On The Shore On The shore — 30 September 2016
Florida residency makes financial, tax sense

By Robyn A. Friedman

City & Shore Magazine

Zika. Brain-eating amoebae. Hurricanes, tropical storms, gator attacks.

Yup, Florida has been getting a lot of bad press lately. And, with season just starting, the tourism industry is hoping that potential visitors don’t forget all the good things that Florida offers: pristine beaches, balmy weather, world-class cuisine, top cultural and sporting events and shopping at trendy retailers from around the world.

But those are just the lifestyle benefits of visiting Florida. For residents, the state offers even more.

“Florida has a number of financial advantages for businesses looking to locate here,” says Bob Swindell, president and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. “The Tax Foundation has named Florida the fourth best tax climate in the United States for 2016, and the state has been in the top five for the past 10 years.”

Real estate agents have been touting the tax advantages of living in Florida for years — and numerous entrepreneurs and hedge-fund managers have purchased homes here to establish domicile for exactly that purpose.

“New Yorkers are having a love affair with South Florida,” says Craig Studnicky, co-founder of sales and marketing firm ISG World, which represents new-construction condominium projects. “In the past several years, Realtors have seen a rise in New Yorkers interested in owning a home as their homestead, or primary home. An executive can save on New York City and New York state taxes by declaring Florida as their home base.”

How much can someone save by becoming a Florida resident? A 2014 analysis of Wisconsin taxes by the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy concluded that a 40-year-old married couple who own a home and earn $75,000 a year would gain $223,735 over their lifetime if they moved to Florida from Wisconsin. Residents from states with higher taxes could save even more.

Financial benefits
of Florida residency

No personal income tax. According to the Tax Foundation, Florida is one of just seven states that currently levy no individual income tax. The others are Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

No estate or inheritance tax.

Low property taxes. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Florida provides one of the largest property-tax homestead exemptions in the country. In addition, homestead assessment increases are capped at 3 percent per year.

Asset protection. Florida’s homestead exemption protects a homestead, or permanent residence, from creditors if certain conditions are met.

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