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Old 09-15-2014, 10:38 AM   #1
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A man with no State

Hello all,

I'm new to all of this, and don't plan to start my adventure for another 7 - 8 years. But that leaves lots of time for planning and education.

One conundrum I have; I plan to sell my small condo (no need to ever return here) and purchase a 50 - 55 foot trawler. I really like the Grand Banks. We plan to cruise the world for 5 - 7 years before selling and probably move into a retirement setting.

So, here's the rub. If I sell my home, and set to sea, where do I live? Can I just claim residency in any State (e.g. one with low income tax), or do I need to "live" there? And, if so, where would I live if I lived "nowhere" (or everywhere). Things like driver's licenses etc come to mind.

Has anyone solved this residency issue, if they own no real estate?
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:56 AM   #2
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I have not solved it but would think where you keep your bank account might provide some clues. Also, consider how you would get your mail. Despite great advances in the internet and email, there are still much communications, specially legal stuff and small businesso billers that still rely on snail mail.

The lack of state income taxes in Florida makes it a very desirable home port for some one in this situation.

Like yourself, I wish there was a better answer to these things.
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by wbnphd View Post
Hello all,

I'm new to all of this, and don't plan to start my adventure for another 7 - 8 years. But that leaves lots of time for planning and education.

One conundrum I have; I plan to sell my small condo (no need to ever return here) and purchase a 50 - 55 foot trawler. I really like the Grand Banks. We plan to cruise the world for 5 - 7 years before selling and probably move into a retirement setting.

So, here's the rub. If I sell my home, and set to sea, where do I live? Can I just claim residency in any State (e.g. one with low income tax), or do I need to "live" there? And, if so, where would I live if I lived "nowhere" (or everywhere). Things like driver's licenses etc come to mind.

Has anyone solved this residency issue, if they own no real estate?
Common issue and two solutions. One is to claim a relative's home as your address and have mail delivered there, get a driver's license with that, etc.

The other is to use a service like St. Brendan's Isle. They can handle all your mail and their address can serve as yours. You would need to fulfill other requirements which they also advise you on, including Florida's Drivers License. Florida Voter's Registration if desired, and Florida Boat Registration.

At that point, assuming you retain nothing at your old address, then you would become a Florida resident. Note there is no state income tax.

Unless or until you become a resident in another state, you remain one in the state you currently live.

So changing states is relatively simple.

Now if you want to change countries, that's a bit more complicated. You'd have to get a resident visa for another country and still you remain a US citizen so subject to US tax law. You may or may not have US taxes depending on many issues including your sources of income, your taxes in your residency, and how much time you spend in US waters.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:18 AM   #4
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What BandB said is true. However there are several no state income tax states and researching what each taxes you for that GB would be advisable because every year you will pay the state taxes on your boat. My findings are FL is high.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:20 AM   #5
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This raises the question… is it necessary to live anywhere?
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:36 AM   #6
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Even if you sell all your stuff.

Even if you never go there again, except to renew your drivers license.

You are still a legal resident of the last state you resided in, voted in, had a drivers license in, until you fulfill the legal requirements of residency in another state.

If for whatever reason you want to become a resident of another state you have to fulfill their legal requirements for residency. Generally that means you have to actually go there. Certainly it means you have to switch your drivers license to there, which is pretty much the bare minimum.

If it were me I'd research the state you want to be a resident in carefully. I'd pick a state with no income tax, and no sales tax on a boat you import into the state.

You are welcome to come here and establish residency in Alaska.

We have no state income tax
We have no state sales tax
We have no state property tax
We have no state registration for USCG documented vessels.


Local jurisdictions can tax your boat, but thats generally based on if you have an annual moorage agreement with a marina. No annual moorage agreement, no way for them to tax or even know about your boat.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:50 AM   #7
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What BandB said is true. However there are several no state income tax states and researching what each taxes you for that GB would be advisable because every year you will pay the state taxes on your boat. My findings are FL is high.
Florida has no property taxes on a boat. They do have sales tax, but credit for paid elsewhere, and limit to maximum of $18,000
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:00 PM   #8
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In researching states look carefully at resident requirements. That's one reason so many pick St. Brendan's. Florida is simple to become a resident in. Most states do require some amount of physical presence in the state beyond a mail box.

As to taxes, evaluate them all.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #9
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I use St Brendens, and I cannot rave enough. Nothing lost in the USPS anymore. Looks like a condo, no more live aboard problems, ins and so forth. Will open and scan if requested. Just love it.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:09 PM   #10
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This raises the question… is it necessary to live anywhere?
Yes, it is.

You'll be considered resident of last location until you establish elsewhere. Plus things like documenting or registering a boat, reentry when traveling. Even simple things like credit cards, bank accounts.

And one thing I'd recommend to all whether using a relative or service is scanning mail. We have a home but we're away 2/3 of the time. It's amazing how seldom there is anything in the mail we actually need physically in our hands. We have it all scanned at home. A lot better than someone sending it all to you weekly or bi-weekly at your next port.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:16 PM   #11
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I have known several cruisers use St Brendens and raved about it. When you leave CA to cruise, if you just pick up and go you'll pay taxes on your boat annually even though it isn't here. It isn't legal but the state and city makes it almost impossible for you to prove your boat wasn't in the state. This is why most use St Brendens and send documents to the city before leaving. Some even fly to FL and get their drivers license to make sure.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:33 PM   #12
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Could some one explain what St Brendan's Isle provides for a street address? I looked at their web site but could determine that.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:40 PM   #13
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411 Walnut #xxxx,
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043

Thar ya go
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:46 PM   #14
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Even if you sell all your stuff.

Even if you never go there again, except to renew your drivers license.

You are still a legal resident of the last state you resided in, voted in, had a drivers license in, until you fulfill the legal requirements of residency in another state.

If for whatever reason you want to become a resident of another state you have to fulfill their legal requirements for residency. Generally that means you have to actually go there. Certainly it means you have to switch your drivers license to there, which is pretty much the bare minimum.

If it were me I'd research the state you want to be a resident in carefully. I'd pick a state with no income tax, and no sales tax on a boat you import into the state.

You are welcome to come here and establish residency in Alaska.

We have no state income tax
We have no state sales tax
We have no state property tax
We have no state registration for USCG documented vessels.


Local jurisdictions can tax your boat, but thats generally based on if you have an annual moorage agreement with a marina. No annual moorage agreement, no way for them to tax or even know about your boat.
I am with you brother. When you state property tax, you mean personal property tax? I still pay property tax on my land in the Valley...
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:47 PM   #15
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411 Walnut #xxxx,
Green Cove Springs, FL 32043

Thar ya go
Thanks! I just found the "How It Works" pulldown. Sounds reasonable and should solve a lot of our issues.
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Old 09-15-2014, 02:47 PM   #16
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I am in that situation.
We left Texas last winter and don't really plan on living there again. We are currently in Northern Alabama. We claim Texas as our residence mainly because we have to have a residence for Medicare. We established a PO Box there and my DIL gets our mail and forwards it to us. We still visit Tx. because of friends and family. Licensing like Drivers license, boats, van etc is done through internet. When we went for our wellness tests in Texas last month, we had the van inspected at the same time. A minor inconvenience, but do-able. Where you want to call home is pretty much up to you. Most states require you to register your car and boat if in that state for more than 90 consecutive days but whose to know? I recently bought a dinghy here in Al. and registered it here because it was easier, no other particular reason. You don't have to be a resident to register a car a boat. Only the car or boat has to be the resident.
It's not complicated, just inconvenient at times. At least you are not required to change residencies in every state, however, you can if you want to.
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:26 PM   #17
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Ya realllllly need to look at St Brendens. 2012 my IRS stuff was everywhere..no more.
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Old 09-15-2014, 11:24 PM   #18
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Okay, one signs up for the St. Brendan's Isle service and then moves his boat to another location. How do you get your mail delivered at the new marina? I can't imagine USPS bringing it to the boat. Does the marina collect it for each slip? Do you need to get a local box through USPS?
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Old 09-16-2014, 01:07 AM   #19
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St. Brendan's has a service by which they scan the envelope of any mail you receive, post it on line, and then you can decide whether to have any piece opened and the contents scanned. Works wonderfully even when you are on the other side of the planet.

St. Brendan's will then store your mail until you tell them when and to where to ship.
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Old 09-16-2014, 01:47 AM   #20
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St. Brendan's has a service by which they scan the envelope of any mail you receive, post it on line, and then you can decide whether to have any piece opened and the contents scanned. Works wonderfully even when you are on the other side of the planet.

St. Brendan's will then store your mail until you tell them when and to where to ship.
And they either send you things you want by Fedex or similar or by mail if there is time. Can be delivered to a post office you choose or to a marina for you. Sent to your boat name c/o the marina.
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