Homestead Exemption - Information and FAQ's

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.

What exactly 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 only to the assessed value of the property that is between $50,000 and $75,000.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.
    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.

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.

Do I qualify for the Homestead Exemption?

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

  1. You have legal title to the home;
  2. You have established Monroe County as your legal domicile;
  3. You reside on the property; and
  4. You are a US Citizen or Permanent Resident.

What documents do I need to apply?

Each applicant may consider bringing the following documents/information to establish ownership and residency in Monroe County.

  1. Deed as recorded in the Official Records of Monroe County.
  2. Florida driver’s license or Identifaction Card reflecting the property address.
  3. Vehicle registration reflecting the property address.
  4. Social Security Number.
  5. You will need to supply proof that you or your spouse are not receiving any residency based exemptions on any other properties owned.
  6. Address of any co-owner(s) not residing on the property.
  7. Mobile home owners must bring the title(s) or registration(s) for the mobile home and deed to the real estate.
  8. 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.

  9. (** 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:

  1. Proof of payment for utilities at the property.
  2. Name and address of banking institutions.
  3. Evidence of the location where your dependent children are registered for school.

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

Where and when do I apply?

March 1 is the deadline to apply for a Homestead Exemption for the current tax year. You can apply at any of our three offices. Since original signatures are required, we cannot accept faxed or e-mailed applications.

Property owners who are not eligible for the current year but will be eligible for the following year, may pre-file for the exemption any time after March 1.

Is there any appeal if I miss the deadline for filing?

Yes. You must file an appeal with the Value Adjustment Board and a late application for homestead exemption at the Property Appraiser's office in person*. The deadline for filing is set by law -- on or before the 25th day following the mailing of the notice of proposed property taxes (T.R.I.M. notice). This date usually falls in early September. You may contact our office to confirm the deadline date.

Approval or denial of the late application is determined by the Value Adjustment Board. This panel will hear your reasons for not filing in a timely manner and make a determination whether or not your application can be approved for that tax year.

* There is a filing fee associated with the appeal.

Is renewal automatic?

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.

Do I lose my homestead exemption due to death of a spouse, marriage, or divorce?

Not necessarily, but each case is different. Please contact our office for additional information if one of these events occurs.

What if my property is in a trust?

If the property is held in a Trust, the possessory right in the real property must be in a written instrument granting a beneficial interest for life to the applicant(s). The instrument must reflect the legal description of the property. A copy of your Trust, or a Memorandum of Trust, must be submitted for review.

What if I move? What is “Portability”?

“Portability” allows previously homesteaded property owners in Florida to transfer, or “port,” a portion or all of the “Save Our Homes” benefit from their previous home to a new home. If the new home’s market value on record is higher than the old home’s market value, the owner may transfer the entire “Save our Homes” benefit to the new home. This amount is subtracted from the market value of the new home to create a new assessed value. If the new home has a lower market value than the old home, the property owner may transfer the benefit as a percentage and apply that to the new home’s market value.

You may not port more than $500,000. If you are establishing a new homestead exemption and wish to “port” the SOH benefit from your previous home, you may be eligible for portability if you had a homestead exemption on your previous home in either of the two preceding Tax Roll years. Be aware that this is not two years between sale and purchase dates

What happens if I make improvements or additions?

Additions or improvements are valued at market value as of the first January 1 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.

Can I rent my home?

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.

(2) 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.

You may rent a part of your primary residence, but be sure to recorded it in the property appraisers records. Rented area is excluded from Homestead Exemption and Save Our Home protection.

Is Homestead Exemption removed when the property is sold?

Homestead Exemption stays on the property the year of the sale but is removed the following tax year. The new owner must apply for the exemption no later than March 1 of the next tax year.

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