Homestead Exemption Filing Deadline is March 1, 2016
All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence. While a complicated formula is used to explain this — as the additional $25,000 only applies to the non-schools portion of your tax bill — the bottom line is that the basic homestead exemption can save a Florida homeowner in 2015 anywhere from $641.73 to $1,077.67 (depending upon your city’s millage rate) in annual tax savings for all homes with a value of $75,000 or higher.
You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined.
In some Florida Counties, you may be able to file for Homestead ONLINE. Check with your county’s property appraiser office for more information about how to file.
The timely filing period for Homestead Exemption for 2016 is March 3, 2015 through March 1, 2016. The absolute deadline to LATE FILE for any 2016 exemption — if you miss the March 1 timely filing deadline — is September 19, 2016. State law (Sec. 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadline.
What You Need When Filing for Homestead
When filing an application you must bring the following items listed below. To claim 100% coverage, all owners occupying the property as Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person on jointly held property. In the case of a married couple (“Tenants by the Entirety”) or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship (“JTRS”), any one owner may qualify for 100% coverage — although it is always highly advisable to have all eligible owner-occupants to file.
1. Proof of Ownership: In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. In most counties, you may not need to bring a copy of the deed or co-op lease if the document has already been recorded in the Official Records. If the PROPERTY IS HELD IN A TRUST, THE COUNTY MAY ALSO REQUIRE EITHER A NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OF TRUST OR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT. Note: Most taxpayers prefer to use the simple Certificate of Trust form, instead of submitting the entire trust for our review, as it better protects the privacy of your estate planning and other financial matters.
2. Proof of Permanent Florida Residence — preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing — is established in the form of:
A. FOR ALL APPLICANTS: Florida’s Driver’s License (or — for non-drivers only — a Florida I.D. Card) is REQUIRED. Note: You must surrender to DMV any out-of-state regular driver’s license. You MUST also have either of the following:
1. Florida Voter’s Registration; or
2. Recorded Declaration of Domicile.
B. FOR NON-US CITIZENS, you MUST have the items listed above AND proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other “PRUCOL” status); OR proof you are the parent of a US-born (US Citizen) minor child who resides with you.
3. If you or your married spouse have a Homestead Exemption in any other county, state or country (or an equivalent permanent residency-based exemption or tax credit, such as New York’s “S.T.A.R.” exemption) on another property you also currently own, you will NOT be eligible for a homestead in any Florida county until after you surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction. (Note: If you know of someone with a Homestead Exemption in a Florida county who also maintains an exemption on another property elsewhere, please report this information to our Fraud Investigations Section at 954.357.6900.)
The State-approved application form requests certain information for all owners living on the premises and filing:
• Current employers of all owners
• Addresses listed on last I.R.S. income tax returns.
• Date of each owner’s permanent Florida residence.
• Date of occupancy for each property owner.
• Social Security numbers of all owners filing.
• Social Security number of any married spouse of the applicant, even if the spouse is not named in the deed and is not filing).
Note: The amount of the homestead exemption protection granted to an owner residing on a particular property is to be applied against the amount of that person’s interest in the property. This provision is limited in that the proportional amount of the homestead exemption allowed any person shall not exceed the proportionate assessed valuation based on the interest owned by the person. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000, with the residing owner’s interest in the property being $20,000, then $20,000 of the homestead exemption is all that can be applied to that property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full exemption.