How to Establish Residency to a Different State

Many retirees have property in more than one state. Establishing residency in one versus another might result in lower taxes for you while you’re alive, and lower taxes for your heirs after your death. To establish residence in a low-tax state:

• Buy a house or a condo there. If not, lease a house or an apartment where you’ll pay rent.
• File a Declaration of Domicile. Most states have this form online.
• Register to vote in your new state. Have your old state take you off of its voter roll and vote regularly in the low-tax state.
• Execute a new will. Hire a local attorney in the low-tax state.
• Change your address on official documents. That might include registrations for Medicare, Social Security, and the Passport Services Office.
• Change your driver’s license and vehicle registrations. They should be from the low-tax state.
• File federal income tax returns from your address in the low-tax state. File a final income tax return for the high-tax state and file only non-resident tax returns in later years, if they’re required.
• Spend most of your time in the low-tax state. Credit card receipts can show where you’ve been.