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Homestead Exemptions FLORIDA HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS "101" Introduction: The $25,000 homestead tax exemption is a valuable benefit, typically worth $475-$1550 in annual property tax savings for residence owners permanently residing in the County. This article summarizes the basics that you need to know. Please refer to the Department Of Revenue's website at http://taxlaw.state.fl.us/taxlawmenu.asp Click on the Property Tax Administration section for more information. 1. Criteria for Eligibility. The applicant must: A. have title to the residence; B. reside thereon; C. be a Florida resident (A., B. & C. all as of January 1st of the year of application); and D. apply (in person or by mail via a downloaded application from our website) by March 1st (late filed applications may qualify in limited cases). Florida residency is established by holding Florida driver's license, Florida vehicle tag(s), Florida voter registration number(s) or declaration of domicile, Social Security numbers and a recorded deed. IMPORTANT PLEASE READ – Homestead is NOT automatic; you must apply for the exemption in order to receive it! If you do not receive a postcard “Receipt for Exemption Application” by June 1, you must contact the Property Appraiser as soon as possible – your application may not have been received and you will not be granted an exemption. The Notice of Proposed Taxes (TRIM Notice) mailed mid August each year will reflect whether or not you received an exemption for the current (and prior) tax years. Review this document carefully – if you believe that you should have received an exemption and the exemption is not reflected on the Notice of Proposed Taxes, contact the Appraiser’s Office immediately in order to verify your exemption status. 2. Significance Of January 1st Date. January 1st is Florida’s legal assessment date. 192.042, Fla. Stat. The tax status of a residence as established on January 1st carries through for the entirety of the year. Example #1: If the seller qualifies for the 2001 homestead exemption on 1/1/2001 and sells the home on 5/1/2001, the 2001 tax bill will reflect a 2001 homestead exemption. The buyer gets the benefit of the seller's homestead exemption for tax year 2001 only. The buyer must apply for the 2002 exemption by 3/1/2002. Example #2: If the seller does not qualify for the 2001 homestead exemption on 1/1/2001, but resided there and sold the home on 1/2/2001, the buyer cannot qualify for a 2001 homestead exemption, as he/she did not own it on the assessment date of January 1st.The 2001 tax bill will reflect no homestead exemption. The buyer may apply for the 2002 homestead. Tip: If a buyer will be a Florida resident and the seller does not have homestead exemption, if possible the buyer should purchase and reside in the residence on or before January 1st to qualify for the homestead exemption for the next available year. 3. "Transfers" of homestead exemptions. There is no such thing. An owner must reapply if he/she purchases another home and moves into it. 4. "Save Our Homes" ("SOH"). Mr. Wilkinson spearheaded this homestead assessment limitation, enacted in 1992. It limits annual assessment increases on homestead properties to 3% or the CPI, whichever is lower. A residence is assessed at fair market value (“just value”) the 1st year that it has homestead (the "base year"). The SOH cap applies beginning the 2nd year of homestead and thereafter so long as the owner remains as a permanent resident. The assessed value returns to fair market value in the year following homestead sale, rental or abandonment. The new owner may then begin the SOH cycle again by applying for homestead (Note: SOH does not apply to new additions or construction that previously escaped taxation). SOH Example: The owner applies for homestead on 1/1/2000 and the 2000 assessment at fair market value is $100,000. The home appreciates in value 25% as of 1/1/2001. The 2001 CPI increase is only 3%. While the 2001 just value is $125,000, the 2001 SOH assessed value is only $100,000 + 3% ($3000) = $103,000. SOH shields the owner from 2001 property taxes on the $22,000 difference between the SOH assessed value and market value. Tip: Buyers of residences with significant SOH savings will not get the benefit of the seller's SOH savings in the following tax year, because that next year's assessment will be based on market value. Unlike other states that may only reassess every few years, Florida law requires annual reassessment. Disclaimer: This document is a general overview of homestead law and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. FLORIDA HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FILING PERIOD JANUARY 1 – MARCH 1 Florida law requires that application be made by March 1st to be eligible for the $25,000 Homestead Exemption. Only new applicants or those who had a change of residence need apply. Automatic renewals are mailed in January each year. What Is A Homestead Exemption? Homestead Exemption is a constitutional benefit of a $25,000 exemption removed from the assessed value of your property. It is granted to those applicants who timely file by March 1, possess title to real property and are bona fide Florida residents living in the dwelling and making it their permanent home on January 1. Properties granted Homestead Exemption automatically receive the “Save Our Homes” benefit. This is a constitutional benefit approved by the Florida voters in 1992. It places a limitation of 3% on annual assessment increase on Homestead properties beginning with the 1995 tax year. For properties granted Homestead Exemption in the prior years, that assessed value will be the base value for the implementation of “Save Our Homes". Thereafter, the assessed value will not increase more than 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. Exceptions to that limitation include new additions or construction that escaped taxation in the past. Another exception would occur when a homestead property sells: the assessed value returns to fair market value in the year following the sale. That fair market value assessment then becomes the base value for “Save Our Homes” purpose for the new owner/homestead applicant. Who Is Eligible For The Homestead Exemption; Who Is Eligible to File for an Exemption? According to Florida Statute, the requirements for determining eligibility are: one must own, reside thereon, and be a legal resident of the State of Florida as of January 1. Those individuals whose names appear on the Deed and who reside on the property are eligible to file. If the property is held in title by “Tenancies by the Entireties” (husband and wife) or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship, only one person is required to file in order to receive 100% benefit, however, if only one owner applied and received the exemption, and in the future becomes deceased or relinquishes ownership, the homestead and Save Our Homes (SOH) cap could be jeopardized. It is suggested that all owners who qualify for the exemption apply to protect your exemption and SOH status.. Property held as “Tenants in Common requires that only persons who reside on the property are eligible to file for the exemption. In order to qualify for 100% benefit as Tenants in Common, all persons whose names appear on the deed must qualify and file, otherwise the benefit is prorated according to the applicant’s percentage of ownership. Regardless of the type of tenancy, it is recommended that all persons whose names appear on the deed and reside on the property apply for the exemption in order to protect their exemption and SOH Status. What Documents Are Required To File? 1. Applicants must hold a valid Florida Driver’s License. A Florida I.D. Card can be used ONLY if you do not hold a driver’s license in any other jurisdiction. (A “Valid in Florida ONLY” license is not acceptable). 2. Florida vehicle license plate (tag) numbers for all vehicles that you own. Lease vehicles must be tagged in Florida . A company car provided for your use does not require a Florida license plate. 3. If you ARE a U.S. Citizen – provide your Florida Voter’s Registration Number or – if you do not vote - you will be required to complete and record a Declaration of Domicile. If you are not a US Citizen, you must complete and record a Declaration of Domicile.** (** There is no fee for applying for homestead – there is a fee for the processing/ recording fee for the Declaration of Domicile). 4. Proof of U.S. Citizenship may be required. IF YOU ARE NOT A U.S. CITIZEN – You must complete a Declaration of Domicile and you must possess a Permanent Resident Alien Card (“Green Card”, or show proof of eligibility for asylum). Temporary VISA’s, such as Employment Visa’s or a letter stating that you applied for, but have not yet received permanent resident card DO NOT qualify. To apply by mail, you must submit a legible copy of the front and back of your permanent resident card and a copy of the recorded declaration of domicile. 5. Social Security Number for applicants. If married, you must also provide spouse’s Social Security Number. If the applicant is married, SPOUSE’S Social Security Number IS REQUIRED even though the spouse is not an owner of the property and is not applying for the exemption. Homestead Exemption Application information is Confidential. 6. Date of Birth for applicant(s). 7. Proof of ownership – copy of County tax bill or recorded Deed to prove ownership of the property on which you are making exemption application Ownership held in Trust may require that copies of Trust documents be provided. 8. Proof that you do not receive a residency based exemption or tax credit in another jurisdiction – If you own property in another jurisdiction, you must complete an “Authorization for Removal of Property Tax Exemption / Tax credit form” (available from this office). This form will be submitted to the out of state jurisdiction by the County Property Appraiser. You may be able to provide a copy of your most recent tax bill from the out of state assessor’s office reflecting that you do not receive an exemption or tax credit in lieu of completing the Authorization for Removal of Property Tax Exemption / Tax Credit form. Who Must File for Homestead? Those individuals whose names appear on the Deed and who reside on the property must file unless the property is held in title by “Tenancies by the Entireties” (husband and wife) or Joint Tenants With Right of Survivorship. In these instances, only one person is required to file. Where (How) to File for Homestead? To better serve the residents of the County, we are now accepting Homestead Exemption applications by mail. The letter of instruction and application form may be obtained by visiting the county property appraiser’s web site or may be picked up at one of their locations If you prefer to apply in person, you may do so at their main office. Where can I obtain an application and where do I file for Exemption? To better serve the residents of the state, counties are now accepting Homestead Exemption applications by mail. Applications are not available from the Tax Collector’s Office. If you do not mail your application, you must submit it in person at the Property Appraiser’s Office located in the county of residence. A postcard ( “ RECEIPT FOR EXEMPTION APPLICATION” ) will be mailed to all approved applicants no later than June 1. If you do not receive a “ RECEIPT FOR EXEMPTION APPLICATION ” stating the exemption is granted, your exemption application may not have been received and approved by the Property Appraiser and you may NOT be eligible for an exemption. Contact the Property Appraiser as soon as possible: MOBILE HOME EXEMPTION If you hold title to a mobile home and the land on which it is situated and the mobile home is permanently affixed to the land, you can make application to the Property Appraiser to have the property appraised as real property. This application requires you to purchase an "RP" sticker from the Tax Collector’s Office. You must make application for the sticker between January 1st and March 1st. Homestead exemption may be allowed if the mobile home meets the above qualifications and the property owner meets the qualifications for the exemption. When no one individual owns the land, as is the case with some mobile home parks, the park is taxed for the land as a whole (real property) and the improvements to the mobile home are taxed as Tangible Personal Property. However, you still must buy a yearly "MH" tag for the mobile home itself from the Tax Collector’s Office. WIDOW/WIDOWER’S $500 EXEMPTION To file for Widow or Widower’s Exemption you must be a widow or widower prior to JANUARY 1st of the tax year for which you are applying and bring proof of your spouse’s death. (Divorced persons do not qualify for this exemption.) The $500 assessment exemption saves approximately $10.00 in tax dollars. If you had a homestead exemption and your deceased spouse was the only person who applied for the exemption, you will be required to apply in order to continue to receive homestead exemption status. If you are unsure of whether or not you have applied for the exemption in your own name, please contact our office for verification or to obtain an application so that you may file. If you did not apply in your name, you may not be eligible to retain the exemption and SOH status on your property. SENIOR EXEMPTION INFORMATION - ADDITIONAL ** $25,000 ** HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR PERSONS 65 AND OVER There is an additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption for Persons 65 and Over. This applies ONLY to the taxes levied by the unit of government granting the exemption. Person 65 year of age or older and who qualify for the homestead exemption may be eligible for an additional homestead exemption up to $25,000 under the following circumstances: (1) The county or municipality adopts an ordinance that allows the additional homestead exemption which **applies ONLY to the taxes levied by the unit of government granting the exemption**; (2) The taxpayer is 65 years of age or older on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is claimed; (3) The annual household income of the taxpayer (defined as the adjusted gross income as defined in s. 62, United States Internal Revenue Code of all members of a household) for the prior year does not exceed $22,693 and, (4) The taxpayer annually submits a sworn statement of household income to the property appraiser not later than March 1. $500 DISABILITY EXEMPTION In addition to Florida residency, you must provide one of the following: (1) Proof of total and permanent disability from two  professional unrelated licensed Florida physicians, the U.S. Veteran’s Administration; (2) Proof of 10% or more war-time disability from Veteran’s Administration; (3) Present proof of legal blindness. $5,000 VETERANS DISABILITY EXEMPTION In addition to Florida residency, veterans must provide proof issued by the U.S. Veteran’s Administration; designating 10% or more permanent service related disability in order to be eligible to receive the Veterans Exemption. AVAILABLE JANUARY 1, 2006 $5,0000 VETERAN DISABILITY EXEMPTION IS AVAILABLE TO THE UNREMARRIED SURVIVING SPOUSE OF A DISABLED VETERAN. The unremarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran who was married to the veteran for at least 5 years at the time of the veteran’s death is eligible to apply for the exemption. In addition to Florida residency, applicants must provide proof issued by the U.S. Veteran’s Administration; designating 10% or more permanent service related disability in order to be eligible to receive the $5000 Veterans Exemption. Veteran’s receiving a 100% total and permanent disability rating may be eligible for wholly exempt status. If you are the surviving spouse of a veteran who was killed in action, you may qualify for wholly exempt status. Contact the Property Appraiser for additional information TOTAL EXEMPTION OF HOMESTEAD PROPERTY FROM AD VALOREM TAXATION Section 196.101, F.S., provides that real estate qualifying for the homestead exemption on January 1, owned by quadriplegic, paraplegic, hemiplegic, or other totally and permanently disabled persons, who must use a wheel chair for mobility, or are legally blind and produce certification of that fact from two  professionally unrelated licensed Florida physicians, or the U.S. Veteran’s Administration, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation. (Except for quadriplegics & Veterans, there is also a gross income limitation for this exemption, governing all persons residing upon the homestead, which is adjusted annually.) Section 196.081, F.S., provides that real estate qualifying for the homestead exemption on January 1, owned by veterans honorably discharged with a service connected total and permanent disability, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation. Confirmation of the disability from the U.S. Veteran’s Administration is required for this exemption. A surviving spouse could enjoy the benefit of this exemption if the veteran was a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the year he or she died. AGRICULTURAL CLASSIFICATION An agricultural classification is the designation of land by the Property Appraiser, pursuant to F.S. 193.461, in which the assessment is based on agricultural use value. To qualify for Agricultural classification, a return must be filed with the Property Appraiser between January 1 and March 1 of the tax year. Only the land that is used for a bona fide agricultural purpose shall be classified agricultural. "Bona Fide Agricultural Purposes" means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land. The Property Appraiser, prior to classifying such lands, may require the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative to furnish such information as may reasonably be required to establish such lands are actually used for a bona fide agricultural purpose. The Property Appraiser may deny agricultural classification to the following lands: Lands that are not being used for or diverted from agricultural use Land that has been zoned non-agricultural at the request of the owner Land on which a sub-division plat is recorded Land which is purchased for a price three or more times the agricultural appraisal placed on the land PENALTY Any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming homestead exemption is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. 196.131, F.S. Send exemption questions to email@example.com HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION INSTRUCTIONS IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT FILING YOUR APPLICATION: To make application by mail and to qualify for this exemption, all applicants must complete the application by March 1. Applications post marked after March 1st may be granted for the following Tax Year. AFTER the MARCH 1st deadline, if you have been prevented from timely filing due to extenuating circumstances, you must apply in person at a main office of the county property appraiser where you live. 1. Use your "Back" Button to navigate. 2.You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader 3.0 or higher to access and print this form. 3. Please read the mailing instructions when applying for your homestead exemption 4. Fill out your application then mail it to the address of the county property appraiser. 5. If you have any questions regarding Homestead Exemption applications/filing please contact mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org PLEASE READ: Florida Statute Update for Homestead Exemption Filing Please be advised that Florida Statute 196.011(1)(a) states "failure to make application when required, on or before March 1 of any year shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year, except as provided in subsection (7) or subsection (8)." Subsections (7) and (8) provide that applications received after March 1 must file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board ( VAB ). Such a petition may be filed at any time during the taxable year on or before the 25th day following the mailing of the Trim Notice by the Property Appraiser as provided in s. 194.011(1). A postcard ( “ RECEIPT FOR EXEMPTION APPLICATION” ) will be mailed to all approved applicants no later than June 1. If you do not receive a “ RECEIPT FOR EXEMPTION APPLICATION ” stating the exemption is granted, your exemption application may not have been received and approved by the Property Appraiser and you may NOT be eligible for an exemption. Contact the Property Appraiser as soon as possible: HOW TO FILE FOR HOMESTEAD BY MAIL OR IN PERSON: To better serve the residents of the County, the property appraiser’s are now accepting Homestead Exemption applications by mail. The letter of instruction and application may be obtained from their web site. If you would like to pick up an application for mailing or completing prior to visiting the property appraiser’s office, please contact the county property appraiser for this information. Mailing Instructions: PLEASE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION TO FILE FOR YOUR EXEMPTION BY MAIL: (PRINT YOUR APPLICATION IN BLACK INK ONLY) 1. Applicants must hold a valid Florida Driver’s License or a valid Florida I.D. Card – A Florida I.D. Card can be used ONLY if you do not hold a driver’s license in any other jurisdiction. (A “Valid in Florida ONLY” license is not acceptable). 2. Florida vehicle license plate (tag) numbers for all vehicles that you own. Lease vehicles must be tagged in Florida. A company car provided for your use does not require a Florida license plate. 3. Florida Voter’s Registration Number or Declaration of Domicile (if not a U.S. Citizen) or you do not wish to register to vote. (There is a nominal charge for the recording of a Declaration of Domicile.) 4. A Permanent Residency Card is required if you are not a U.S. Citizen. 5. Social Security Number for applicants. If married, you must also provide spouse’s Social Security Number. If the applicant is married, SPOUSE’S Social Security Number IS REQUIRED even though the spouse is not an owner of the property and is not applying for the exemption. Homestead Exemption Application information is Confidential. 6. Date of Birth for applicant(s). 7. Your most recently paid tax bill with Parcel Identification Number or recorded Deed or recorded Contract for Deed. $500 WIDOW/WIDOWER’S EXEMPTION: A widow or widower who is a permanent Florida resident may claim this exemption. If the widow or widower remarries, he/she is no longer eligible. If the husband and wife were divorced before death, he/she is not considered a widow/widower. You must include a photocopy of your spouse’s death certificate when making application. Please complete, sign and date your Homestead Application, and return it to the County Property Appraiser’s Office. To obtain a signed copy of your original application, please include a stamped self-addressed envelope. A copy of your application will provide proof that your exemption was received and granted. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you will need to provide this office with a copy of your recorded Declaration of Domicile and copy of your Resident Alien Card (Front and Back), or apply in person at a main office and provide proof of permanent residency. Please contact the County Property Appraiser’s Office in the county where you live if you have any questions.
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