With the economy as it is, it is important to cut costs wherever possible (i.e. rent, taxes). And it may be time for you to invest in a home of your own, if you haven’t already, or move to a new state, given the current state of the housing market and the many tax concessions available to Florida homeowners.
If you are a first-time homeowner in Florida or have recently moved to Florida, as examples, you may be eligible for a homestead property tax exemption of up to $50,000 if you satisfy various conditions, including that you are domiciled in Florida. Your domicile is your principal place of residence, determined primarily by your intent to remain there indefinitely, and you may only have one domicile at a time.
One step you should take to establish domicile in Florida, is to file a sworn statement attesting to the fact that Florida is your domicile. That statement should be filed with the circuit court for the county in which you intend to maintain your permanent home. If you wish to establish domicile in Broward County, for example, you should record your sworn statement to the Office of the Clerk of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court for Broward County, located at 201 S.E. 6th Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. A court may, however, determine that you have established domicile in Florida in other less formal ways, including, but not limited to, by:
- Registering your car/ obtaining license plate in FL;
- Registering to vote in FL;
- Obtaining a FL Driver’s License;
- Directly filing for the homestead tax exemption in FL;
- Executing or amending your Will or Trust to reflect your residence in FL; and/ or
- Opening a bank account/ changing the address on credit cards to reflect your residence in FL.
This list is not a complete list of things someone can do to establish and prove domicile in Florida. You can find more information on manifesting and evidencing domicile in Florida for the purpose of obtaining the homestead property tax exemption, or for any other purpose, in Title XV, Section 222.17 of The 2008 Florida Statutes, available at: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/. Additionally, you should consult an experienced Florida Real Estate Lawyer to for more steps someone can take and to ensure your compliance with Florida law.