Moving during the COVID-19 pandemic? Moving can be stressful even during normal times, moving during a pandemic can be even more stressful. Fortunately, the moving industry has adapted, and best business practices altered for the safety of everyone. Whether your move is small or large, there are options for your move.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Miami South Beach, Fla.
Photographer: Marco Bello/Bloomberg
What You Need to Know About Relocating to Florida
Jan. 7, 2021, 4:01 AM
The combination of warm weather and no personal income tax makes Florida a desirable place to relocate. Connie Eckerle of Smolin outlines what you need to keep in mind to make a clean break from your current domicile—and its taxes.
White sand beaches and tax incentives have people turning to the Sunshine State. And not just the traditional retirees—remote workers nowhere near retirement are also considering making the move. Because if you have to socially distance yourself, you might as well have balmy winters to keep you company, right?
But why Florida?
As appealing as warm afternoons on the beach sound with winter here, there are things to consider when it comes to relocating to Florida. What do you need to know before buying a plane ticket?
The Siren Song of Tax Incentives
Many states across the country are currently operating at a deficit and the loss of income taxpayers to greener pastures, so to speak, is driving an increase in those state’s residency audits. By and large, rules haven’t changed but states are getting more aggressive and fewer exceptions may be made than in the past.
Florida is one of the few U.S. states with no state income tax, so it’s no surprise that people from the high-income tax states are among the top relocators. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has left some people looking to improve their tax position.
Before the TCJA, individuals in higher-taxed states were able to benefit from State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions on federal income tax forms. But now the TCJA limits the SALT deductions to $10,000 annually. SALT deductions have historically represented big tax breaks for individuals who itemized their Schedule A deductions. For those in high-income tax and property tax states, this has been a big hit.
But to see these tax benefits, one has to officially change their state of residence. For those planning on splitting time between Florida and their previous state, there are a few important factors to weigh—and a few things to watch for.
Where is Your Domicile?
When making the move to Florida, your goal is to establish Florida as your domicile, or your permanent home. The “facts and circumstances” behind your move to Florida plays a key factor when proving that you’re a Florida resident in the event of a state residency audit.
Although you may own more than one home, you only have one domicile. What does that mean? It’s the place a person calls home and intends to reside indefinitely—and whenever the person leaves that home, where he or she intends to return.
Because establishing domicile can be ambiguous at times, states may take a hard look at several factors. They consider the size and nature of use of your home, where is your time spent, your business involvement, your personal connections, and location of items “near and dear” to you.
There are also some additional ways to document your domicile in Florida including filing a declaration of domicile at your county office, obtaining a Florida driver’s license, registering to vote in Florida, and several others.
Moreover, domicile is impacted by your reasons for moving. But domicile is only one piece of the puzzle. Statutory residency may need to be considered.
There’s No Place Like Your Statutory Residency
The nomadic lifestyle is increasingly common. In the U.S., 4.8 million independent workersdescribe themselves as digital nomads according to a report by MBO Partners. Yet if you’re bouncing back and forth between locations, you may risk having the status of “statutory resident” bestowed on you.
Definitions of “statutory resident” vary from state to state. Some states consider you a statutory resident, at least for tax purposes, if you spend more than half the year or 183 days in the state. Some states lack specific rules, but consider someone a resident if the state considers them to be there for more than temporary reasons.
And that statutory residency status could very well come knocking with an unexpected tax bill in hand. More specifically, it can mean being taxed on all your income, including capital gains, dividends, and interest income.
How do you avoid being classed as a statutory resident? Know the rules of your state and follow them carefully.
Real Estate, Estate Tax, and Other Factors to Consider
Establishing a domicile in Florida and establishing residency is a complicated process. Ideally, you can make a clean break by selling all real estate, moving all business activities, and fully investing in your life in Florida by buying a home in Florida. This is the best way to indicate intent to make Florida your domicile.
Along those lines, be cautious of how you handle any real estate sales you may initiate — you want to take advantage of the capital gains exclusion on the sale of your primary residence. To do this, the home you are selling must have been your primary residence for two of the last five years. For example, if you’re selling your New York residence in year five of claiming Florida residency, you would not be able to take the capital gain exclusion since the New York residence would have been your primary residence for only one year in the last five years.
If you choose instead to maintain multiple properties between Florida and another state, you’ll want to keep detailed records of financial transactions and travel plans to document where you have been in the event you are audited by the state.
You’ll also want to consider estate taxes when you’re considering relocation to Florida, especially if you are at or near retirement age. Florida, as you may know, doesn’t have an estate tax, but your current state may. It’s important to update your estate plan to reflect Florida’s laws upon establishing domicile in Florida.
Relocating to Florida may sound dreamy—white sand beaches and tax breaks are a great combination. However, it takes some careful planning and strategy to avoid an unexpected tax bill. Consulting with an experienced tax professional is a helpful step before making any plans.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. or its owners.
Connie Eckerle is a member of the Smolin Lupin and a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Florida and Georgia.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Daily, states are changing their travel restrictions for people entering their states to prevent the spread of Covid 19. You need to understand what those restrictions are before you leave your current home state to relocate to a new one.
These restrictions are getting tougher as the spread of Covid widens. Here is but one example of how strict the regulations are getting.
BOSTON (AP) — Travelers to Massachusetts, including residents returning home after out-of-state trips, face $500-per-day fines if they refuse to comply with a new executive order requiring them to quarantine for 14 days to control the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday.
The order that takes effect Aug. 1 comes at the height of the summer tourist season and not long before tens of thousands of college students typically flock to the state for the start of fall classes.
There are exemptions for people coming from low-risk states, which currently include New York, New Jersey, Maine and Hawaii, and for people who can prove they have had a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts, the Republican governor said at a news conference.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
About a fifth of U.S. adults moved due to COVID-19 or know someone who did
Roughly one-in-five Americans either have relocated due to pandemic or know someone who has
Friday, March 27, 2020
Moving and relocation services is considered a "critical trade."
Published on Mar 24, 2020 1:05PM CDT
Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale Primary category in which blog post is published
Logan Square, Humboldt Park & Avondale reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO — Those planning to move April 1 with the help of movers shouldn’t have any problems doing so under Illinois’ stay at home order.
Moving and relocation services is considered a “critical trade,” along with janitorial work, painting and HVAC work and other services that “are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences, essential activities, and essential businesses and operations,” according to Gov. JB Pritzker’s order.
The order calls for Illinois residents who don’t work at essential businesses to stay home through April 7 to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Read the full order here.
RELATED: Here’s What’s Open And What’s Closed Under Stay At Home Order To Curb Coronavirus Outbreak
That date could be extended, though, officials have warned.
“I’m not going to tell you I know the end of April 7, that this is, in fact, the end date. We believe that that gives us time to see whether or not this social distancing and this stay at home is having the desired effect of bending the curve,” Prtizker said when announcing the order.
Anyone who leaves their home, including people who are moving and movers, is urged to practice social distancing.
Illinois had 1,285 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.
Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.
Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control. People with no symptoms may have the virus and spread it to others.
The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The most common symptoms:
Shortness of breath
People have also experienced body aches, nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat, according to Harvard Medical School.
If you or someone else has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, become confused, cannot be roused or develop a bluish face or lips, get immediate medical attention, according to the CDC.
How To Protect Yourself
The CDC only recommends those are already sick wear facemasks because they help you avoid spreading the virus.
Here’s what you can actually do to prevent getting ill:
The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, like cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you have to sneeze or cough with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.
What To Do If You Think You’re Sick
Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.
If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where COVID-19 is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus. Anyone who feels unwell has been ordered to stay home or risk getting a $500 fine.
Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2020
At Consumers Relocation, we are supporting our employees, and have all discussed and agreed on what essential employees should continue to work in the office, and which employees should work remotely. We have taken measures to keep as few employees in the office as possible to reinforce social distancing and have others working remotely.
We will keep you updated as things develop.