There are a number of reasons why people want to learn how to become a Rhode Island resident. Someone who fits Rhode Island residency requirements pays less for in-state tuition than they would for out-of-state tuition along with many other advantages. There may even be tax benefits to becoming a Rhode Island resident as well.
How long does it take to be considered a resident of Rhode Island? And what do you have to do to fit the Rhode Island definition of residency?
Why Become a Resident in Rhode Island
There are generally two reasons why people start searching for a Rhode Island residency form. They either want to enjoy lower taxes or they want to save money on tuition. If you have fulfilled your Rhode Island residency requirements, then you can access lower in-state tuition rates after a set period of time has passed.
Rhode Island Residency for Tax Purposes
If you come from a state where you previously paid a high income tax rate, you may want to gain your Rhode Island residency for tax purposes, due to the possibility of lowering your taxes. Rhode Island’s state income tax is fairly high compared to the rest of the country, but California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, New York, Vermont, and a few other states still have a higher tax rate.
You’ll want to make sure you fill out and return a completed Rhode Island residency affidavit to ensure you qualify for these tax benefits and what you’re able to withhold.
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Rhode Island Residency for Marriage
Some people change their Rhode Island residency for marriage. After getting married, you and your new spouse may decide to plant your roots in RI and switch become a resident of the state for additional benefits.
Rhode Island Residency for Health Insurance
More recently, people have decided to change to Rhode Island residency in order to get health insurance. Rhode Island expanded its health insurance market under the Affordable Care Act, so many low-income and middle-income families can get health insurance using a subsidy. By becoming a Rhode Island resident, you and your loved ones may be able to qualify for affordable health insurance.
How to Become a Rhode Island Resident
Once you decide to become a Rhode Island resident, you must follow the proper steps that are required by the state. While the process for establishing Rhode Island residency isn’t difficult, there are a few specific things you have to do.
The state has written out the residency requirements for Rhode Island on Form RI-1040. Once you learn how to declare residency in Rhode Island, you must use this booklet and pay your state income tax every year.
According to RI-1040, a resident is someone who is officially domiciled in Rhode Island. You can also be counted as living in Rhode Island if you maintain a house in the state and live in your house for at least 183 days out of the year.
Someone is considered a non-resident if they don’t live in the state for at least part of the year or earn income in the state. You can still be counted as a part-year resident, but to meet this Rhode Island definition of residency you must move into or out of the state during the tax year. Part-time residents are merely people who are moving into or out of the state during the tax year.
If you are trying to learn how to get residency in Rhode Island, you can start by getting the proper forms. You don’t need an official Rhode Island residency application, but you can use one of the following documents to show you are domiciled in the state and have fulfilled RI state residency requirements.
- A letter from your landlord
- A valid Rhode Island driver’s license
- Additional identification to show your name and address
- Signed lease agreement
- Rent receipt
- Mortgage papers
- Non-heating utility bills
- Letter from a landlord or roommate to show you pay room and board
- Telephone bills
- Water and sewer bills
- Utility bill
- Home insurance bill
- Property tax bill
The main requirement for becoming a Rhode Island resident is to show you have a physical presence in the state. You can fulfill this residency requirement through mortgage papers, leases, utility bills, or just about any form where your name and RI address are included.
How long do you have to live in Rhode Island to be a resident? You must live in the state for 183 days before you can claim official residency in Rhode Island. Additionally, you must prove you live in the state by using one of the documents previously mentioned.
Rhode Island Residency for Tuition Purposes
While some people want to meet Rhode Island residency requirements for tax purposes, other people are curious about Rhode Island in-state tuition requirements. In general, you or your parents must be Rhode Island residents for a full year before you enroll in college to gain these benefits. Some colleges in the state also expect students to graduate from an in-state high school and to attend an in-state high school for three years before they apply for in-state tuition.
In general, you or your parents must show proof you have lived in the state for 12 months prior to the first day of college. Your proof of residence in Rhode Island will also be verified by the clerk of the city or town you lived in, so it must be accurate.
Benefits of Being a Rhode Island Resident
Once you have learned how to become a Rhode Island resident, you can enjoy some of the perks of living in the state. One of the first benefits of establishing Rhode Island residency is getting to vote in local and federal elections.
Along with getting to vote, meeting Rhode Island residency requirements will also allow you to get an in-state driver’s license. You can then apply for your boat license, motorcycle license, and car tabs. If you just moved to the area, it is always a good idea to update your driver’s license as soon as possible because in-state residents only have 10 days to update the address on their license.
Next, many people become Rhode Island residents if they previously lived in a high-tax state like New York or California. If your old state had a much higher state income tax, then you might want to switch to a Rhode Island residency right away. Additionally, you should consider adjusting your residency as soon as possible in order to update your health insurance as well.
Finally, many newcomers want to find out how to become a Rhode Island resident because they are going to school in the state. If you want to get a tuition break by becoming an in-state resident, you will need to live in the state for at least a year before your first day of school.
Additional Rhode Island Residency Info
Because you have to file a state income tax return, Rhode Island residency laws also have specific requirements for how you file your federal and state returns. As a general rule, you are required to file with the same status on your federal and state returns.
The only exception is if you are a couple where one spouse is a resident, and the other isn’t. In this specific case, you can file a married joint federal return. Then, one spouse can file an individual state return unless both spouses elect to be taxed jointly as residents.
You Can Become a Rhode Island Resident by Following These Steps
Learning how to become a Rhode Island resident isn’t a complicated process. The main requirement for establishing Rhode Island residency is to be domiciled in the state. This means you have to live in Rhode Island for at least 183 days before you can become a resident.
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