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What is Homestead Exemption and How Can You Benefit?

Homestead exemption is a powerful tool aimed at reducing the tax burden on Florida homeowners. With the Florida homestead exemption, you can reduce the taxable value of your home by up to $50,000. It is offered based on your home’s assessed value and provides exemption within a certain value limit.

Not everyone is eligible to the homestead exemption, however. To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You must be the property owner.

  2. The property you are trying to claim the exemption for is your permanent residence.

  3. The property you want to claim is the permanent residence of someone you can claim as a dependent on your taxes.

  4. You have lived at the property on January 1st of the tax year you are trying to claim exemption. This means that if you hope to claim exemption for 2022, you must have lived at the property on January 1st, 2022. Otherwise, you would not be eligible until the following year, given you meet all other requirements.

  5. You have not rented out the property for more than 30 days in a given calendar year. This is because renting the property for more than 30 days for two consecutive years or for more than 6 months is considered abandonment of the Florida homestead exemption.

In order to receive the homestead exemption on your Florida taxes, you have to fill out an application form and demonstrate proof of residence by March 1st of the year for which you wish to qualify. Therefore, if you lived in your home after January 1st, 2021, you must file by March 1st, 2022 to receive the benefits for this year.

Applications can be found online or in-person at your local county property appraiser’s office. When you fill out the application, you must submit document(s) to prove your proof of residence in Florida and for the address you are applying for. These documents could include:

  • A Florida driver’s license or state ID

  • A Florida vehicle registration number

  • A Florida voter’s ID

  • Immigration documents, if not a U.S. citizen

  • Proof of previous residency in a place other than Florida, plus proof that that residency has ended

  • Evidence that you’ve given up a driver’s license from another state

  • Declaration of domicile and residency in Florida

  • The name of your current employer

  • School addresses of any dependent children you have

  • A bank account statement, plus a mailing address for a checking account

  • Proof of payment of utilities at the homestead address

One nice feature of the Florida homestead exemption is that once you have it, it is automatically renewed every year by the state. Each year, sometime after January 1st, after the year you are approved, the state will mail you an exemption renewal. On the flip side, however, it is your responsibility to contact the state when you are no longer eligible for the exemption. You are no longer eligible if one of the following becomes true:

  1. The home is no longer your primary residence or the residence of someone you claim as a dependent on your taxes.

  2. You rent the property for more than 30 days per year.

  3. The home has changed ownership, either because of a sale, divorce, marriage, death, or another life event.

If you do not contact the state when you become ineligible, you will be subject to a tax lien, which comes with both financial interest and penalties.

For more information on Florida Homestead Exemption, visit your local county property appraiser’s website, or feel free to reach out to one of our team members. And don’t forget: if you bought a home in 2021, apply by March 1st to be eligible for tax benefits for this year!

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