A resident of Florida is somebody who spends the majority of his time living in the state and intends it to be his main home. Normally a person would only be a resident in one state; for example, somebody who lives in Minnesota but has a summer home in Florida is a Minnesota resident for tax purposes. It is possible to be a resident of two states in the same tax year if a person moves and intends the move to be permanent. In this situation, the person is a part-year resident.
In principle, the minimum a person needs to do to become a resident of Florida for tax purposes is to file a Declaration of Domicile with the relevant county clerk. In practice, a person may take other steps like registering to vote in Florida or obtaining a Florida driver's license; these steps will reduce the likelihood of a residential status dispute.
The biggest tax advantage to being a Florida resident, as opposed to a non-resident who has a home in the state, is Florida's real property taxes. These taxes are based on an assessed value of the property. Florida law states that the assessed value of a property can only rise by three percent in a single year, thus limiting the increases in the amount of tax paid. There is no such cap on rises for non-residents. This set-up means that the benefits to Florida residents will be greatest in areas where home values are increasing rapidly.
Florida does not have a state tax on income. This applies regardless of whether a person is a resident or non-resident. A non-resident who works at a job in Florida pays no income tax. However, a non-resident who carries out work that is not location-specific, such as an Internet-based job, may face income taxes from his state of residence.
Non-residents are not inherently exempt from, or able to reclaim, sales tax levied on purchases in Florida. This applies to both U.S. and foreign visitors. In some cases, it can be possible to sell taxable items if the merchant is shipping it outside the country. This process, however, is usually only viable on high-priced items.