13 Tax Benefits That Make Florida the Perfect Place To Retire

The Sunshine State has a lot to offer retirees in terms of tax savings.

Senior couple strategizing their investment plans.
Updated July 18, 2024
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Considering where to retire involves numerous factors, and one significant consideration should be the tax implications of your chosen destination.

Florida, renowned for its sunny climate and vibrant lifestyle, offers retirees not only beautiful beaches and warm weather but also a range of attractive tax benefits.

From the absence of state income tax to exemptions on retirement plans and property taxes, Florida presents compelling financial incentives for retirees looking to maximize their savings and enjoy a stress-free retirement.

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There's no state income tax

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Florida stands out as one of the few states that do not impose a state income tax, allowing retirees to keep more of their hard-earned income for themselves.

This absence of state income tax contributes significantly to retirees' overall financial well-being, providing them with more disposable income to support their retirement lifestyle.

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There are no taxes on Social Security benefits

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Retirees can enjoy their Social Security benefits without having to pay state taxes, providing additional financial relief for those whose primary income is Social Security.

This tax-free status on Social Security benefits is particularly beneficial for retirees with limited income sources, allowing them to stretch their retirement savings further.

There are no taxes on retirement plans like 401(k)s and IRAs

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Income from retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs is not taxed at the state level in Florida, offering retirees greater flexibility and security in managing their retirement funds.

This exemption ensures that retirees can fully utilize their retirement savings without the burden of state taxation, enabling them to maintain their desired standard of living during retirement.

Don’t forget that at age 72, retirees must begin taking a required minimum distribution (RMD) from their retirement savings and pay federal taxes.

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There's no estate or inheritance tax

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Florida doesn't levy estate or inheritance taxes, ensuring that retirees can pass on their assets to their heirs without facing additional tax burdens.

This exemption provides peace of mind for retirees when planning their estate, allowing them to preserve their wealth for future generations without the complexities and expenses associated with estate taxes.

There's a homestead exemption

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Florida offers a homestead exemption, providing property tax breaks of up to $50,000 for residents who make their property their permanent residence. Additional exemptions are available for seniors and disabled veterans, enhancing affordability for retirees.

After becoming eligible for a homestead exemption, subsequent yearly property assessments are limited to a maximum increase of 3% or the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower.

There’s a 6% tax on many consumer goods and services (but not on all goods)

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While Florida imposes a 6% sales tax on many consumer goods and services, certain essential items such as groceries and prescriptions remain untaxed, easing the financial burden on retirees.

This exemption on essential items ensures that retirees can afford their basic needs without being unduly burdened by sales tax, contributing to a higher quality of life during retirement.

There are no state taxes on lottery winnings

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Lottery winnings are not subject to state taxes in Florida, although federal taxes still apply, offering a potential windfall for lucky retirees.

This tax-free status on lottery winnings presents retirees with the opportunity to boost their retirement savings or indulge in leisure activities without the worry of state taxation, adding to the appeal of retiring in Florida.

There's an Opportunity Zone Program

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Florida participates in an Opportunity Zone Program, which encourages investment in distressed communities and provides tax benefits for investors. The goal is to stimulate economic growth in targeted areas.

This program offers retirees the opportunity to contribute to community development initiatives while potentially benefiting from tax incentives, aligning with their desire to make a positive impact during retirement.

Florida has a business-friendly environment

Kristina Blokhin/Adobe sunny day in Florida

Florida boasts a business-friendly environment, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and retirees interested in pursuing business ventures or part-time work opportunities.

The corporate income tax in Florida is only 5.5%, and there are no payroll taxes. Retirees who want to start a new business during retirement will need to apply for a Florida business tax license, whether the business is in another location or you work from home.

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You must spend at least 183 days per year in the state to establish residency

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To establish residency in Florida for tax purposes, people must spend at least 183 days per year in the state, ensuring compliance with residency regulations.

This residency requirement offers retirees clarity and certainty regarding their tax obligations, enabling them to plan their residency status effectively and take advantage of the tax breaks for retirees.

Additional tax breaks for homeowners 65 and older

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Some counties and municipalities offer tax exemptions beyond the $50,000 homestead relief. A person may be eligible for these exemptions:

  • Are 65 years or older
  • If they own property with a value of less than $250,000
  • If they have lived at the property as a permanent residence for more than 25 years
  • Has an income that does not exceed the income limitations set by the government

Retirees should check with their local property tax assessor to see if they are eligible.

Homeowners insurance can be very expensive in Florida

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Due to Florida’s susceptibility to natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, homeowners insurance can be expensive. Indeed, in some areas, insurance companies are no longer writing policies for residences or renewing existing coverage.

The IRS has generally extended the tax deadlines for Florida residents and businesses that have been affected by hurricanes.

Retirees should be aware of these rising costs when planning their retirement and look for ways to save on homeowners insurance.

Florida ranks No. 4 in the U.S. for fraud

Nancy Pauwels/Adobe fort lauderdale florida

While Florida offers numerous tax benefits, it ranks third in the U.S. for fraud, with 372.7 complaints per 100,000 residents. Retirees need to be vigilant and careful with financial matters and know the signs of a scam.

While Florida offers an easy lifestyle and tax benefits to lure retirees, the state also draws bad actors who want to take advantage of older people.

Bottom line

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As you contemplate your retirement destination, the array of tax benefits offered in Florida may be a compelling reason to relocate there. Knowing your retirement income won’t be taxed on the state level is certainly attractive.

However, before planning your retirement, you should carefully evaluate your circumstances and consult with a financial advisor to ensure that Florida aligns with your long-term retirement goals and lifestyle preferences.

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Adam Palasciano

Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.