By Attorney Wyon F. Wiegratz
The test for change of residency is principally a tax test by your old home state. Usually, your new state, such as Florida, wouldn’t raise questions concerning residency unless there is a homestead tax question. The burden of proof is on the individual to not only show non-residency in their old home state but also prove residency in Florida. Most states presume that an individual is a resident for tax purposes if he or she spends over one-half of his or her time in that state during the past calendar year. Yet, this is not always conclusive. Wisconsin does not require you live outside of Wisconsin for over half of the year to change residency nor does the state of Florida require you live there for over half of the year to be considered a resident. Yet it is best if you can show to have been in Florida as a resident for some substantial period each year.
State taxing authorities require that you show your intent to change residency. That intent is demonstrated by the actions you take. An important action is the sale of your old home in Wisconsin and purchase or rental of a home in Florida. Yet, selling your home in Wisconsin is not necessarily required if you take other steps, such as registering to vote and taking out a driver’s license in Florida. Wisconsin requires notification of the change of residency by completing a special form submitted with your final Wisconsin income tax return. This Wisconsin tax questionnaire outlines the many ways in which you can demonstrate your intent to change residency.
Florida has become more aggressive in challenging a claim of residency if you seek to claim homestead real estate tax benefits for property you own and live in in Florida. Florida tax assessors can go back up to ten years in challenging homestead credits and can recoup the tax benefits along with penalties and interest if you claimed residency and homestead in Florida while still obtained resident tax benefits in Wisconsin.
It is best to get legal help from an attorney familiar with WI and FL law if you are planning for a residency change to Florida.
Disclaimer: The above content is intended to provide general information regarding the subject matter covered. The provision of this information is not intended by the author as legal advice. If you need or desire legal advice, you should consult an attorney for advice specific to your situation. Further, laws change over time so the information should be verified before relying on it.