What is Florida Homestead Exemption?
If you purchased a home in Florida in 2016 to use as your primary residence, then you may now qualify for the Florida Homestead Exemption. Homestead exemption, in simple terms, means that you pay less in property taxes than the actual assessed value of the home you own as long as you live in it. In Florida, everyone that meets the Homestead Exemption requirements is entitled to a $50,000 exemption on your taxes. If you have a house that has an appraisal district tax valuation of $100,000 and you get a $50,000 exemption the property tax you pay is based on a value of $50,000 ($100,000 minus $50,000), effectively lowering the tax owed to the country each year. This exemption can save you quite a bit of money when it comes time to pay your annual taxes, so you don’t want to miss the opportunity to file. Your property tax is determined by multiplying the assessed value of your home by the millage rate for your particular property. If you live in the city limits, your savings would be about $1,000 and if you live in the county (not in the city limits), your savings would be about $750. Another perk is that Homeowners Exemption provides a 3% cap on the amount a property’s assessed value can increase per year. This cap protects homeowners from large tax increases taking place in years when real estate values rise rapidly.
When Should You File for a Florida Homestead Exemption?
Homeowners are entitled to file for a homestead exemption for a home they purchased, moved into, and legally made their permanent residence as of January 1 of this year. Which means if you purchased a home in 2016 and are living there now, you need to file for Florida Homestead Exemption at this time. The application must be completed between January 1st and March 1st or you may lose your rights to the Homestead Exemption for this coming year. Once you have completed the application process, your exemption will automatically renew each year as long as you continue to own and live in the home.
How to File for a Florida Homestead Exemption?
In order to claim the Homestead Tax Exemption, you must complete an application and submit it to your local Property Appraiser’s Office. We have provided links below for local counties so that you can file online.
The following documentation is required for the application process:
- Recorded Deed or Tax Bill
- Florida Driver’s License or Florida Identification Card
- Florida Voter’s Registration Card
- Social Security Number
- Florida Vehicle Registration
Additional documentation that may be required for some applicants are a Resident Alien Card, A Mobile Home Registration or Title, and a Copy of Trust if the property is held in a trust.
Be Aware of Scams!
If you’ve bought a home in the past year, you’ll probably get some mail from companies who will offer to file this paperwork for you and make sure you get your homestead tax exemption. Do not use these companies or send them any money. Filing your homestead tax exemption is free and these companies simply take your forms and drop them off at the appraisal district – something you can do just as easily for the cost that they will charge you. Many of the letters are rather deceiving in the way they’re written, making you think you need to pay their fee in order to receive the exemption. So please, be aware and contact your agent or our office if you need help completing the form.
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