What is a homestead exemption?
This can be described as a property tax exemption for your permanent primary residence.
A homestead exemption permits a property owner to exempt a fraction of the value of their home from property tax assessments, it reduces your escrow payment and your overall payment.
A homestead exemption is tied to a specific property, which is the property of the owner. It came about because senior citizens on tight incomes had difficulties paying the property tax. As a matter of fact, in some locations, a homestead exemption completely eliminates taxes for senior citizens.
However, the homestead exemption does not prevent a bank foreclosure if a property owner defaults on their mortgage.
Requirements to be met in order to qualify for the Florida homestead exemption
- You must own and be resident in the property on January 1 of the current year to be eligible to file for the current year.
- The property must be your permanent residence “to the exclusion of others”.
- The deadline for filing is on March 1 of the current year, so you must have applied by March 1 in order to qualify.
Documents required for Florida homestead exemption application
To apply for the Florida homestead exemption you must note that there are a few conditions that must be met before the submission of the documents required.
- Only the persons listed on the application as residing owners with proof of their Florida residency will benefit from the homestead exemption if their application is granted
- Vacation homes, rental properties, and investment properties do not qualify.
- Non-citizens must submit an alien registration card in order to qualify
- You have to live in the property six months and one day per year to qualify.
- Proof of January 1st Ownership
- Proof of Florida residency – it can include one of the following and must be issued prior to January 1.
- A valid Florida license or ID card
- Florida vehicle registration
- Florida voters registration
- Prior year’s IRS return or current W-2 form
- Bank statements and checking account registered at the property
- Proof of payments for utilities at the property
How to file for Florida homestead exemption
- In person – visit one of the service centers
- Online – Complete the online Exemption filling application and make sure to select the state’s e-file option
- Mail – Mail the completed application along with supporting documentation to the property Appraiser’s office
Once you have received the Homestead Exemption, you do not have to re-apply because your Florida homestead exemption automatically renews every year as long as your residency status and the property title stay the same. However, the homeowner has a responsibility under the law to notify the Property Appraiser if there is a change of ownership or property title.