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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 [2] 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 [2]
       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 myhomestead@bellsouth.net
                          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:myhomestead@bellsouth.net

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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