How to Establish Two Residences With Postal Addresses

By Kevin Johnston
You can have two residences with the U.S. Post Office.
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You can own as many homes as you want to, and treat them as your residences. Be aware of the difference between "residence" and "residency." Residency is a state requirement for voting and paying income tax. Usually, the state requires that you live a certain number of months within a state to be a resident of that state. You can own a residence in that state while having official residency status in another state. You can establish each residence with the United States Postal Service.

Send a piece of mail to your second home. According to the United States Postal Service publication 508, mail is delivered as addressed, not according to the name on the mail. You can receive mail at any address you wish. The Postal Service is not a clearing house for the legality of receiving mail at an address. In other words, you don't need permission from the post office to receive mail at your second address. By sending a piece of mail to your second home, you may establish the idea in the local postal delivery worker's mind that you are a resident at that address.

Maintain residency at your original home. A state can argue that if you spend most of your time at one residence, you have in fact established residency in that state and owe income taxes in that state. Make sure you have the Postal Service deliver non-state items such as federal tax notices, legal papers from out of state and magazines from national publishers to the residence you want to be recognized as your official residence. This will help you establish that the other residence is a second home.

Use two mail forwarding services. Hire someone to pick up your mail at each home and mail it to the home you are staying in. Do not ask the Postal Service to do this. Doing so may delay delivery and cause confusion. Hire a neighbor or a commercial mail-forwarding service to take care of the matter.

Have your mail held. If you don't want to go to the trouble of having mail forwarded, you can ask the Postal Service hold your mail while you are at your other residence. This method will not notify the local post office that you have moved, it will only tell them you are going out of town.

About the Author

Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.