or memberships from your previous state of residence.
  • If practical, sell any real estate of the previous state of residence.
  • Notify government agencies of your new address, including Social Security, Medicare, and any others.
  • For professionals moving to Florida, ensure that you are licensed to practice in Florida.
  • Update your will and ancillary documents (Health Care Directive, Living Will, etc.) to Florida forms.
  • For property still owned in the previous state, redo the policy as a “non-resident” or “secondary” home.
  • If you have a safe deposit box, transfer it to a local Florida bank.
  • Change your pet’s veterinarian to one in Florida (this was actually a determining factor in one case).
  • Change newspaper subscriptions to Florida.

Florida Declaration of Domicile

A Florida declaration of domicile is a sworn affidavit filed in the Circuit Court of a person’s residence that documents the intent to make Florida their permanent home. Florida Statute 222.17 permits people to manifest and document their intent by filing such a declaration of domicile. Under the statute, the declaration may be filed by a person who maintains a “place of abode” in a Florida county where they intend to maintain as their permanent home.

People who maintain a second residence in another state may file a declaration of domicile to manifest their Florida residence as their primary home.

Purpose

The declaration of domicile is a voluntary filing. No statute requires an existing or new Florida resident to file a Declaration of Domicile. Failure to file the declaration does not disqualify one from being a Florida resident.

The declaration, by itself, is insufficient to establish domicile. The Florida Supreme Court explained that Florida residency requires not just an intention expressed in a Declaration, but also the fact of residency. Good faith intention to be a Florida resident must be accompanied by the overt act of residence.

The intention to move to Florida does not create Florida residency unless the debtor implements his intent through action. A declaration of domicile may be helpful to establish under the other state’s laws that the individual is a Florida resident, and therefore, should not be subject to the original state’s income taxes.

Waiting Period for Florida Residency

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.