Central Florida Homestead Exemption
As a Florida resident, one of our perks as homeowners is being eligible for a Homestead Exemption on your home, condominium, co-op apartment, and certain mobile home lot if it qualifies. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence.
We’ll break this down for you.
A homestead property is one owned by Florida residents where they live as their primary residence. It is an exemption designed to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse.
Florida property tax homestead exemption reduces the property taxes by $50,000 when the value of a home is assessed, so a home that was actually worth $100,000 would be taxed as though it was worth only $50,000. Assessment for taxes is NOT the same as an appraisal (many people get these confused).
You should file your regular residential homestead exemption application between January 1 and March 1. If you miss the March 1st cutoff, you may pre-file for the following year from March 2 through December 31.
You do not need to do this every year. Once is all it takes and then do it again when you move. But remember, when you move, you'll have to apply for the exemption on the next home, thus removing it from the previous.
Homestead exemptions remove part of your home's value from taxation, so they lower your taxes. For example, your home is appraised at $100,000, and you qualify for a $25,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $75,000. You can only claim homestead on ONE property. It has to be the one you reside in, not investment or second home.
If you own your home, reside there permanently and are a Florida resident all as of January 1, you may qualify for Homestead exemption and it can reduce your taxable value on your home as much as $50,000, saving you approximately $750 annually.
Many property appraisers allow you to file for a homestead exemption online. Make sure you check with your local county property appraiser to see if you can file online or if you must file in person AND for the information, you will need. For either method, at a minimum, you will need:
- Social security number for each applicant
- Two proofs of residence for each applicant, which could be:
- Valid Florida driver's license
- Valid Florida auto tag registration
- Valid Florida voter registration card
You're going to be asked to prove residency, but just follow this link and click on the arrow as shown below. It will give you all the information necessary to complete the process.
Once you do, you're all set up to receive your Florida Homestead Exemption.
Your Central Florida Property Appraisers
Homestead Exemption Tips
You can only take a homestead exemption for a year if you live in the home as of January 1st. Accordingly, you can't move to Florida during the year and claim a homestead exemption for that year.
For example, say you move to Florida on January 15, 2017. You can't claim a homestead exemption for 2017. However, you can claim the exemption for 2018.
Generally, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents can claim Florida's homestead exemption. However, non-citizens can claim the exemption if they have children born in the U.S. who live in the home and are dependent on you. In this case, your children have to qualify as permanent residents of the property.
You will need to collect birth certificates and other proof that the children use the home as their primary residence. Talk with your county's property appraiser for more information.
You might do something that will cause your county to deny you a homestead exemption. For example, don't do the following:
- Avoid renting your home for more than 30 days each year, for two consecutive years.
- Don't get a driver's license in any other state. Don't forget to register your vehicle in Florida if you drive in the state.
- Avoid registering to vote anywhere else. You should register to vote only in the county where you are a permanent resident.
The homestead exemption is not transferable. You'll need to complete a new application when you move. List your new home address.
- Once you receive your exemption, the assessed value of your homestead cannot increase more than 3% a year or the percentage change of the Consumer Price Index. Although you can't transfer the homestead exemption, you can transfer these tax savings to a new home.
Other Property Tax Exemptions
Veterans who are Florida residents and were honorably discharged with a service-related total and permanent disability may be eligible for a total exemption from ad valorem taxes on property they own and use as their homesteads. A similar exemption is available to disabled veterans confined to wheelchairs.
In order to qualify for the Low-Income Senior Exemption for 2021, an applicant must be 65 or older as of January 1, 2021, receive the Homestead Exemption on the property, AND have a combined household adjusted gross income for 2020 not exceeding $31,100 (note: this adjusted gross income limitation number is adjusted annually in January to reflect the percentage change in the average cost of living index).
A Florida resident who has been certified by one Florida licensed physician as being totally and permanently disabled, but not requiring the use of a wheelchair for mobility, can qualify for a $500 Disability Exemption on the assessed value of the property.
The Widow / Widower's Exemption provides a $500 reduction in the assessment of a homesteaded property occupied by the surviving spouse.