Recently I spent some time in Fort Lauderdale, on Florida’s southeastern coast. It was November, and the temperature did not drop below 50 degrees at night and the days were in the 70s and low 80s. Everything was big, new, and the people on the beach were shiny. It was the kind of experience that makes northerners question their life choices!

Imagine, then, the horror of going through with a move to a warmer climate when a letter from New York or Connecticut arrives claiming you owe thousands in back taxes. What happened to free movement between states?

As it turns out, moving to another state is not as easy as it should be. Simply buying or renting a home and getting new license plates doesn’t cut it. Depending on when you move, you may still fall within your original state’s definition of a resident:


  • Connecticut was your domicile (permanent legal residence) for the entire taxable year; or
  • You maintained a permanent place of abode in Connecticut during the entire taxable year and spent a total of more than 183 days in Connecticut during the taxable year.

New York

  • Your domicile is New York State (there are exceptions that can be found here); or
  • Your domicile is not New York State but you maintain a permanent place of abode in New York State for more than 11 months of the year and spend 184 days or more in New York State during the tax year.

You can avoid running afoul of your old state by following this checklist:

  • File an affidavit of domicile in your new state
  • Use your new address for federal taxes as soon as possible
  • Obtain a driver’s licence from your new state
  • Register your car in your new state
  • Transfer your voter registration
  • Draft new legal documents like wills, living wills, healthcare proxies, and powers of attorney, which vary from state to state
  • Start seeing a doctor in your new state
  • Register a change of address with the Postal Service
  • Join a religious congregation in your new state and sever ties with your old one

To complete the process, talk to your accountant about marking your last tax payment to your old state as “Final(!!!).” In some instances you may be asked for proof by providing a copy of your new declaration of domicile.

If you have a daily money manager or bookkeeper from your old state who receives your bills on your behalf, you can still do that. One of our clients splits his time between Connecticut and Florida. He recently decided to change his state of residency to Florida. All of his bills continue to come to our office in Stamford because we, as the bookkeepers, are merely vendors. You can have a bookkeeper in any state without any trouble from either your old state or your new state.

The New York metropolitan area has so much to offer, and we all benefit from its cultural richness. But sometimes enough is enough. Our country is vast, with deserts and rainforests, peaks and plains—not to mention a rich pallette of accents, local customs, and cuisines. It’s no wonder so many people decide to migrate—hopefully while spreading their “New York values” from sea to shining sea.

If you need help with your move to another state, contact me!