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Looking for a Little Help on Domicile


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My wife and I have been RV'ing for a year and a half and have moved from a travel trailer to a motorhome. We travel about half the time and stay at our S&B the other half. We are slowly working toward fulltiming with the intent of making Florida our domicile. We currently live in Southeast Georgia just 36 miles from the Florida border so we are almost there anyway.

However, now we are approaching 65 and most of our income and all of our social security is excluded from state tax. Plus, Georgia recently changed it's ad valorem (personal property) tax to a one time payment when you purchase the vehicle so we won't have that expense. Registration is $120.00 a year since we are over 26000 pounds gross weight which is certainly a manageable fee. I'm not sure about insurance, but I would suspect Florida is probably somewhat higher than Georgia.

The only issue I see is that if we did stay in Georgia and sell our house we would not have an address to use as our residence. We have no relatives here and I understand that a PO Box or other commercial address may not work for the bank and other institutions. In Florida we had planned to use the Escapees address or St. Brendan's Isle which both seem to be accepted by banks and the DMV. If we stayed in Georgia we would still use one of these mail services as our mailing address, but of course it couldn't be our domicile address.

First, does anyone see any benefit of becoming a Florida resident and subjecting ourselves to that process?

Second, what have others who have decided not to set up domicile in one of the "Big Three" and sold their house used as their address?

Finally, is their anything I'm missing because I am far from an expert on this matter?confused.gif

Thanks

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However, now we are approaching 65 and most of our income and all of our social security is excluded from state tax.

 

 

I like the fact that NONE of our income is subject to state tax. In this case, IMO "none" is better than "most" but, as you have described it may not be the only factor involved in the decision.

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These comparisons may be of assistance:

 

http://www.retirementliving.com/taxes-by-state

 

FLORIDA Sales Taxes

State Sales Tax: 6% (food, prescription and non-prescription drugs exempt). There are additional county sales taxes which could make the combined rate as high as 9.5%.
Gasoline Tax: 54.98 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Diesel Fuel Tax: 58.17 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Cigarette Tax: $1.34/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes

No state income tax
Retirement Income: Not taxed.

Property Taxes

All property is taxable at 100% of its just valuation. Every person who owns and resides on real property in Florida on January 1 and makes the property their permanent residence is eligible to receive a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes, including school district taxes. The additional exemption up to $25,000, applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to nonschool taxes. If one spouse holds the title, the other spouse may file for the exemption with the consent of the titleholder.

Below is a general list of exemptions available in the state.

The homestead exemption for all residents applies to all property taxes, not just city and county taxes. Annual increases in the assessment of homestead property are limited to 3% of the prior year’s assessed value, or if lower, the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for the prior year, as long as there was no change in ownership.

For more details on property taxes, click here, then find the link for the county property appraiser for the county in question. For more information on Florida property tax exemptions, click here.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

There is no inheritance tax and only a limited estate tax.

To review information for new residents, click here.

For general information on Florida taxes, visit the Florida Department of Revenue site or call 800-352-3671 FREE.

 

GEORGIA Sales Taxes

State Sales Tax: 4% (food, prescription drugs exempt), local taxes may increase total to 7.05%.
Gasoline Tax: 49.423 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Diesel Fuel Tax: 59.06 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Cigarette Tax: 37 cents/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes (Click here)

Tax Rate Range: Low – 1.0%; High – 6%
Income Brackets: Lowest – $750; Highest – $7,000
Number of Brackets: 6
Personal Exemptions: Single – $2,700; Married – $5,400; Dependents – $3,000
Standard Deduction: Single – $2,300; Married filing joint return – $3,000; Taxpayer over 65 – $1,300 additional.
Medical/Dental Deduction: Same as Federal taxes
Federal Income Tax Deduction: None
Retirement Income Taxes: Social Security is exempt. Taxpayers who are 62 years of age or older, or permanently and totally disabled regardless of age, may be eligible for a retirement income adjustment on their Georgia tax return. Retirement income includes income from pensions and annuities, interest income, dividend income, net income from rental property, capital gains income, and income from royalties. For married couples filing joint returns with both members receiving retirement income, the maximum adjustment for the applicable year may be up to twice the individual exclusion amount. Retirement income exceeding the maximum adjustable amount will be taxed at the normal rate.
Retired Military Pay: Same as above.
Military Disability Retired Pay: Retirees who entered the military before Sept. 24, 1975, and members receiving disability retirements based on combat injuries or who could receive disability payments from the VA are covered by laws giving disability broad exemption from federal income tax. Most military retired pay based on service-related disabilities also is free from federal income tax, but there is no guarantee of total protection.
VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: VA benefits are not taxable because they generally are for disabilities and are not subject to federal or state taxes.
Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.

Property Taxes

A homeowner may pay a combination of county, city, school or state taxes depending on location. Property tax relief measures are included in the state’s comprehensive property tax credit law that can be viewed on their web site. Homeowners 62 and older who earn $10,000 or less, will find that up to $10,000 of their property’s assessed value is exempt from school taxes. Persons 62 or older whose family income does not exceed $30,000 may qualify for an exemption from state and county property taxes equal to the amount by which the assessed value of the homestead exceeds the assessed value for the preceding tax year. For those 65 and older who earn $10,000 or less, $4,000 of their property’s value is exempt from state and county taxes as well. Call 404-968-0778 for details. To view additional information about property taxes, click here.

The state offers homestead exemptions to persons that own and occupy their home as a primary residence. Many counties offer homestead exemptions that are more beneficial to the taxpayer than the exemptions offered by the state. Homestead exemptions are filed with the county tax commissioner or the county tax assessor’s office. The homestead exemption is deducted from the assessed value (40% of the fair market value) of the home Then the millage rate is applied to arrive at the amount of ad valorem tax due. Individuals age 65 and older get additional deductions. For more information on homestead exemptions click here.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

There is no inheritance tax or gift tax and only a limited estate tax which is an amount equal to the amount allowable as a credit for state death taxes under Section 2011 of the Internal Revenue Code. In effect, the estate taxes paid to Georgia may be used to reduce the estate taxes due the IRS.

For further information, visit the Georgia Department of Revenue site or call 404-417-4477.

 

 

TEXAS Sales Taxes

State Sales Tax: 6.25% (non-prepared food, prescription and non-prescription drugs exempt); local option taxes can raise the rate to 8.25%.
Gasoline Tax: 38.4 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Diesel Fuel Tax: 44.4 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Cigarette Tax: $1.41 cents/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes

No state personal income tax
Retirement Income: Not taxed.
Retired Military Pay: Not taxed.
Military Disability Retired Pay: Disability Portion – Length of Service Pay: Member on September 24, 1975 – No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 – Taxed, unless combat incurred. Retired Pay – Based solely on disability. Member on September 24, 1975 – No tax. Not Member on September 24, 1975 – Taxed, unless all pay based on disability, and disability resulted from armed conflict, extra-hazardous service, simulated war, or an instrumentality of war.
VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes.
Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax. Check with state department of revenue office.

Property Taxes

Property tax is imposed by local taxing units. Click here for details. For homeowners 65 and older, $10,000 (in addition to the regular $15,000 homestead exemption) of the property’s assessed value is exempt from school taxes and $3,000 is exempt from other local taxes. Once an over-65 homeowner qualifies for an over-65 homestead exemption for school taxes, that owner gets a tax ceiling for that home on school taxes. If the homeowner improves the home (other than normal repairs or maintenance), the tax ceiling is adjusted for the new additions.

For details on the homestead exemption for seniors, veterans and the disabled, click here.

School district taxes are frozen for seniors (65 and older) and disabled persons at the level imposed on the residence the first year that the taxpayer qualified for the residence exemption. Counties, cities, towns, and junior college districts are permitted to establish a tax freeze on homesteads of those age 65 and older or disabled.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

There is no inheritance and the estate tax is limited and related to federal estate tax collection.

For further information, visit the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts site.

 

SOUTH DAKOTA Sales Taxes

State Sales Tax: 4% (prescription drugs exempt); municipalities may add up to an additional 2.75%. Residents who are age 65 and older and have a yearly income of under $10,250 (single) or in a household where the total income was under $13,250 are eligible for a sales tax refund.
Gasoline Tax: : 48.40 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Diesel Fuel Tax: 54.40 cents/gallon (Includes all taxes)
Cigarette Tax: $1.53 cents/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes

No state personal income tax
Retirement Income: Not taxed.

Property Taxes

Property is assessed at 85% of market value between counties. Assessors determine the market value of property by using a combination of the following three approaches: (1) Cost approach whereby the assessor estimates the cost of replacing the property (structures), reduces that amount by its age (depreciation) and adds the value of the land. (2) Market approach whereby the assessor compares the subject property to like properties that have recently been sold. (3) Income approach in whereby the assessor uses the value of the projected income from a property to determine its value. For more information, click here.

Property taxes are assessed and collected by local government entities. A tax freeze and/or municipal property tax reduction is available for seniors age 65 and older, and disabled persons. Single homeowners 66 and older who earn $10,250 or less can get a refund of up to 35% of taxes paid. Multi-person households headed by someone 66 and older, where the combined income is $13,250 or less, are eligible for a refund of up to 55% of taxes paid. The state has several other property tax relief programs. For details, click here and here.

There is a property tax exemption for disabled veterans. Veterans that have been rated as permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service connected disability may be eligible for up to $100,000 of their property value to be exempt from property taxes. Click here for details.

The state has a property tax homestead exemption that delays payment of property taxes until the property is sold. Taxes are a lien on the property and must be paid along with 4% interest before the property can be transferred. For a single person annual income must be less than $16,000. For a multimember household, the limit is $20,000. For more information click here.

For more information on all property taxes, click here or call 800-829-9188 FREE.

Inheritance and Estate Taxes

There is no inheritance tax and the estate tax is limited and related to federal estate tax collection.

For further information, visit the South Dakota Department of Revenue site or call 800-829-9188 FREE.
* Tax rates to do not include local option tax of 1 cent.

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The criteria & preferences differ for everyone.

As you point out, income taxes are not a big issue for many. Likewise the various state consumption taxes mean very little to the many fulltimers who spend little time inside their home state. The sales tax, fuel tax and property tax in SD, Tx, Fl have no impact on those who only go "home" to renew their license.

Some place a priority on registration, renewal & insurance costs.

For others, under 65, the availability of private medical insurance is becoming a primary factor.

For some concerned with passing on their assets to their beneficiaries without excessive gov interference, the state probate, estate & inheritance taxes can be a primary factor.

 

Georgia might work out fine for you, depending on your individual specifics. Step 1 is always being able to find an address acceptable for DL, registration, voting, etc

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The criteria & preferences differ for everyone.

As you point out, income taxes are not a big issue for many. Likewise the various state consumption taxes mean very little to the many fulltimers who spend little time inside their home state. The sales tax, fuel tax and property tax in SD, Tx, Fl have no impact on those who only go "home" to renew their license.

Some place a priority on registration, renewal & insurance costs.

For others, under 65, the availability of private medical insurance is becoming a primary factor.

For some concerned with passing on their assets to their beneficiaries without excessive gov interference, the state probate, estate & inheritance taxes can be a primary factor.

 

Georgia might work out fine for you, depending on your individual specifics. Step 1 is always being able to find an address acceptable for DL, registration, voting, etc

 

Thanks to everyone for all your responses. I think when all is said and done and the house is sold it comes down to income tax, cost of vehicle registration, any personal property tax on the motor home, insurance, etc. At this time, I think Florida and Georgia are very close with Florida having a slight edge because our entire income would not be taxed there. However, it is worth something to us to not have to go through the process of establishing ourselves in a new state. It may not be that difficult, but it would also be one less thing we would have to do. We also plan to return to our doctors and specialists here as we have come to trust these people with our health. We certainly could find quality medical care in Florida, but here again that is another change that could be avoided by staying in Georgia.

 

I think Jim2, captures our issue best in his last paragraph and probably the question I should have asked to begin with. Does anyone know of an address that we could use in Georgia that would be acceptable to the DL, registration, voting, etc.? From what I have been told most "mail forwarding" places will have a commercial address that will be unacceptable to these agencies, making it extremely hard to establish a domicile without a residential address. As I stated earlier, we have no family here and I would not want to ask a friend to use their address for this purpose.

 

I'm looking for that one Georgia fulltimer that has the answer.

 

Thanks again to everyone.

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The problem for Georgia is mostly that of an address. I think that you might find it helpful to read this article about domicile that was published by Escapees Magazine a few years back.

Thanks Kirk. I had read it earlier and it is quite helpful. We had planned to just domicile in Florida until I just had our taxes done and was informed that at age 62 each person receives a $35,000 exclusion on their taxes and at 65 it goes to $65,000 each with social security not taxable. Since this basically eliminates any state tax, and registration and insurance for Georgia are reasonable, I got the idea that we may not have to change our domicile. That would save on all the hassle of becoming a resident of Florida, plus finding new doctors, changing wills, etc. I was hoping that there might be someone on the forum from Georgia that has researched this and could advise me if our address would be a defining issue on whether or not we can stay in Georgia.

 

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a mail forwarding service located in Georgia that could provide me with a local street address. I will research it some more, but in the end if we have to change to Florida, we will do so.

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While changing Domicile is some logistics paper work. It is not that much more then all the work you do for Change of Address anyways. You may not even need to change your wills or trusts, as many states have reciprocal agreements. (We talked with our lawyer when we shifted to SD from CA, and he did some researched, called a friend/lawyer in Sioux Falls area too. He said while we could go in and shift everything over to SD from out wills and trust, that there was no real reason legally to need to do so.). I have not idea if this would be the case between Florida and Georgia too.

 

If you look at all the normal items that need to be accomplished when changing an address, then add on the few extra steps to change Domicile too, they're not that many more. And working with a place that helps hundreds of new Full Timer's per month establish the Domicile, really simplifies the process. SD took us business wise, two days. One day to spend the night and get a receipt with an 'in state' address. A visit to the DMV. A visit to our place that helped us, Americas Mailbox. And we were done on the DL's and Domicile change. The rest was normal Change of Address related steps. Oh, we elected to also establish an account at Black Hills Credit Union, to have our retirement accounts funds deposited here, vs the credit union in CA. (We still retain our CA credit union account too, as well as we have a Penfed credit union account also.)

 

I visit Doctors or Urgent Cares of Nurse Practitioners as needed as we travel. Will also visit my previous Primary Care Doctor if I happen to be in CA. Same for my wife. She does still see her Dermatologist that she had a good relationship with and knows her skin well, but she also sees medical experts as needed while we travel. All of this, to say that no reason to not go back and visit Doctors that you know in GA too.

 

Congrats on being so close!! And best,

Smitty

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Try the UPS Store mailbox/forwarding service. I've used them seven years in Florida.

 

UPS Store states that the mailbox (PMB) provides a legal street address in Florida. No idea about Georgia. While I've had no problems with banking, DLs etc. I'll make note that I establised all those accounts while I lived in a sticks'n'bricks and later changed the addresses on the accounts using "#219" or "Unit 219" rather than "PMB".

 

It appears that people run into problems when establising _new_ financial or other accounts with the PMB and how the financial services interpret the Patriot Act provisions.

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My wife and I have been RV'ing for a year and a half and have moved from a travel trailer to a motorhome. We travel about half the time and stay at our S&B the other half. We are slowly working toward fulltiming with the intent of making Florida our domicile. We currently live in Southeast Georgia just 36 miles from the Florida border so we are almost there anyway.

 

However, now we are approaching 65 and most of our income and all of our social security is excluded from state tax. Plus, Georgia recently changed it's ad valorem (personal property) tax to a one time payment when you purchase the vehicle so we won't have that expense. Registration is $120.00 a year since we are over 26000 pounds gross weight which is certainly a manageable fee. I'm not sure about insurance, but I would suspect Florida is probably somewhat higher than Georgia.

 

The only issue I see is that if we did stay in Georgia and sell our house we would not have an address to use as our residence. We have no relatives here and I understand that a PO Box or other commercial address may not work for the bank and other institutions. In Florida we had planned to use the Escapees address or St. Brendan's Isle which both seem to be accepted by banks and the DMV. If we stayed in Georgia we would still use one of these mail services as our mailing address, but of course it couldn't be our domicile address.

 

First, does anyone see any benefit of becoming a Florida resident and subjecting ourselves to that process?

 

Second, what have others who have decided not to set up domicile in one of the "Big Three" and sold their house used as their address?

 

Finally, is their anything I'm missing because I am far from an expert on this matter?confused.gif

 

Thanks

We sold our Georgia S&B in December 2015 and have been full timing. We use St Brendan's Isle as our mail forwarding outfit and they helped "steer" us through the process which is not bad as long as you have all your paperwork together in advance (we did !). In one half a day we had our vehicle registrations, DL, voting registration, and Domicile completed. Plus with fingerprints and paperwork submitted for concealed weapons permit. It was a very good experience at all the Green Cove Springs and Clay County offices, the officials here understand full timing and know the process. We choose Florida, because it will be home base no mater what.

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We sold our Georgia S&B in December 2015 and have been full timing. We use St Brendan's Isle as our mail forwarding outfit and they helped "steer" us through the process which is not bad as long as you have all your paperwork together in advance (we did !). In one half a day we had our vehicle registrations, DL, voting registration, and Domicile completed. Plus with fingerprints and paperwork submitted for concealed weapons permit. It was a very good experience at all the Green Cove Springs and Clay County offices, the officials here understand full timing and know the process. We choose Florida, because it will be home base no mater what.

Thanks for the information. I am going to check a couple things with the DMV as I have found a local mail forwarding service on Saint Simon's Island. The 64,000 dollar question is whether or not the DMV will accept their address. If not, St. Brendans will probably be our choice as they already handle our mail when we are on extended trips. We chose them because we can turn the service on and off so we don't have to pay during the months we aren't traveling. I'm glad to hear that they were helpful in steering you through the process. That, along with the county being familiar with full timers, makes it easier. :D

 

Safe Travels.

Steve

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