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Explorer01

How much time should I spend in new domicile state?

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I am still researching domicile options and have a couple of questions:

  1. How much time should I spend in my new domicile state, in general? A day or two, week or two or a couple of months each year? Or must I even visit every year?
  2. I read some scary articles on the Escapees site about domicile issues. Does you have any idea how often people get into legal issues over domicile (people who don't own houses in other states)?
  3. Are there any reasons, beyond registration renewal and/or driver's license renewals, to have to go back for anything, other than to maintain the appearance of being domiciled? Anything annual or otherwise regular? Just trying to determine whether I'd need to domicile near a larger airport or not.

Thanks!

 

Edited by Explorer01

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When we were getting ready to go full time, we talked with an attorney recommended on the Escapees website.  She told us that the more time the better, in order to establish a record of intent that we were making the new state our permanent domicile.  We chose Florida as our domicile, and we had planned on wintering there anyway, so we spent 3 months there (not all in the same part of the state).  She also advised us to make doctor appointments there, get our bank relations moved there, and to otherwise establish community relations.  Also, you can file a notarized affidavit of intent of domicile with the county clerks in both the new and old locations, so that provides a legal document of your intention to change your domicile from one state to another.

 

The main issue seems to be that you need evidence that you have actually "moved" when the old state comes looking for you to pay taxes.  The more evidence you have, the more convincing it is to the old state.

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I know several people who haven't been in Texas in 10 years.  They will Probably will make a  trip through next year to renew DL.  What scary articles on what Escapees site?

Barb

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Barb

I think they are talking about an article that came out a few years ago about people who had some serious problems with their previous states. If I recall rightly I was concerned after reading the article myself. I did some research and found out there was more to it than what was presented in the article. I felt the article mis-represented the situation. I went looking for my research but can't find it.

If I recall correctly they did not cut their ties with their home state completely, didn't dot the i's and cross the t's.

 

 

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There are a couple of issues that I need to work through for myself. These articles scared me just a bit about doing the domicile move.

https://www.escapees.com/articles-and-blogs/entry/simplifying-the-complex-issue-of-domicile-law "You need to spend time in the state and take other steps indicating that you really do intend to be there on a regular basis and you intend to make it home."

And another:

https://www.escapees.com/articles-and-blogs/entry/domicile-revisited-back-to-the-basics "For a great many RVers, not all of their worldly possessions will fit in their RVs. Subsequently, they either donate personal property, sell it, give it to friends or family or they store it somewhere. Storing personal property creates a rebuttable presumption that the RVers will return to claim their property, even when they store the items in the garage of a loved one. This is a rebuttable presumption—meaning RVers can overcome this presumption. However, it takes more evidence to establish a cogent, believable argument as to why those possessions are outside their state/county of domicile."

I need to think about where to store what meager belongings remain to me and where to store them. As of now, they are in the basement of a loved one - in another state.

Edited by Explorer01

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How much time should I spend in my new domicile state, in general? 

There are more issues than just one involved in this question, and also more than one state involved, with each state having their own laws about such issues. Most states do have some time period that one must be physically present in the state before they will be allowed "resident" status, which is the way most states state their rules, but the lack of such a requirement is one of the things which make TX, SD, & FL so popular for RV domicile, along with their lack of any state income tax. In addition, most states also require that to be a resident & register an auto, get a driving license, and numerous other things you have to maintain a physical address such as a house of apartment has but the three popular states accept a mail service address. Once you have established that you are a legal resident in most states, you continue to be a resident there as long as you do not leave permanently and maintain your legal address there, under the laws of the claimed state. 

But there are two situations that can trigger a challenge to the claimed domicile. The first is that if you move from a state with high taxes to one with much lower taxes, the state that you are leaving my challenge your right to stop paying their taxes and require proof that you have actually moved somewhere else. The other common issue is that all states have some type of rule about when you are required to make their state your domicile and that usually has a period of employment involved(again the rules vary by state) and it sometimes involves a maximum period of continuous living in the state you are required to start to pay taxes and to be considered a resident. In my years of research on this subject, I have never heard of any state protecting a person who claims domicile in their state from the legal issues of another state so you can in some situations be caught between two state's laws. The thing that you must do is to be aware of the laws of any state that you either accept employment in or spend a very long continuous period living in. Domicile is a legal term used by the courts and there is no single set of rules about what makes you one or what relieves you of that responsibility. I suggest that you might be wise to read this article on my website which has been published in Escapees Magazine as well as other places. 

1 hour ago, Explorer01 said:

I need to think about where to store what meager belongings remain to me and where to store them. As of now, they are in the basement of a loved one - in another state.

There is no law that ties domicile to where your belongings are, or to any other one matter. Your first issue will be to break the liability for taxes in the state that you are leaving and one important way if that state has an income tax is to file a partial year of taxes for your year of departure, thus serving notice that you have gone. Once that departure is acknowledged and accepted by the state which you are leaving, it is very unlikely that you will be challenged by them again, if you have actually moved from that state and taken your personal business with you. 

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That partial year tax return is the best thing I know of to break ties with the old state.

The intent we signed in South Dakota said something like intending to settle there once we got off the road. But, intentions can change. When we did leave the road we returned to Minnesota but that was never MY intent. Dave dragged me back kicking and screaming. :)

Linda Sand

ps. I didn't actually answer your question. We spent one night in South Dakota the first year. Then went back once more for one night  during the six years I was on the road.

Edited by sandsys

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We will be changing our domicile to TX within the next couple of months. We are changing anything that has an address associated with it to our Escapees address. Once we get to TX we will have the MH and toad inspected, then do all the paperwork with the county/state. We plan to stay a week but we have a daughter in Houston and will visit with her(if she is not traveling). Our belongings are going into storage in AZ though we live in VA. We want our belongings close to one of the children in case anything happens to us. We have lived in TX before and spoken to our insurance agent and there is no problem with the Escapees address for our auto insurance. Just give him a call and he will issue the policy.

At the end of the year we will file federal and a part year state income tax(for VA) with the Escapees address. We will have nothing left with a VA address on it. All ties will be cut.

 

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We domiciled in S Dakota and signed the intent form.  We got our drivers license, licensed our vehicles and purchased insurance.  We stayed 3 days and will not return until it's time to renew our drivers licenses in 2020.  We filed a part year residence tax form with our prior state showing that we moved out of the state part way thru the year ( we used the date we domiciled in SD).  We also sold our home in the prior state at the same time so reported the sale on our final tax return.  The only thing remaining is our bank accounts which should not matter as many banks to not even have a physical location anywhere.  Our checks do have our SD address on them.  We also list the SD address on tax forms and as the residence and mailing address on everything.

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On 8/12/2017 at 2:42 PM, SWharton said:

At the end of the year we will file federal and a part year state income tax(for VA) with the Escapees address. We will have nothing left with a VA address on it. All ties will be cut.

 

That partial year state tax form needs to be filed sometime other than year end to make the move  clear. It's best to do it as soon as you get your address in your new state of domicile.

Linda Sand

ps. That's assuming you don't live in a house for which you filed homestead not do you have a local job that cannot be transported with you.

Edited by sandsys

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On 8/12/2017 at 4:28 AM, Explorer01 said:

There are a couple of issues that I need to work through for myself. These articles scared me just a bit about doing the domicile move.

https://www.escapees.com/articles-and-blogs/entry/simplifying-the-complex-issue-of-domicile-law "You need to spend time in the state and take other steps indicating that you really do intend to be there on a regular basis and you intend to make it home."

 

If you look at that example, the people went back to Minnesota, lived in their house  and THEN sold it.  Which means they 'left' the state and then 'moved back' to the state.  Much better to 'move' once.  Also remember that Minnesota would have an eye out for SD 'moves' because of no state income tax in an adjacent neighbor. 

When we moved from Oklahoma to Texas, we LEFT the state, and did not return to it to live in our house until it sold.  We signed power of attorney to our realtor to complete the sale of the house.  Got new DLs, registered cars,  filed our partial year return showing our new address in TX and that was it. 

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Linda,

When to file a PY return is very much state dependent. Everything I have read says at the end of the year is fine. I will give a call tomorrow but am fairly sure that is correct.

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32 minutes ago, SWharton said:

Linda,

When to file a PY return is very much state dependent. Everything I have read says at the end of the year is fine. I will give a call tomorrow but am fairly sure that is correct.

I don't see how a full year can be construed as a partial year but I am not qualified to rule on this issue. I just prefer to not make "maybe" choices.

Linda Sand

 

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We spent a couple of months researching the advantages and disadvantages of Texas vs South Dakota. Florida wasn't really a possibility because of distance. In the end we chose South Dakota. We actually licensed our motor home in SD while we were working on a church project in Oklahoma. That summer we came up to Sioux Falls, got our drivers licenses, licensed the Jeep, and registered to vote. We spent maybe 10 days doing all of that and visiting the area. We signed the declaration of intent to return, but didn't expect to do so for some time. Yesterday we left Sioux Falls after spending two weeks there. Plans change.

We left Missouri a couple of years ago, but it took a while for our house to sell. Missouri hasn't bothered us. We did send a note to cancel our MO voter registration.

Please note that South Dakota needs a campground or hotel receipt with both names on it if both of you intend to become SD residents. If you wish to register to vote that receipt has to be from the county in which you are going to register. We goofed and stayed at Newton Hills SP at first, so when we registered to vote we found out we were registered in Lincoln County, not Minnehaha County. When we came back two weeks later we stayed at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls, so we were able to change our voting place.

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1 hour ago, sandsys said:

...That partial year state tax form needs to be filed sometime other than year end to make the move  clear. It's best to do it as soon as you get your address in your new state of domicile...

I am not a tax attorney or tax expert, but I would place at least some credence  in the articles by the attorneys from Loring and Associates. We have moved several times over the years. In my experience; for some states (as with the federal government) you can not get the forms and instructions for the current tax year until December of that year or January of the following year. Every state tax return I have ever filed required a copy of W-2s, 1099s, etc. These documents are not usually available before January of the following year. It seems state tax laws can change much more often and it seems more easily than the federal laws. Without the forms and instructions; one can not properly calculate the taxes due or owed because items like deductions, exemptions and credits may have or will change.

Edited by trailertraveler

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Thank you TrailerTraveler. I was going to respond to Linda along the same lines. There are no forms to file at this point and you need all your other documentation to substantiate your income.

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I really think problems have more to do with the previous state rather than the new one.  If you suddenly stop filing taxes in some of the tax hungry states, they might miss you and come looking.  In Nevada, for instance, I doubt we'll have any issues when we change to SD or TX (haven't decided yet).  Sales tax instead of income tax, we can "unregister" our Jeep online and toss the plates in the trash and other than that, we don't pay any thing to the state on a regular basis.  We'll just be gone.

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Once every 12 years to renew your TX DL. How will anyone know when you are in Texas? Much can be done online without being here. Good Luck

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Explorer01,  Whether you spend 1 day, 1 week or 1 month in your new domicile state is somewhat meaningless, as long as you met their minimum required to obtain a DL, voter Reg, vehicle Reg,  etc.  If you intend to apply for some other type of state managed program or benefit, like CCW, resident hunting license, welfare, food stamps, in-state tuition, etc, there will be specific times in state to qualify for each of those. For example, SD only requires 1 overnight stay for a DL, but its 30 days in state if you want a SD CCW permit.

But in trying to avoid any challenge to your claimed domicile state, its more important to track how much time you spend in any state that's not your claimed domicile. Most states have a legal definition of resident that says something like, "If you stay in this state for 180 days or more, you automatically become a resident of this state". In some states that time limit is shortened if you take paid employment within the state. These all vary slightly in each of the 50 states, so its not a one solution fits all.

98% of fulltimers never have an issue, but a few do.  Its usually claims concerning state taxes due that generate the domicile challenge. The first mistake some make is in trying to claim they moved out of their previous home tax state before they actually made a complete break from that state. This gives that state a reason to go after you for additional taxes. Another common issue is people staying too long in one spot. Working for a pay check may or may not raise issues, depending on the specific state, the type of job & the duration. Keep in mind that in some states if you're classified as a "Part Year Resident" because you worked for pay there for 4 months, you may also owe them taxes on a proportionate share of all your "passive income" for that period, even though its not related to that state. (consult your tax expert)

If you don't plan on working for a pay check while traveling, if you don't have lots of investments generating taxable interest payments, if you don't have a sizable estate that's going to require probate processing on your death; then you have little to worry about anyone challenging your domicile. If you do, then you have to be extra carefull of each states rules, especially in tax aggressive states like California and a few others.

there is no generally accepted process between the states, that if you do A, B & C steps, then you're guaranteed never to have your domicile challenged. The written laws are mostly based on the typical situation of a fixed home. For folks who have fixed part time homes in  several different states, then it is critical to know how much time is spent in each state.

For fulltime RV'ers with no fixed home, its more of  a grey area where you try your best to avoid giving them a reason to challenge you; and then if they do, to have as much ammunition on your side to win the dispute. How many days you spent in your domicile state is just one small factor and in my opinion it doesn't carry much importance, as long as you're actually traveling & on the move from state to state frequently. Once you stop moving and start to put down roots in any other state, its a potential reason for a challenge, regardless of how many days/weeks you spent in FL/SD/TX.

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I just circled back to review posts that I had not reviewed before, and I want to again thank all of you for responding. I have since moved my domicile to Florida (via Escapees!) and am now finished with my recent temporary job in the eastern US.  I am in a transitional mode in terms of housing, as I sold my travel trailer and am shopping for a new one, and staying with family in the meantime. 

Thanks to your input, I have a better understanding and will take a common sense approach to the FL domicile. Whether I visit and stay in FL at all, I will remain aware of how much time I spend in one place or another.

 

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When we moved our official residency to South Dakota, we spent one night.  We took the RV campground receipt and changed our residency the next day, including driver's licenses, auto and medical insurance.  We then stayed an additional night and then left the area and did not return for the remaining 5 years we were residents.  I understand the rules have changed and a second piece of documentation is required.  I recommend setting up a mailing service in advance and changing at least one bank account to the new mailing address.  A monthly bank statement would serve as documentation.  In addition I recommend filing a change of address form with the Federal government.  That will change you address for social security, medicare and for the IRS.  There is a single form for this and as I remember it is on IRS webpage.

 

We had no problems and found the South Dakota DMV was really easy to work with and all our changes were done with only a short wait and then within a few minutes of working with a representative. 

 

  

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5 hours ago, JimK said:

When we moved our official residency to South Dakota, we spent one night.  We took the RV campground receipt and changed our residency the next day, including driver's licenses, auto and medical insurance.  We then stayed an additional night and then left the area and did not return for the remaining 5 years we were residents.  I understand the rules have changed and a second piece of documentation is required.  I recommend setting up a mailing service in advance and changing at least one bank account to the new mailing address.  A monthly bank statement would serve as documentation.  In addition I recommend filing a change of address form with the Federal government.  That will change you address for social security, medicare and for the IRS.  There is a single form for this and as I remember it is on IRS webpage.

 

We had no problems and found the South Dakota DMV was really easy to work with and all our changes were done with only a short wait and then within a few minutes of working with a representative. 

 

  

Good advice. Thanks.

 I’ve been keeping detailed notes with information and dates of govt agencies, organizations, and companies that ive notified of my SD address. Im doing this because i am currently living in California and figure that if there was ever a state that may challenge one’s residency it would be CA.

in fact, regarding California DMV, one can list both a residence and a mailing address. I list my current residence in CA but list my mailing address as SD. 

 

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We just domiciled in TX.  It was easy.  As we understand it, TX no longer accepts Escapees documentation for proof of residency.  You need your vehicle registration and one other piece of proof.  Escapees told us to use our proof of insurance with our new address and that worked.

Other than that it was easy.  We spent several days there, mostly pleasure since it only took half a day to register our Jeep and get a drivers license...and that was with an hour round trip to the Cleveland DMV since the Livingston DMV was closed at the time due to flood damage from the hurricane.

As we said earlier, we unregistered our Jeep in Nevada and though we're still here until we hit the road in a few weeks, we're Texas citizens.  It's where you come from that determines the hoops you must jump through, assuming you pick a full time traveler friendly state like TX, SD or FL.  Nevada won't miss us.  California, for instance, probably would have and we'd have to provide a lot more than a drivers license and license plate to not be considered tax evaders if they decided to press the issue.  That's where banks, churches, doctors, etc., etc. come into play.  Without a mortgage or lease agreement it's tough to prove you "live" in another state.

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