Homeowner's Academy

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What is the Florida Homestead Exemption?

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Jan 10, 2017

What is Florida Homestead ExemptionRecently moved into a new home? You could save hundreds of dollars a year by applying for a Florida homestead exemption! Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What is a Florida Homestead Exemption?

The Florida homestead exemption is a property tax break for eligible homeowners. It can reduce the taxable value on your primary home as much as $50,000, saving you approximately $750 per year.

Additionally, your assessed value cannot increase more than 3 percent annually once you’ve been granted a homestead exemption.

Applying for a Florida Homestead Exemption

A Florida homestead exemption is not automatically granted when you purchase a home. In order to reap the benefits of this valuable tax exemption, you’ll need to submit an application (Form DR-501) to your county property appraiser.

Do I Qualify?

Florida statutes set firm requirements for homestead exemption eligibility. To qualify, you must meet the following requirements as of January 1 of the year in which you are filing:

  • Be a permanent Florida resident
  • Own and occupy the property as your permanent residence
  • Hold title or beneficial interest to the property
  • Be a U.S. citizen or possess a Permanent Residence Card

When Do I File?

Under Florida law, homeowners must file for a homestead exemption by March 1 of the tax year for which the exemption is being requested. For example, in order to receive a 2017 homestead exemption, you would need to file by March 1, 2017.

Note: If you moved into your home after January 1, 2017, you won’t qualify for a 2017 Florida homestead exemption. However, you can go ahead and apply for an exemption to begin in 2018. There’s no need to wait until next year to file.

Do I Need to File Every Year?

Not necessarily. Your Florida homestead exemption automatically renews every year as long as your residency status and the property title stay the same. Florida homeowners are required to inform their local property appraiser of any change in ownership or use of the property. Failure to provide this information may result in a denial of exemptions or a lien on the property.

Where Do I File?

To file for a Florida homestead exemption, you can submit an application to your county property appraiser by mail or in person. While most Florida counties still use paper applications, some larger counties also offer online filing.

What is the Portability Benefit?

Recently moved from one Florida home to another? You may be able to transfer, or “port,” a portion of your Save Our Homes (SOH) assessment difference, which lowers the tax assessment and taxes on your new home. To transfer the SOH benefit, you must file for a homestead exemption on the new home within two years of moving out of your old home.

How Does It Work?

Upsizing

If the market value of your new home is more than the market value of your old one, you will be able to transfer your SOH cap up to a $500,000 limit.

Portability-Upsizing

Downsizing

If the market value of your new home is less than the market value of your old one, you will be able to transfer a percentage of your SOH cap up to the $500,000 limit.

Portability-Downsizing

How Do I Apply?

To apply for the portability benefit, you’ll need to fill out the Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference application (Form DR-501T) in addition to the homestead exemption application. Don’t miss out on savings built up on your old home! Make sure to request portability when applying for your new homestead exemption.

Now that you’re familiar with how the Florida homestead exemption works, you’re ready to get the most value from your home ownership!