Moving to Florida From Illinois For Tax Reasons? Better Understand Domicile vs. Residency

Wednesday, November 1, 2023, “Domicile” and “residency” are terms that are often used in legal, tax, and personal identification contexts, and they can have different meanings based on the jurisdiction or the specific situation in which they are used. However, in a general sense, here’s how the two terms differ:

Definition: Domicile refers to the place where an individual has their permanent home and to which they have the intention of returning, even if they are currently living elsewhere. It’s about long-term or permanent attachment to a location.

Intention: A person can only have one domicile at a time, and changing one’s domicile often requires a clear demonstration of intent to abandon the old domicile and establish a new one. This might involve actions like buying a home, establishing social and economic ties, or registering to vote in the new location.
Legal Implications: Domicile can affect issues like jurisdiction for legal actions, marital rights, inheritance, and certain tax obligations. For example, in many jurisdictions, your domicile can impact where your will is probated or how your estate is taxed.


Definition: Residency refers to the place where an individual currently lives, even if it’s temporary. Unlike domicile, an individual can have multiple residences in a year.
Duration: Residency can be established more easily than domicile and might be based on a certain minimum duration of living in a place or other criteria.

Legal Implications: Residency can influence where you pay state or local taxes, where you can vote, and where you can claim benefits like in-state tuition at universities. Some places have specific criteria to determine residency for tax purposes, which might differ from the criteria used for other purposes.

It’s important to note that both domicile and residency can have specific legal definitions and criteria that vary by country, state, or jurisdiction. Therefore, when addressing issues related to either term, it’s essential to understand the specific rules and definitions that apply to the relevant jurisdiction.

We put together a checklist of actions you can take to change your domicile. The Illinois Department of Revenue is often aggressive in fighting the transfer of Domicile from Illinois to another state. The checklist is a non-exhaustive list. Conceivably, you can check every box and still be challenged on Domicile. Illinois wants your tax money and is willing to fight to get it. If you would like a checklist, send me an email request.

Steven A. Leahy is a tax attorney in Illinois. He was the host of the long-running popular Radio Show “The IRS Radio Hour” heard every Sunday evening on AM 560 The Answer. Attorney Leahy is also the author of the book “Deal With Your IRS Problems Today!” You can get a FREE copy of this important book at Or Call 24/7 (312)664-6649

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