Setting Up Your RV Homebase In Florida
When you travel full-time in an RV, labeling a specific place as “home” can be difficult. It can be especially tough for those who sell their homes before hitting the road. It seems more and more people are moving to the Sunshine State, and so could you. One great way is to establish a Florida RV domicile. RVing gives you the freedom to pick where you call home. So let’s see how you can establish an RV domicile in Florida.
What Is a Domicile?
A domicile is a place you consider your permanent place of residence. This is where you’re able to vote, register your vehicles, and pay taxes. A few states — Texas, South Dakota, and Florida — are all popular choices to call home for domicilers.
These states typically have lower taxes, less expensive vehicle registrations, and minimal homeschooling regulations. It’s an excellent option for those who travel often and are looking for a sense of freedom.
Full-Time RVers Must Have a Domicile
Although RVers may spend a lot of time traveling to different states, they still need to establish a domicile. You’ll need a physical address to register vehicles, get insurance coverage, and pay taxes. RVers typically use Florida, South Dakota, and Texas as their domicile for the tax benefits and flexibility regarding homeschooling laws.
Requirements will vary from one state to another when it comes to domiciling. A state may require that residents spend a certain amount of time in the state over a certain amount of time. You must know the requirements in your state to avoid any issues.
Companies like Escapees and America’s Mailbox are popular services that can help with establishing a state as your domicile. Both of these services come with a cost, but the savings and freedom can be worth it.
Benefits of Florida Domiciles for RVers
There are several benefits for RVers who choose Florida as their domicile. Nine states don’t have a state income tax, and Florida is one of them. So if you’re planning to work from the road, choosing Florida for your domicile means putting more money in your pocket.
Some states require a vehicle inspection when registering a vehicle. This could happen annually or during the initial registration. However, Florida isn’t one of those states. Vehicle inspections can be frustrating and expensive, especially if your vehicle fails. Luckily, if you choose Florida as your domicile, you no longer have to worry about them.
Another benefit to choosing Florida as your domicile is that you’re a certified Florida resident. This may not seem like a big deal, but Florida has a massive tourist economy with theme parks, cruise ships, and resorts. Being a Florida resident unlocks discounts only available to residents. So whether you’re planning to visit Walt Disney World or take a cruise, you can save a bundle on your trip by choosing to domicile in Florida.
How to Establish a Florida Domicile for RV Life
Establishing your Florida domicile takes some effort, but it’s possible. Let’s take a look at the handful of steps you need to complete to become a Florida resident.
Secure a Physical Address in Florida
You’ll need a physical Florida address to establish residency in Florida. This could be an address of a family member or friend or an address given to you by mail service providers like Escapees.
Make sure to obtain permission from your family or friends before attempting to use their address. Even if you’re only using the address for vehicle registration or similar purposes, junk mail and other items will eventually start showing up. You don’t want your domiciling to become a source of frustration for others.
Change Your License and Vehicle Registration to Your New Florida Address
Once you secure a physical address in Florida, you can start changing licenses and vehicle registrations to Florida. You’ll need to update your insurance policies to reflect coverage in Florida. Depending on where you’re moving from, you may notice a difference in your insurance premiums.
Before heading down to your local DMV or government offices, you should collect all necessary documents and paperwork to make your transition as easy as possible. You’ll need proof of your identity, social security number, and two forms of proof of residential address to get your driver’s license.
You can then start the process of registering your vehicles and trailers. You’ll want to make sure you have a state-issued license or ID card, titles or lienholder information for all vehicles, previous out-of-state registration, bill of sale, and proof of insurance. Without all of these documents, there’s a good chance you’ll be unable to register your vehicles.
Change Your Address on Other Accounts
Make sure you change your address on all your other accounts as well. This includes any bills, credit card accounts, or bank accounts. You don’t want anything tied to your previous address, especially since you no longer live there.
Many RVers also opt-in for electronic communications as much as possible. This helps ensure you don’t receive an important communication regarding an account months or weeks late.
Establish Connections in Your Domicile County or Area
You want to start establishing connections with your domicile county and area as soon as possible. These connections might be libraries, dentists, or any other medical needs you have. You may not be there often, but it’s nice to be established in an area when you need it. Some dentists and specialized doctors may not be accepting new patients when you need to use them. So make sure you set up these appointments in advance.
File a Declaration of Domicile with Your Domicile County
You should file a declaration of domicile with your local county to declare your status with the government. This helps avoid potential tax issues and creates a clean cut between your former state of residence and Florida.
Do You Have to Spend Mandatory Time in Florida to Establish a Domicile?
Some states may require residents to stay a minimum number of days, but Florida doesn’t. So while you may want to spend time enjoying the Florida beaches and other attractions, there’s no need to worry about how many days you’re staying in the state.
Tips to Show Intent to Domicile in Florida
If you’re worried about showing intent to domicile in Florida as an RVer, there’s a handful of things you can do to ease your worries. Having a paper trail that shows your intent is a great place to start. This includes switching banks and insurance providers or even getting a local storage unit. If anyone were ever to question your status, you could use these documents to prove your status.
Making local connections is another great way to show your intent. This may be establishing yourself as a patient for doctors, hiring a local lawyer, or joining a local place of worship. Anything you can do that can point to you establishing yourself in the new location can be helpful.
While several states are friendly to RVers, it’s hard to beat Florida. With tremendous amounts of sunshine, hundreds of miles of sandy beaches, and some of the best attractions in the country, Florida offers something for everybody. We think you should strongly consider Florida if you’re considering which state to establish your RV domicile in. What’s most important to you when choosing a state for your domicile?