Tag Archives: Florida Domicile

Attention Snowbirds!!

Many states are beginning to aggressively challenge the domicile of individuals who claim to no longer live in a state that they have ties too, such as a home or business. Challenges to your domicile status by your former state can eat up time, money and cause emotional destress.

The main reason a state would challenge your domicile status is of course, money. Your former state would like to continue claiming you as a resident and tax you on all of your income; in states suffering from a large deficit this is ever more prevalent.

Domicile disputes can happen to anyone, from a retired couple in their 60s who passed down a family business to their children to former Yankee, Derek Jeter. In both situations the  former New Yorkers were forced to pay back taxes on all of their income to the state of New York because they did not properly declare domicile in Florida.

If they had properly declared Florida domicile they could only have been taxed for income sourced in their previous state.

With The Florida Domicile Handbook you can learn how to properly declare domicile and avoid a potentially costly legal battle and the headache that comes along with having your resident status challenged by your former state.

Benefits of Moving to Florida From a high-tax State

I recently stumbled across an article that articulates the basic thesis of The Florida Domicile Handbook; and this article touches base on many of the things that are explained in-depth in The Florida Domicile Handbook.

Some of these advantages include:
• No Income tax
• An Array of Asset Protection
• Healthy Real Estate Market
• Homestead Exemption
• No State Estate Tax

One of the key takeaways from this article and the book is that the process of declaring domicile in Florida can make your life more enjoyable all across the board. The weather provides year-round access to the outdoors and endless opportunity for recreation, the vibrant wildlife and beautiful scenery can be found no where else in the world and the tax codes help keep a little more money in your pocket. Click here to read the article, and pick up your copy of The Florida Domicile Handbook for a step by step guide of your move to paradise.


Living your Second Life in a Florida Home

Looking forward to retirement? Maybe you’re a seasonal visitor or like me, spend the summer up north. If you haven’t decided on where to retire, let me tell you why Florida should be your choice.

First of all, buying a house in Florida is extremely affordable right now. A friend recently told me that his realtor found a home in foreclosure that they bought for $250,000. It was valued at $1.2 million just four years ago! Donald Trump bought a Palm Beach estate for $41 million and put it up for sale at $125 million. You can find out how to leverage a relationship with a realtor in my book, The Florida Domicile Handbook. Plus, I explain your options with financing and homeowner’s insurance.

Florida’s homestead asset protection laws are great for retirees who are planning to declare Florida as their domicile. I give more detailed information on homestead and tax exemptions in the Florida Domicile Handbook.

Take for example the elderly mother who wants to give her home to her children upon passing. She put her home in a QPRT (Qualified Personal Residence Trust), thereby lowering the gift and estate taxes. Now, she still gets to live in that same house until she dies, paying only a minimum rent and with the real estate value of her home going up.

Another reason why Florida offers the best active senior lifestyle is the health care choices. In addition to world class facilities like the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, Florida has many top rated hospitals and assisted living facilities. This is not to say that Florida specializes in senior care only. Medical facilities and health care providers in the state are known for medical advancements in cancer care and pharmacology among other fields.

Florida does give retirees the second (and, in all probability, the best) life that they have always wanted. In Chapter 11 of my book, you can read about all the comprehensive healthcare options available to seniors.

The Florida Domicile Handbook will also give you a step-by-step guide on how to establish a Florida domicile with a few helpful Q & A’s about changing homesteads to guide you through a smooth transition.

Best Retirement Spot

In her article, “5 Ways to Pick a Great Place to Retire,” author Emily Brandon lists main items to consider when looking for a place to retire. It must have – good medical facilities, lower taxes, affordable cost-of-living, convenient transportation and low-cost homes. She must have had Florida on HER mind.

Florida has numerous retirement communities, each with their own medical facilities. Because of the influx of retirees that head for better weather during the autumn of their lives, Florida has made the necessary accommodations. And these are not your “nursing-home type” facilities either. Each community focuses on care and social events.

There are also assisted living retirement communities perfect for senior retirees who require help in daily tasks such as shopping or keeping the lawn trimmed. Or communities for those that require medical care but not hospitalization. In a nutshell, these communities put a premium on the quality of life of its occupants.

Cost of living, including housing, utilities, food, transportation and taxes, is average in Florida compared to other retiree-desirable options. Being a tourist destination may have an effect on this. Nevertheless, living expenses are relative to lifestyle choices and personal choices.

Florida’s tax climate is ideal not only for businesses but for retirees as well. Aside from enjoying no income tax, there is no inheritance tax and no separate state estate tax.

Lastly, Florida has the best weather and superb attractions – both in natural resources and tourist destinations. The tropical Floridian weather is good for retirees and is usually the number one consideration on the “retirement requirements” list.

Florida is the retirement spot of the United States, sometimes involuntarily when retirees just seem to gravitate towards a certain community. And along with the natural factors, we have embraced this calling and fashioned lifestyles for those who want to spend their “vacation years” here.

For an in depth look at the benefits of retiring to Florida, get a copy of the Florida Domicile Handbook. It will help you make an enlightened decision on your retirement place.

Derek Jeter’s Tampa Mansion

American Baseball League player, Derek Jeter who plays shortstop for the New York Yankees has changed the landscape, if not the skyline of Tampa, Florida. A year after they started building, the biggest home in Hillsborough County is completed.

Jeter has long planned this project, buying adjacent lands in Davis Islands since 2005. The mansion, built in an English Manor style and situated near the water, cost $7.7 million.

With seven bedrooms and nine baths, the 30,000 square feet domicile sits on three lots in the Bahama Circle. It has two 3-car garages, a swimming pool that overlooks the ocean, a billiards room and a memorabilia room. Of course, it also comes with a small pier. All this to be protected from the public eye with a 6-foot privacy fence.

The Yankee reportedly made $21 million last year, so the $7.7 million mega mansion should be covered. Jeter also has another smaller house in Avila. Smaller because it is only 4,000 square foot and only cost him a mere $1 million. It is situated in Avila Golf and Country Club, north Tampa.

Aside from his homes in Florida, Jeter’s other assets include homes in Marlboro, New Jersey, Greenwood Lake, New York and a Trump World Tower apartment in Manhattan – the latter being currently in the market.

Jeter has claimed Florida residency, hence his exemption from state income tax. Although he works in New York, his residency and majority of assets are in Florida. Since 1994, Jeter has maintained a Tampa residence when he first started out with the Yankees.

Back in 2007, Jeter was hounded by New York tax officials. The issue was his failure to pay taxes between the years 2001 to 2003. His apartment purchase in the Manhattan Trump World Tower and an $8,000 monthly rental in Long Island brought him under tax scrutiny.

This new mega mansion in Tampa will help prove his intent and slide the scale in favor of Florida domicile. Assuming Jeter has filed a declaration of Domicile in Florida, his homestead will be under the vast umbrella of the asset protection laws of Florida.

Read all about Florida Homestead laws and protection in Chapter 3 of the Florida Domicile Handbook.

Migration Patterns

In my last blog post, I discussed a little bit about who is moving to Florida. Today, we will talk about what makes them choose us. Here are the top three reasons why Florida is one of the top places to move to in the United States.

Despite the occasional threat of a hurricane, weather has been a consistent pro on the list of prospective residents. Florida enjoys a tropical climate with only wet and dry seasons. Anywhere you live, beaches are only a short drive away. And unless you choose to visit the swamps, you should have an alligator-free water experience in the sun.

Cost of Living
Although Florida does boast many millionaire residents, you do not have to be one to enjoy the sunshine state. Housing availability is not a problem and rent is competitive, almost half as low as in other states. Florida is also one of eight states that does not impose income tax on its residents. Hence a lot of professionals have chosen to take up permanent residency here.

While there are sensitive issues raised by the effects of immigration in Florida, it cannot be denied that immigration is vital to the economy. In fact, it has been one of the moving forces behind the rise of businesses, housing developments and various job opportunities.

The 5th Season
Florida’s uniqueness extends to another season, Snowbird Season. This typically runs from November to April and brings over a million seasonal residents. These numbers are expected to rise pending the approach of the Baby Boomers’ retiring age. These seasonal residents bring with them unprecedented impact on the economy and quality of life. For established businesses, the possibilities are endless.

If you are interested in learning more about bringing your business and your family to Florida, buy your copy of The Florida Domicile Handbook.

Powering Florida – How prepared are our Nuclear Plants?

Currently, there are five nuclear power plants in Florida that provide 15% of our state’s energy:

  • Turkey Point Station Unit 3
  • Turkey Point Station Unit 4
  • St Lucie Plant Unit 1
  • St Lucie Plant Unit 2
  • Crystal River Power Plant

The first four are owned by Florida Power and Light Co. (FPL) while the fifth is owned by Progress Energy Inc. FPL, being the major producer of nuclear energy in Florida, powers 4.5 million homes and offices using 19% of nuclear power in the electricity they provide. On the other hand, Progress Energy Inc. provides energy to more than 1.6 million households and businesses.

After what happened to Japan’s nuclear power plant, it isn’t a surprise that Governor Rick Scott initiated a close inspection of Florida’s nuclear power plants.

How do our plants differ?

Aside from the fact that US nuclear power plants are designed to withstand great seismic hazards, safety precautions are implicit. Backup generators are stored in concrete, steel-reinforced buildings built above sea level which can power the cooling system for seven days. Should a hurricane occur, the backup generators are safe from flooding.

Secondly, spent fuel is stored in a separate building from the reactor to avoid fire accidents if the reactors should be shaken by a hurricane or extreme flood.

The major and probably the most defining difference is the kind of water the reactors use. Japan’s power plant uses a boiling water reactor while all Florida power plants use pressurized water reactor systems. Aside from the way the steam is produced, the most important boon of a pressurized water reactor is that the produced steam is nonradioactive.

Although it is said that Florida is safe from tsunamis as recently seen in Japan, our nuclear power plants have taken this and every other possible natural phenomena into consideration when these plants were designed and constructed. Safety is a priority, as it should be. Periodic checks into backup systems are being done to ensure that each plant is equipped with the proper safety measures.

The Florida Domicile Handbook includes interesting facts about Florida including history, popular destinations, amusement parks, golf courses, beaches, state parks, and demographic information for each corridor.

Florida Business Taxes

Despite the fact that there are a little over thirty kinds of taxes that a Florida business can be subjected to, there are only five that need to be studied if you are planning to start up or move your business to any Florida county. These five taxes are the sales and use tax, discretionary sales surtax, unemployment tax, communications services tax and corporate income tax. These are imposed on a majority of business in the state of Florida.

Starting a business can be difficult whichever state you choose. Fortunately, there are many local agencies such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) who can help new residents with their businesses whether its a new or relocated from another state. You can also approach the appropriate government agency. The Department of Revenue has several service centers that give you the advice and direction you need if you are thinking of starting a business, whether big or small, or if you are shopping for a new location for your business. You can attend one of the educational seminars which they host around the state from time to time. You can get in depth information about the taxes imposed on Florida businesses. Get in touch with DOR Taxpayer Services to get a complete list of required business taxes.

In the Florida Domicile Handbook, you will find more information about the opportunities for financial growth as a Florida domiciled resident. You can also find contact information on agencies that can help you, including the DOR Taxpayer Services, in the book.

Documentary Stamp Tax

Documentary stamps are imposed on documents drawn to serve as promissory notes, mortgages, security agreements and other written agreements to pay money. In a real estate transaction, deeds are attached with actual stamps to show that the said document has paid its due to the county. Cash payments are not levied with this kind of tax. Basic amount of the doc stamp tax is 35 cents per $100 while documents that transfer an interest in real property are charged 70 cents per $100 or any portion thereof. Transfer of interest in real property documents include warranty deeds, quit claim deeds and contracts or agreements for a deed among others. For bigger loan amounts, tax is flat rated at $2,450. That is the maximum amount of expenditure for documentary stamp tax.

To illustrate, for a promissory note of $40,000 which is eligible for the basic documentary stamp tax of 35 cents per $100 the computation would be as follows:

Tax = $0.35 × ($40,000/$100) = $140

For a transfer of interest on a $1 million parcel of Florida real estate, 70 cents per $100 in documentary stamp tax will be paid. Calculation of tax will be as follows:

Tax = $0.70 × ($1,000,000/$100) = $7,000

For more information on documentary stamp tax and other related topics, grab your copy of “Florida Domicile Handbook” or subscribe to our blog at http://floridadomicileman.wordpress.com/.