Lots of people own property in more than one state. Some people leave their home base so to speak to spend time in a vacation home. Others like seeing the country from the windows of an RV. And others move South with the seasons. Whether you’re moving for business, excitement, or because you hate snow, it’s still important to establish residency status in one state. If you decide to make Arizona your home, how should you go about becoming an Arizona resident?
Why Become An Arizona Resident?
Arizona is a great state to live in, of course!
Seriously, though, the best reason to establish residency is because dual residency is not allowed in the United States. You’re either a citizen of Minnesota or Arizona, but not both.
So, whether you want to or not, you must sink down residency roots somewhere.
Domicile Vs. Residency
Domicile (your legal home) is important because trust and tax laws differ when people are domiciled in a community property state such as Arizona. You have only one domicile even if you have more than one home. Your domicile is a permanent legal home that you intend to use for an indefinite or unlimited period, and to which, when absent, you intend to return. The question of your domicile is mainly a matter of your intention as indicated by your actions. You must be able to show that you intend a given place or state to be your permanent home.
The amount of time spent in one place does not always explain the difference between home and domicile. A temporary home or residence may continue for months or years while a domicile may be established the first moment you occupy the property. Your intent is the determining factor in proving your domicile.
According to Arizona law, a resident is someone who:
- Is in Arizona for “other than a temporary or transitory purpose.”
- Is ‘domiciled’ in Arizona, but staying outside the state for “temporary or transitory purpose.”
- Spends more than nine months of the year in Arizona.
A domicile where a person has their permanent or principal home that they plan to return to. Where you hang your hat makes a difference in where your estate will be probated, where you will be taxed, and where you might file a divorce petition. So, if you consider your permanent home to be in Arizona, your domicile is in Arizona.
Assess your situation. Where do you live most of the year? What home do you consider your primary residence? Maybe you’re renting in one state, but own a home in another state. It’s likely, then, that your residency should be in the state where you actually own property.
To Become An Arizona Resident:
- Establish a domicile in Arizona.
- Live in Arizona for at least six months.
- Use your Arizona address for things like:
- Registering to vote
- Obtaining a driver’s license
- Applying for a hunting or fishing license
- Opening banking or financial accounts
- Registering your vehicle
- Buying property
- Filing income tax returns
- Keep copies of all documents that prove residency.
The documents you might have to show to prove Arizona residency vary. It really depends on why you need to prove you are an Arizona resident.
For example, the Arizona Game & Fish Department requires that a person who is not considered to be a resident of another state live (or be domiciled) in Arizona for six months prior to applying for a fishing or hunting license.
However, to be considered for in-state tuition at the University of Arizona, students must be domiciled in Arizona for a year. Documents required to prove residency include proof of employment or an Arizona state income tax return.
And the Arizona Department of Revenue considers a person who lives in Arizona for nine months of a taxable year to be a resident.
There may be different requirements and definitions of ‘resident‘ when obtaining a driver’s license or professional license, when registering as a voter or vehicle owner, enrolling as a college student, serving on jury duty, or filing tax returns.
Deciding what you should consider your domicile and where you are a resident is difficult. Talking to an attorney may help.
Still Have Questions?
Francisco Sirvent has the experience and skill to analyze your current situation and help you make thoughtful decisions. Call us at (480) 418-8448 to set up an appointment. We offer services for clients throughout Arizona, including Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.