Tag Archives: Florida Residency

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.

Legoland continues Florida’s Boom

Does a theme park of plastic buildings made for the enjoyment of kids impact the value of land, support economic rise through investors and increase employment opportunities?

Yes, it does!

This is what Legoland is expected to do and anticipated to bring into Florida when it opens later this year. Creating about 1,000 jobs, it is yet another testament to Florida’s growth rate which is double the national average.

The theme park career opportunities add up to the other job options flourishing in Florida. Computer and technology, health care and construction trades are likewise making a splash in Florida careers.

I include several useful resources and statisctical information in my book, the Florida Domicile Handbook, that will help you determine whether relocating your business to Florida is worth the investment.

When it comes to fun things to do, Florida residents are never sedentary. With diverse activities available to its equally diverse residents, Florida offers sophisticated shopping destinations, cutural arts attractions, and golf courses scattered throughout the state. This on top of the family favorites of theme parks, beaches to swim in and other water-related activities.

To your advantage, the Florida Domicile Handbook includes many factoids on points of interest around Florida including demographic information and historical facts broken into geographic sections.

To learn more about the benefits of living the Sunshine State, get a copy of the Florida Domicile Handbook. It has sidebars with nuggets of information that explain why Florida is the ideal place to raise a family, have a career and invest in the economy.

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.

Who is in Florida?

Florida is the swimming capital of the US with 700 miles of swimmable beaches. It is a highly tropical state known for its beautiful unspoiled beaches and equally beautiful natural parks and preserved habitats. It also has a bustling infrastructure, and so for new residents, it’s the perfect location to buy a home.

But who are the Floridians? What composes this fun, free, state of sunshine, beaches and residents who do not have to pay state income tax?

Florida has a population of 18 million and has 7 million households. See the interesting mix of people that roam the streets of Florida:

Florida State Population

According to the 2010 Census numbers, Florida’s population has increased 3 million in the last 10 years. By 2030, population is forecast to grow to 23 million from the 18 million of 2010.

Although the recession greatly affected the migration rates, the flow of migrants has once again stabilized. Diversity is increasing and with it, the growth of the State to accommodate and to cater to the needs of its new residents. Housing developments are the first to respond to the influx of people who want to retain domicile in Florida, growing to 23.1% over the last decade.

Florida has seen a rise in professionals as well. In 2009, a survey revealed that experienced physicians set up shop in Florida, preferring Florida as a state with no income tax. With the many financial benefits of living in Florida, it is no wonder that financial services are better here than anywhere else in the United States.

With I-75 as a quick convenient route, drawing in visitors and residents from the Midwest and I-95 drawing visitors and residents from the Northeast, Florida sees 82 million tourists per year. And 1,000 people choose to take up permanent residency each day. And who can blame them? After a lifetime of hard work and cold winters, who would not want to spend their days relaxing on the beach with a cold drink in hand?

To learn more about the benefits of making Florida your home, 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.

Discretionary Sales Surtax

Discretionary Sales Surtax is levied on most transactions which are subject to sales and use tax and is imposed by some Florida counties under specific conditions. Surtax ranges from 0.25 to 1.25 percent and is added to the 6 percent state sales tax. The exact amount is defined by the specific county where the service or merchandise is delivered.

The first $5,000 of any tangible property sold as a single item is subject to discretionary sales surtax. Single items are defined as items normally sold in bulk or items that add up to a single unit. Commercial rentals, transient rentals or services are exempted from the $5,000 limit. If the items are sold individually and not normally sold as a set, it cannot be merged to qualify for the $5,000 limit. These items are taxed at the normal surtax rate for single items.

To illustrate, assume that a piano is sold for $6,000, delivered to a home in Florida county and imposed a 1 percent discretionary sales surtax. Computation will be as follows:

$6,000 × 6% (sales tax) = $360
$5,000 × 1% (surtax) = +$50
Total tax due = $410

Any item, such as an automobile, boat or aircraft, bought in the name of a Florida resident in a Florida county will be charged the appropriate surtax county rate by the dealer. For example, if you bought a car titled to your name for $35,000 in 2006, sales surtax computation will be as follows:

$35,000 × 6% (sales tax) = $2,100
$5,000 × 1% (surtax) = +$ 50
Total tax due = $2,150

More information on Florida county discretionary sales surtax with the updated dates of implementation are found in Form DR-15DSS of the Florida Domicile Handbook or click here to buy. For the appropriate forms, visit www.myflorida.com or contact Florida Department of Revenue.

click here to buy

No Income Tax

In my last blog post, I answered a question from a man in Massachussets about capital gains tax. As explained by co-author Brad Galbraith, capital gains tax is a part of income tax, which, under Florida law there is none! A domiciled resident of Florida is only obligated to pay FEDERAL income tax, so capital gains would be reported for federal income tax purposes. There is no separate Florida income tax form to fill out. Period!

Topping the list of reasons – aside from the amazing weather – why a permanent move to Florida is a good idea is no state income tax. In fact, the Florida Constitution prohibits the imposition of a state income tax. And unless the people vote to have a state income tax, it is doubtful that there ever will be one.

Interestingly, there are only eight other states in the entire US that do not impose personal income tax: Alaska, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. In Florida, no state income tax means that any revenue generated from employment or investments are free from government deductions and/or levies. On the other hand, if you decide to move to Vermont, for example, your state income tax will range from 3.6 to 9.5 depending on the amount or level of income.

Here’s another example: Let’s take a married couple who have an individual income of $70,000 and a combined interest income of $150,000 which amounts to a total adjusted income (AGI) of $150,000. In Florida, this couple will get to spend a total of $150,000 should they choose, if they have no itemized deductions. However, in other states, total earnings will not be as much.

Michigan tax = $6,525 (flat tax at 4.35% of $150,000)
California tax = $11,323 (graduated tax)
Pennsylvania tax = $4,605 (flat tax at 3.07% of $150,000)

Further, Florida residents enjoy tax-free income sourced from work or property in other states either as salary or real estate rental earnings. Other states however, will be imposing their own income tax on those same earnings. That means, your earnings as a Florida resident are free to grow and be reinvested without an additional state-imposed income tax.

For more information on taxes in Florida, purchase a copy of The Florida Domicile Handbook or email mike@kilbournassociates.com.

Is a split domicile the best of both worlds?

Some prospective Florida residents feel that splitting domicile between themselves and a spouse will allow them to have the best of all worlds. While there are certain circumstances that could call for splitting domicile, it may not be advisable.

The state of Florida will not allow you to retain your Florida homestead exemption if your spouse is claiming a homestead exemption in another state.

A split domicile raises additional issues. Some states require a married couple to file a joint state income tax return, if the couple files a joint federal income tax return. Additionally, a split domicile may limit the amount of your total federal capital gain exclusion (from $500,000 to $250,000) for the sale of a principal residence after one spouse changes domicile.

Learn more about Florida’s tax benefits in the new updated of The Florida Domicile Handbook. Make sure you consult with a Florida attorney and carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of a split domicile.


Healey’s split domicile to take advantage of Florida residency

According to the Boston Globe, former Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and her husband are splitting their domicile to take advantage of Florida residency.

While there are times that a split domicile might be appropriate, there can be unintended issues for married couples.

First, it starts the clock ticking on one of the couple’s two $250,000 real estate exclusions. (a sale of a residence qualifies if it was a “primary residence” two out of the last five years). So if the home is sold after 3 years from the date of changing residence, there is only one $250,000 real estate exclusion available, not two ($500,000), as is the case for most couples.

Second, Florida does not allow a couple to benefit from two homestead exemptions, thus no Florida homestead exemption for the spouse changing to a Florida domicile – if the northern home is enjoying a homestead exemption.

Third, some states require a couple to file joint state tax returns if they are filing a joint federal return.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of Florida residency, buy The Florida Domicile Handbook and join me for my last Florida Domicile seminar of the season on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.