Moving to Florida for tax reasons: DMV question

Hey all, this is a bit of Hail Marry, hopefully someone knows the answer!

So I’m “moving” to Florida from CA because FL has no income tax. I’m using one those websites that provide a physical address and scan all your mail for you. For CA to be satisfied from a Tax perspective that I am in fact a resident of FL, I need to transfer my driver’s license.

The downside is that my new address is out in the middle of nowhere, and I’d really rather not have to visit the county unless absolutely necessary.

So, does anyone know if it’s necessary to transfer my license at a DMV in the same county as my new address, or can I do it from any county in FL?

Oh the joys of being a nomad… :grin:

  • Changes are Fl DMV will not accept “one those websites that provide a physical address” as they keep list of convenience addresses. It is also a felony to provide false information to them.

  • You have to visit DMV office in county you reside.

Thanks @db8871

I’m pretty sure the website is legit, it’s used mostly by people that travel the states by RV. The website says the address is good for registering to vote etc…

Curious as to why you chose Florida compared to the other states that don’t have the income tax?

@meredal Simply because Florida is a more convenient location for me

DMVs are different, though. They need to see your PHYSICAL address. Meaning where you live. They typically want to see a lease or a utility bill or something that ties you to the property. The virtual address for mail…etc, can work for your billing address and other things, but it won’t work for obtaining a license. In any state, I suspect.

I am running into the same thing. I’m going to actually have to rent a small apartment and keep it for long enough to get utility bills and be able to say truthfully that it’s my home residence on the DMV paperwork (I’m choosing NV.)

Their website states in the FAQ:

Will I be able to use my new address to establish residency in Florida?
Yes. We provide each member with a unique physical address which can be used to obtain a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and setting up a bank account.

The DMV needs two items for proof of address, and their requirements include:

Mail from financial institutions; including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than two months old

So, two letters from different banks should cover it?

At this point I don’t have much choice. Renting an apartment is not a feasible solution as I need someone to handle my mail (and the USPS will only provide mail forwarding for 1 year.)

Perhaps I don’t even need a license, my only intention for the getting the license is for proof of domicile in FL.

Perhaps there are other ways to prove to CA that I’m no longer a resident?

Your biggest problem may not necessary be Florida, it might just be getting out of California. They may wait a couple of years but then, they audit you and made you prove you are bone fide resident of another state. It might be wise to think ahead of time and prepare yourself for it. DL is only a first step, you need to sever all official relationships with the state. If Ca finds out you are receiving bank statement to to the old address, you are toast.

Yes, you need a residential address in Fl and they make you prove it but nothing stops you from moving out next day and neglecting to update records. They send no postal mail unless you get a ticket. First online dl renewal is 4 years and every 7 years after that.

I’m a Florida resident. Over the past year or so they changed their system and they require a physical address. You can still use a mailing address (for mail), but the physical address is a requirement.

I’d encourage you to talk to a California (not Florida) tax lawyer about your plan if you have any significant tax liability in California. You’ll want to fully understand (1) the requirements for terminating residency (does it require abandonment of California plus establishment of residency in Florida - two independent parts?), (2) what criteria they use in the California courts for determining whether you’ve established residency elsewhere, (3) the statute of limitations and how you trigger it so that it’ll begin running.

It’s not extraordinary for some states to pursue outstanding taxes (plus penalties and interest) a decade after a resident leaves the state.

My guess is that you’ll want 15 or 20 data points to indicate your residence in Florida (lease, utilities, voter registration, drivers license, vehicle registration, library card, voting history, charitable donations, Citibike registration, credit card history, bank account, doctor visits, mail forwarding notice, civic group membership, religious group membership, professional license, use of local grocery, publication subscriptions, etc.). It’ll also be helpful if you have family in Florida and some reason for selecting Florida as your home.

Good luck.

Pulling one of these, eh?

Have you looked into the safe harbor clause for California taxes? If you are actually out of the USA most of the time, you may very well qualify…

I left California in 2008 and moved temporarily to Seattle for 4 months, set up a mailbox (I was subletting a room in a flat so couldn’t use that on my license) then used the mailbox address on my license. (I think it was a UPS store).

I never went back to California. You really can’t move your domicile out of California if you are still physically residing there. That is super illegal.

So let’s assume you aren’t doing that. You may be talking about St Brendans Isle in Green Cove Springs, outside of Jacksonville. I started using them and 6 months later (Jan 2015) traveled there to get my license since my other one was about to expire. (I think my Seattle one had been in a wallet that got stolen so was still carrying an old CA one that never got canceled). Luckily the sister of a friend of my mom lived in the suburbs south of Jacksonville so it was only a 30 min drive from her house!!!

I don’t know if they changed the rules at the DMV but at the mailing service’s office when I filled out the domicile forms I said, ‘are you sure this is OK?’ because it said “I swear … blah blah blah… that I live at this address” which wasn’t true. But I was living abroad on tourist visas so what was I to do? They said, yes it’s totally fine, no worries. Think of all the RV and yacht peeps.

I had asked them (before deciding to travel to Northern FL to do it) if I could do it at the DMV in Miami and they said you’re welcome to try but they’re not going to give it to you; it has to be in our county. So I just went for it and the DMV was totally empty and I took care of it in a day. Also the DMV had some weird evangelical propaganda on the counter which was pretty messed up but that’s Florida.

Then I got back to my foreign country and lost the license in the first week back. Well I’m in the system now so I just went online and paid $25 more for a new one and they sent it to my FL address, easy peasy. The thing is valid for 10 years. I don’t know if I’ll have to go back in person in 10 years anyway.

Sorry for the longwindedness but hope that helps!

If you have no ties to Florida and your objective is to lower taxes, why not establish residency in Puerto Rico and take care of federal taxes at the same time. It has been discussed here last year.

In Texas, at least, the right of indefinite travelers to have a driver’s license issued to the address of their Mail Receiving Agent, and to declare legal domicile there, has been established and secured in court. This is used by many people who live in RVs, for example members of the Escapees RV club. I couldn’t find any other state where this was the case, so that’s the principal reason I decided to “move” to Texas (the other being that my vote would go farther there). I think I would do it even if there were additional taxes involved, but as luck would have it…

I didn’t think of Puerto Rico as an option, though. What choices are there for mailing address providers?

I’ve decided to just stick with being a CA resident for now. “Moving” to another state sounds like the easy part. Proving to CA that I am in fact a resident of that state sounds like it might not possible for me, as I think I’d like to live in CA again in a few years.