Available Exemptions

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION INFORMATION

Download the Declaration of Domicile Form. Other Forms available on Forms Download page.

What is the Homestead Exemption? A homestead exemption reduces the taxable value of the property that you use as your permanent residence by an amount up to $50,000. This represents a substantial savings on the taxes levied against your property by the various taxing authorities.

Who May File. Every person who has legal or equitable title to real property in Florida and who has recorded the title instrument in the public records of the county where application is made. The applicant must reside on the property as of January 1st and must in good faith, make it their permanent residence to be eligible. For example, if you were residing in your permanent residence on January 1, 2014, then you are eligible for a 2014 homestead exemption.

When to File. Exemption applications must be made between January 1st and March 1st for the tax year eligible. For example, if you are living in your permanent home on January 1st, 2014 then you have until the close of business of March 1, 2014 to file your homestead exemption for that year. Failure to make application by March 1 of the tax year shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year. Homestead exemption applications may be filed after March 1, but the exemption will be applied in the next tax year. For example, if you move into your permanent home on April 1, 2014 you may file for your 2015 exemption anytime from April 2, 2014 through March 1, 2015.

Where to Apply.
Bay County Florida Property Appraiser's Office
Dan Sowell - Bay County Appraiser

860 W. 11th St.
Panama City, FL 32401
Office: (850) 248-8401
Fax: (850) 248-8447
Hours: 8AM-5PM CST Monday-Friday

First Time Applicants. You may print and complete the homestead exemption application at the ''Forms'' section of this web site and either mail in the application with all supporting documentation or bring your information to the Bay County Property Appraiser's Office. Only one signature is required for joint owners who are married with the same last name; however, all documentation listed below must be provided. All signatures are necessary if owners who occupy the home have different last names.

The Following Information Is Required. 1. Recorded Warranty Deed or last tax bill.
2. Florida Driver License reflecting current residential address: all joint owners who reside on the property need Florida Driver Licenses. (Valid in Florida Only licenses are NOT sufficient).
3. Florida Vehicle Registrations reflecting current residential address. All vehicles owned by the applicants must have resident Florida registrations. This also applies to military personnel. Leased vehicles and nonresident registrations CAN NOT be accepted.
4. Social Security Numbers. Social Security numbers are required for all owners listed on the deed.
5. Declaration of Domicile or Florida Voter Registration Card reflecting current residential address. If an owner does not have a car registered in their name, one of these documents will be required as proof of residency.

Renewal. The Property Appraisers Office will mail you a renewal card each year in January. Please read the instructions carefully and be sure to comply with deadlines.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If I buy a property, which currently has a homestead exemption, do I get the benefit of that exemption for the remainder of the year?

How does the amendment limitation apply?

What about any changes, additions or improvements to the homestead property?

If I buy a new home, may I transfer my homestead exemption?

Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?

What if the property is in a trust?

Can I get a homestead exemption on a mobile home?

If I buy a property, which currently has a homestead exemption, do I get the benefit of that exemption for the remainder of the year?
If the seller had homestead exemption, the buyer may have the advantage of the seller's homestead exemption for the remainder of the sale year. However, the ''carried over'' homestead exemption will be removed as of December 31st of the sale year. The new owner must apply by the deadline for homestead exemption in their name for the following year. For example, if you purchase a homesteaded home in June of 2014, you will get the benefit of the previous owner's homestead exemption until December 31, 2014. For 2015, you must file an original homestead exemption application by March 1, 2015.

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How does the amendment limitation apply?
Real property shall be assessed at full market value (just value) as of January 1 of the year in which the property first receives the homestead exemption. The following year the property is reassessed and any changes from the prior year's assessed value is not to exceed the lesser of 3% of that prior year assessed value or the Consumer Price Index percentage change, (except capital improvements, additions or improvements). For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2014, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2015. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.

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What about any changes, additions or improvements to the homestead property?
New construction or additions shall be assessed at full market value as of the first January 1 after the changes are substantially completed. In these circumstances, it is possible that the assessed value may exceed the amendment limitations. However; after the first year that the changes are assessed at full market value, they are also subject to the amendment limitations. : For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2014, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2014. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.

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If I buy a new home, may I transfer my homestead exemption?
If you currently have a homestead exemption and purchased a new home in the same county, you must come into the office to do a transfer. A deed to the new property and a former tax bill or homestead card from the old property will be required. Additional documents will be required if the named property owners differ from one property's title to the other. Please call for details for your specific case.

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Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?
Citizenship is not a requirement to file for homestead exemption. However, an applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must prove that they have permanent residency status when they apply. Please bring your INS issued permanent residency photo ID card when filing a homestead application.

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What if the property is in a trust?
The applicant must furnish this office with a copy of the trust agreement. Florida law specifies those situations under which the resident may obtain homestead exemption. The Florida Constitution requires that the homestead claimant have legal title or beneficial title in equity to the property.

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Can I get a homestead exemption on a mobile home?
Yes, if you possess a mobile home Real Property (RP) decal and own the land. When applying, you must bring in the title or registration to the mobile home.

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Military Homestead Exemptions

Active-duty military members may retain their homestead exemption when stationed out of the area on official PCS orders. Applicants must meet homestead eligibility, maintain Florida residency, maintain a valid Florida driver license, and the homestead must have been in place before leaving the area.

The homestead must be renewed annually. Our office will mail you the appropriate forms to the latest address that we have on record.
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Senior Exemption
Who may Apply? Florida residents who have a homestead exemption may qualify for an additional $50,000 of homestead exemption if they meet the following criteria:
1. Been approved for the $50,000 homestead exemption.
2. Be at least 65 years of age as of January the 1st of the year they want to file.
3. Have a total household adjusted gross income that does not exceed the limit announced by the State of Florida each January. NOTE: Household income could not have exceeded $27,994 for 2013.

Household. A ''Household'' is a person or group of persons living together in a room or groups of rooms as a housing unit but does not include those person(s) boarding in or renting a portion of the dwelling.

Household Adjusted Gross Income. The sum of income for all members of the household. For the purposes of applying for this exemption, it is the adjusted gross income figure that is calculated and reported on the Federal Income Tax return of all household members.

Where to Apply.
Property Appraiser’s Office, 860 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401

You must apply in person. Bring with you proof of your age, and copies of any federal income tax returns, and any wage and earning documents for each member of the household.
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Widow/Widower Exemption

$500 Widow Exemption. Any widow who is a permanent Florida resident may claim this exemption. If the widow remarries, she is no longer eligible. If the husband and wife were divorced before his death, the woman is not considered a widow. You will be required to produce a death certificate when filing for the first time. You must file your application in person at the Property Appraiser's Office.

$500 Widower Exemption. Any widower who is a permanent Florida resident may claim this exemption. If the widower remarries he is no longer eligible. If a husband and wife were divorced before her death, the man is not considered a widower. You will be required to produce a death certificate when filing the first time. You must file your application in person at the Property Appraiser's Office.

Where to Apply.
Property Appraiser’s Office, 860 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401
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Non Service Connected Total & Permanent Exemption

1. Quadriplegic. Any real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes by any quadriplegic shall be exempt from taxation. There is no income stipulation with this exemption.

2. Other Categories. Any real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes, by a paraplegic, hemiplegic, or other totally and permanently disabled person, as defined in section 196.012 (11), Florida statutes, who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind, shall be exempt from taxation.

Persons entitled to the exemption under 2. above, must be a permanent resident of the State of Florida as of January 1st of the year of application. If filing for the first time, you must meet income eligibility requirements and present completed Department of Revenue forms from two (2) Florida physicians (See the ''Forms'' section of this website). The doctors must be from two different offices. Total household income must not exceed the limit announced by the State of Florida each January. Note: Household income could not have exceeded $27,289 for 2013. An income verification form must be filled out and notarized. Yearly income verification is required. You must file your application in person at the Property Appraiser's Office.
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Non Service-Connected Disability Exemption

1. $500 Disability Exemption. Applicants must submit a statement a statement of disability from one licensed, Florida physician on the state required form. See the ''Forms'' section of this website. You must file your application in person at the Property Appraiser's Office.

2. $500 Blind Exemption. Every Florida resident who is blind qualifies for this exemption. To claim this exemption you must bring in either:
a. A certificate from the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or
b. A form from one Florida physician certifying the applicant to be blind. See the ''Forms'' section of this website. ''Blind person'' is defined as an individual having central visual acuity 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or a disqualifying field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter or visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.

Where to Apply. Property Appraiser’s Office, 860 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401
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Veterans Disability Exemption

$5000 Veterans Disability Exemption. Any Florida resident who is an honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected disability, less than total and permanent, is entitled to this exemption. If filing for the first time, present a certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This certificate must prove your disability compensation of 10 percent to 90 percent related to wartime or service-connected disability. You must file your application in person at the Property Appraiser's Office.

Total and Permanent Service-Connected Disability. Any honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected total and permanent disability, surviving spouses of qualifying veterans and spouses of Florida resident veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces are entitled to exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes. Persons entitled to this exemption must have been a permanent resident of the state as of January 1st of the year of application.

Under certain circumstances, the benefit of the exemption can carry over to the veteran's spouse in the event of the veteran's death. Contact us for details. If filing for the first time, please bring a certificate from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs as your proof of a service-connected disability or death of your spouse while on active duty. You must file your application in person at the Property Appraiser's Office.

Where to Apply. Property Appraiser’s Office, 860 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401
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NEW PROPERTY TAX BENEFITS FOR 2007

Increased Homestead Exemption
(Amendment #6 was voted on and passed 11/07/2006)

This amendment is an extension of the current Senior Citizens Homestead. The taxing authorities now have the option of increasing the current $25,000 exemption to $50,000.

Please contact your taxing authority for further information.

New Disabled Veteran’s Exemption
(Amendment #7 was voted on and passed 11/07/2006)

This benefit provides a percentage discount in property taxes equal to the percentage of a veteran's partial or total permanent combat related disability. For instance, a veteran who qualifies and has a 50% COMBAT RELATED disability would receive a 50% reduction in property taxes.

You may qualify if you can answer YES to ALL of the questions below:
  • Do you currently receive a Homestead Exemption?
  • Were you at least 65 years of age on January 1st?
  • Do you have a partial or total permanent COMBAT RELATED disability?
  • Were you honorably discharged upon separation from military service?

If you answered yes to all of the above, you must apply on or before March 1st and supply:
  • A copy of your most current rating decision from the VA, including evidence that your disability is combat related, AND
  • A copy of your DD-214

If you do not have your DD-214, please contact the Bay County Veteran's Service Office at 248-8280 for assistance in obtaining a duplicate copy. If you are unable to provide a DD-214, you must supply the following:
  • A copy of your most current rating decision from the VA 
  • Evidence that your disability is combat related, AND
  • Proof of your date of birth

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