Homesteading Information

( From a new website LREvansPA.Com}

Note: It has come to my attention that one of my neighbors is Homesteading and he/she/their do not occupy their apt.

Florida Homestead Explained

 

THE FLORIDA HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION ─ GENERALLY

The Florida Homestead Exemption reduces the taxable value of real property by up to $25,000, $50,000 for a married couple. It is an ad valorem tax exemption provided by Florida law for qualified residents who own and reside on the property as their primary residence. Properties that receive the homestead exemption qualify under the “Save Our Homes” Amendment and may realize additional benefits.

Under Florida law, the homestead exemption is only available to US citizens, permanent resident aliens, or others who are legally able to form the intent to remain permanently under immigration laws.

Homestead exemptions are only available on an individual’s primary home. This exemption does not apply to businesses, rental property, second homes, homeowners claiming permanent residency-based exemptions or tax credits in other states, or homes with owners that do not claim Florida as their primary residence.

A tax exemption is an important benefit that offers Florida resident considerable savings on their property tax bill. The homestead exemption is the most common and valuable exemption, providing savings every year you own and reside in your home.

You may be eligible for additional savings if you qualify for certain personal exemptions, such as those offered to widows, widowers and disabled persons. Organizations, usually not-for-profit, who use their properties for exempt purposes, also may qualify for savings.

Agricultural use of land does not qualify for an exemption but it may allow property used for a commercial agricultural operation to be eligible for a special classification that could lower property taxes.

OBTAINING FLORIDA HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

The Florida homestead exemption is not automatic. A homeowner must obtain a homestead exemption by filing for a homestead exemption with the Property Appraiser in the county in which the property is located. While most counties still use paper applications, a few larger counties offer online homestead filing. While the applicable statutes are the same in all 67 counties, the standards applied vary greatly. Some Property Appraiser offices require significantly more documentation than others, as determining eligibility is a matter within the discretion of each elected Property Appraiser. We advise that you visit the links provided below for the major counties in Southeast Florida, for further information.

WHO IS ENTITLED TO HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION?

Florida statutes set firm requirements for persons receiving the valuable homestead exemption. The following criteria will help you determine if you may qualify for an exemption. If you still have questions about your eligibility, please call our offices, or the Property Appraiser’s Office.

Individuals only are eligible for homestead exemption; corporations or business entities do not qualify.

Your deed or document establishing your ownership or beneficial interest as of January 1 must be recorded in the County Public Records before your exemption can be approved. Without this evidence, your Property Appraiser’s Office is prohibited by state regulations from granting the exemption.

As of January 1 of the year for which you are filing:

  • You must be a resident of Florida.
  • You must own and occupy the property as your permanent residence.
  • You must hold title or beneficial interest to the property.

WHERE & WHEN TO APPLY

It is not necessary to file an application every year as long as the property’s use and your ownership and Florida residency do not change. The following instructions apply to original applications for homestead and other exemptions:

Where
Many Counties allow you to file on-line. You may also pick up an application from one of your county property appraiser’s offices, or visit them online. Below are several Florida County Links for Homestead Exemption Filing:

When
You may file a new application for homestead exemption no later than March 1 of the year for which the exemption applies. If March 1 falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is the next business day. We encourage you to file your application as soon as you complete the qualifying transaction to minimize the risk of missing the March 1 deadline that is set by Florida law.

OTHER EXEMPTIONS

Personal exemptions that reduce the taxable value of property by $500 per exemption are available to qualified Florida residents. Certain civilians and veterans with permanent and/or total disabilities may qualify for 100 percent exemption from ad valorem taxes. In addition to proof of property ownership and Florida residency, you will be asked to provide other information specific to the exemption you are requesting. Some exemptions have income limits. The March 1 filing deadline applies to all exemption applications. Please call your county property appraiser’s office if you think you are eligible to receive one of the following exemptions:

  • Widow or Widower
  • Married at time of spouse’s death
  • Not remarried
  • Able to present date of spouse’s death and/or death certificate
  • Civilian Disability (total and permanent disability)
  • Blind Persons (legally blind)
  • Disabled Veterans (10 percent or more service-connected disability)

Organizational exemptions are granted to organizations that own and predominantly or exclusively use their properties for exempt purposes. As is the case with all exemptions, these are not automatic; organizations must apply for them by March 1.

  • Charitable, which use provides such service of social value to the community that its interruption could result in expenditures of public funds;
  • Religious, for all properties owned by churches/synagogues and used for religious purposes;
  • Scientific, for scientific research and operations;
  • Literary, including not-for-profit cultural and arts groups;
  • Educational, may include property used by a private school when the school is eligible for certain accreditation.

You may be eligible for other exemptions. Please call your county property appraiser’s office if you have questions about your particular situation.

PORTABILITY

Because of the “portability” provision of the January 2008 constitutional amendment, a homesteaded owner may now move up to $500,000 of the “Save Our Homes” benefit from one Florida home to the next. However, acquiring a house that had a homestead exemption does not entitle the buyer to retain the low tax rate enjoyed by the previous homesteaded resident, as homestead exemptions cannot be inherited or purchased.

Under Florida’s Save Our Homes Act, the annual assessed value of a Florida Homestead is restricted to the annual increase of the lesser of any increase in the Consumer Price Index or three percent (3%) per year.

If you have any questions about Florida Homestead, email us at evans@LREvansPA.com or fill out our contact form here.