Frequently Asked Questions




EXEMPTIONS

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1. What is a Homestead Exemption?

There are a number of state and local laws providing exemptions that can result in a lower taxable value on certain properties. The homestead exemption is the most common and can provide up to $50,000 off the assessed value of a property used as the owner's primary residence. This includes an initial $25,000 exemption and an additional exemption (up to $25,000) off the assessed value over $50,000. The additional $25,000 exemption does not apply to the school tax levy, and does not require an application.

Another benefit of the homestead exemption is the establishment of the "Save Our Homes" cap on annual increases in the assessed value. The assessed value of homesteaded property cannot increase more than 3% each year unless there are changes made to the property or the homestead removed.

2. What is the additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption?

As mentioned above, Property Owners who qualify for the $25,000 homestead exemption also qualify for the additional $25,000 exemption. The additional $25,000 exemption applies to properties with assessed values greater than $50,000. For example:

  • If you have a homestead exemption on a parcel that has an assessed value of $67,455 then you would receive a homestead exemption amount of $25,000 and an additional homestead exemption amount of $17,455.
  • If you have a homestead exemption on a parcel that has an assessed value of $204,429 then you would receive a homestead exemption amount of $25,000 and an additional homestead exemption amount of $25,000.
  • If you have a homestead exemption on a parcel that has an assessed value of $44,885 then you would receive a homestead exemption amount of $25,000 and the additional homestead exemption would not apply.

3. Can I receive a homestead exemption on a mobile home?

Yes, if you own both the land and the mobile home and they are titled identically. You must declare your mobile home to be a permanent structure, and you make a one-time purchase of an RP tag for your home. Once you meet these requirements, your home will be included on the real estate tax roll and no further license tag fee will be required.

4. Do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?

You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1:

  • You have legal title to the home (If filing for a Trust, provide a copy of the Trust document);
  • You have established Monroe County as your legal domicile;
  • You reside on the property; and
  • You are a US Citizen or Permanent Resident.

5. What documents do I need to apply?

Each applicant may consider bringing the following documents/information to establish ownership and residency in Monroe County.
a. Deed as recorded in the Official Records of Monroe County.
b. Florida driver's license or Identification Card reflecting the property address.
c. Vehicle registration reflecting the property address.
d. Social Security Number.
e. You will need to supply proof that you or your spouse are not receiving any residency based exemptions on any other properties owned.
f. Address of any co-owner(s) not residing on the property.
g. Mobile home owners must bring the title(s) or registration(s) for the mobile home and deed to the real estate.
h. Voter Registration Card or Declaration of Domicile. If in possession of a U.S. Permanent Resident Alien Card, you must also file a Declaration of Domicile.
(** Note: These documents must be dated prior to January 1 of the year in which you plan to file.)

We will also need the address on your last income tax return; the name of your current employer; the date of each owner's permanent Florida residence; the date of occupancy, and information about exemptions filed last year.

In some circumstances, we may also request:

a. Proof of payment for utilities at the property.
b. Name and address of banking institutions.
c. Evidence of the location where your dependent children are registered for school.

6. Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?

Citizenship is not required to file for homestead exemption. An applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must present a Permanent Resident Card when they apply.

7. What is the deadline to file for exemptions?

All exemption and classification applications are due by March 1st for the following Tax Roll year. Applications received after the deadline will be considered as "pre-files" for the subsequent Tax Roll Year.

8. Where do I apply?

You can apply at any of our three offices. Since original signatures are required, we cannot accept faxed or e-mailed applications.

9. Do I need to re-apply for my Homestead Exemption every year?

If there is NO change of residency or ownership on the property which is currently receiving exemptions, this office will automatically renew the exemptions for the upcoming year. However, the homeowner has a responsibility under the law to notify the Property Appraiser if the ownership status of the property has changed or if it is no longer the permanent residence of the owner.

10. Can I rent my home and still keep the homestead exemption on it?

Generally, No Florida Statute 196.061 states the rental of all or substantially all of a dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes shall constitute the abandonment of such dwelling as a homestead, and the abandonment continues until the dwelling is physically occupied by the owner. However, such abandonment of the homestead after January 1 of any year does not affect the homestead exemption for tax purposes for that particular year unless the property is rented for more than 30 days per calendar year for 2 consecutive years.

This section does not apply to a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose service is the result of a mandatory obligation imposed by the federal Selective Service Act or who volunteers for service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States. Moreover, valid military orders transferring such member are sufficient to maintain permanent residence for the purpose of s. 196.015 for the member and his or her spouse.

11. Will I lose my homestead exemption and Save Our Homes assessment limitation if:

I put my home in a life estate for me with a remainder to my children?
No. Both your Homestead Exemption and any existing Save Our Home value will remain intact if you transfer a future interest to your children and retain a life estate for yourself. Please note that upon your death, any exemptions you may have obtained will expire and the property will be reassessed the following year. Any persons as remainder heirs would need to apply for and qualify for a new homestead exemption in order to receive the benefit of the exemption

I put my home in a trust?
No. Both your Homestead Exemption and any existing Save Our Home value will remain intact if, after placing the property in a trust, you are entitled to the use and occupancy of such property under the terms of the trust.

Once your property is placed in a trust, please submit to the Property Appraiser's Office a copy of the trust so that we may ensure you remain qualified to receive the benefit of the Homestead Exemption. (Ref. 196.041, F.S.)

I give title to my spouse?
No. Both your Homestead Exemption and any existing Save Our Home value will remain intact if title is changed or transferred between you and your spouse, including a change or transfer to a surviving spouse or a transfer due to a dissolution of marriage.

I add someone to the title on my property?
No. Both your Homestead Exemption and any existing Save Our Home value will remain intact as long as you remain on title and the person who is added to title does not apply for a Homestead Exemption.

12. What happens if I make improvements to my home?

Additions or improvements are valued at market value as of the first of January after the changes, additions, or improvements are substantially completed. In future years, annual increases will be capped as part of the "Save Our Homes" law.

13. What are the qualifications for the Senior Exemption?

  • Applicant must have homestead exemption
  • Be 65 or older as of January 1
  • And the Adjusted Gross Income for all persons living in the house (even those not an owner) must be less than statutory limits
Applications DR-501SC are due by March 1st.

**SEE THE TAB ON THE SENIOR EXEMPTION FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION.

14. What are the qualifications for the widow/widower exemption?

  • Any widow/widower who is a permanent Florida resident may claim this exemption.
  • The widow or widower must be an un-remarried spouse as of January 1.
  • This exemption does not require the applicant to have a homestead exemption.
To claim the widow/widower exemption you must file a DR-501 application by March 1st.

15. What are the qualifications for a veteran disability exemption?

There are three types of veteran disability exemptions available:

• $5,000 veteran disability exemption
• Have a homestead exemption
• Have a 'service connected disability' of at least 10% (VA Letter 27-125)
• Total & Permanent veteran disability exemption
• Have homestead exemption
• Have a 'Total & Permanent Service Connected Disability' (VA Letter 27-333)
• Combat disabled veterans oHave homestead exemption
• Have a Combat related disability
• Be 65 or older as of January 1

16. What are the qualifications for the $500 civilian disability exemption?

  • Every Florida resident who is permanently disabled is eligible for this exemption.
  • This exemption does not require the applicant to have a homestead exemption.
To apply, the applicant must complete the DR-501 form and one of the following doctor certificates completed by a Florida physician:

17. What are the qualifications for the $500 blind disability exemption?

• Every Florida resident who is blind may qualify for this exemption.

• The legal blindness standard is:
"Central vision 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 twenty degrees."

• This condition needs to be certified by a physician licensed to practice in Florida.

• This exemption does not require the applicant to have a homestead exemption.
To apply, the applicant must complete the DR-501 form and one of the following doctor certificates completed by a Florida physician:

18. What are the qualifications for the Civilian Total & Permanent Disability Exemption (paraplegic, hemiplegic, permanently confined to a wheelchair for mobility)?

A Florida resident who has been certified by two Florida licensed physicians, as being paraplegic, hemiplegic, legally blind or who uses a wheelchair for mobility, can qualify to have his/her homesteaded residence exempted from ad valorem taxes.

Applicants for the Civilian Total and Permanent Disability Exemption must meet income guidelines. The gross income of all the persons residing in the home in the year prior to application must not exceed statutory limits. These income limits are outlined in the law.

To apply, the applicant must complete the DR-501 and two Florida physicians who are not professionally affiliated, must complete one of the following certificates:

19. Can I file a late application for Homestead and other exemptions?

You can file a late property tax exemption application starting after the March deadline until the expiration on your August Notice. You must also file a petition and pay $15 to the Value Adjustment Board.

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