Every year, many Ohioans consider changing residency from Ohio to Florida. There certainly are a number of benefits to becoming a Florida resident such as no state income tax and Florida's homestead exemption, which not only reduces the amount of real property taxes, but also provides significant creditor protection on your primary residence. Additionally, Florida has the Save Our Homestead Property, which limits the increased assessed value of your primary home to three percent annually. Of course, the other significant non-economic benefit of moving to Florida is the climate, especially the warm, beautiful winters in Florida.
There are a number of steps you will need to take to establish domicile in Florida. A person can have only one domicile, which is the state in which they are considered a resident. A person can have multiple residences but can only be a resident of one state. The basic steps to changing your domicile from Ohio to Florida involve the ownership or leasing and occupation of a residence in Florida, surrendering your Ohio driver's license and obtaining a Florida driver's license, and changing your voting registration and tax filing address from your Ohio home to your new Florida residence. Florida also allows you the option of filing a Declaration of Domicile in the county where your Florida residence is located. While the filing of the Declaration is not a statutory requirement of becoming a Florida resident, it does confirm your intention to establish your domicile in Florida. These steps alone are not conclusive as to a change in residency but are actions which, at a minimum, must be taken.
In addition, you will need a minimum of 183 days per year that you are physically within the state of Florida to establish and maintain your residency. Several years ago, the state of Ohio made it easier to avoid Ohio's state income tax by allowing a non-resident to have up to 212 "contact days" in Ohio without being subject to its Ohio income tax. Despite this 212-day period, it always is recommended that you spend a minimum of 183 days outside of the state of Ohio so as not to be subject to its income tax.
In addition to the economic and climate benefits involved in a change of your domicile to Florida, it can still be an emotional decision to relocate your residency for some. Some people born and raised in Ohio just do not want to give up their Ohio residency out of a sense of loyalty to the state.
Whatever your reasons for considering the change, we have attorneys at Mansour Gavin who are licensed to practice law in both Ohio and Florida and can assist you in making your decision and counseling you on what necessary steps to take to facilitate the change in residency. Our attorneys can also assist in the preparation of your estate planning documents and real estate matters that may be necessitated by your change of residency.