Homestead Exemption: What you need to know before applying

Besides 365 days of sunshine and 80 degree weather another perk of being a permanent Florida residents is being able to take advantage of a tax saving called Homestead Exemption. This exemptions offers a $25,000 tax credit on the first and second tax amount of the assessed value of the owners occupied residence. Keep in mind you can only have one property receiving a Homestead Exemption.

Homestead Exemption

Figuring out the property taxes on a particular property can be a little confusing; but the most basic explanation is by taking the properties assessed value and multiplying  it by the cities millage rate (every city has its own millage rate). To give you an idea of the possible saving you can more or less except in 2015 Broward county homeowners that filed for homestead exemption in 2014 saved anywhere from $650 – $1,077 off of there annual property tax bill for there homes assessed at $75,000 or higher.

Eligibility

January 1st of each year is the date in which a permanent residence is determined so if you have resided in your your as of January 1st you qualify to apply for homestead exemption on your property.

Filing Period

If you have recently purchased a new home and have been living at the home as of January 1st and there are no other properties in which you are claiming a homestead exemption then NOW is the time to file.

Even better news is you can now file 2017 homestead exemption online Click here to be taken directly to the properties appraisers website.

The filing period for Homestead Exemption begins March 2, 2016 and ends March 1, 2017. If for some reason you happen to miss this opportunity to file there is an absolute deadline at which point you have until September 18, 2017; but be warned regardless of the reason for not filing before the Late Filing date Florida State Law will not allow you file any exemptions and unfortunately will have to wait until the following year to apply for Homestead Exemption.

Get your documents!

In order to claim 100% coverage all of the owners on the property will need to file in person. This also includes married couples or joint tenants with rights of survivor-ship. Any of the owners listed on the deed may qualify for 100% of the coverage but is it always recommended to have all eligible owner occupants file for the exemption.

You will need the following in order to apply for Homestead Exemption:

Proof of Ownership: This would be the recorded deed or if your home is a co-op then you will need the proprietary lease. Both of these documents must include the names of the persons applying for the exemption.

  •  If your deed or co-op lease has already been recorded in the official records of Broward County a copy will not be necessary; but in the event you have only recently closed on your home then that will not have been recorded as of yet and a copy will be necessary.
  • In the event that the property is held in a trust you will need to have a notarized Certificate of Trust or a complete copy of the trust agreement. (It is highly recommended that the Certificate of Trust be completed instead of presenting the complete agreement in order to protect not only your privacy but also your financial planning of your estate).

Proof of Permanent Florida Resident

  • A Florida’s drivers license and/or Florida ID is required
  • Florida Voters registration card or
  • Recorded declaration of domicile.

For Non-Citizens applying for Homestead Exemption you will need the above along with

  • Proof of permanent residency or,
  • Proof that you are a parent of a US-born citizen or a minor who resides with you at the property.

Married Couples

If you or your spouse have a homestead exemption in any other county, state or country for another property that you also own you will first have to surrender that exemption before you can be eligible for Florida’s Homestead Exemption. You will need to provide proof of the following:

  • Current Employers of all owners
  • Addresses listed on last filed IRS income tax return
  • Date of each of the owners permanent Florida residence
  • Date of occupancy for each of the property owners
  • Social Security numbers for all owners filing (For any married spouse of the applicant even if the spouse is not named on the deed and will not be filing for the exemption)

Portability Law

Florida’s portability law allows property owners to transfer their “Save our Homes” benefit earned on a previous homestead property and apply it to their new homestead property ( The “Save our Homes” was amended to Florida’s Constitution in 1995 to limit the annual increase in the assessed value of a property with homestead exemption). In short this simply means if you held a homestead exemption on a previous property within the last 2 tax years anywhere in the state of Florida and are applying for a new homestead exemption all the savings you earned on the previous home will transfer over to your new home once you complete the application for your new primary residence.

** Keep in mind Homestead Exemption is not transferrable; but you can move your savings with the portability law  by filing a new homestead exemption once you have surrendered the exemption on your previous home by notify the property appraiser’s office.

Changes that Cause Ineligibility

Once your homestead exemption application has been granted there are a few things you will need to keep and to follow up on for the future years that you hold the exemption on the property in order to ensure you continue to receive benefits. Each year a receipt will be mailed to you in the early part of January to verify the status of ownership and to ensure that the use of the property has not changed.

If you do not receive this renewal receipt by March 1st it is extremely imperative that you contact the County Appraiser office immediately. Failure to do so can cause you the loss of the Homestead Exemption for that year.

Penalties

You are required by Florida Law to inform the County Appraisers office of any changes that may affect your eligibility for homestead exemption. Strong penalties going as far back as 10 years can be imposed plus 50% penalties along with 15% interest on those that do not inform the Property Appraisers office to remove an exemption from a property that no longer qualifies.

Here are a few examples of properties that no longer qualify for Homestead Exemption:

  • If you have rented out your property
  • If you have been receiving a widow’s or widower’s exemption and remarry you would no longer be entitled to that exemption.
  • If the Homestead owners dies and the property continues to claim the exemption in future years in the deceased name.
  • You change your voters registration and driver license to another residence.
  • If your married spouse is simultaneously claiming homestead on any other property anywhere else in the world.

Looking to buy a home or in the market to sell your home call us today at (954) 303-3032 to speak to one of our experiences agents or Click Here to visit our website.