Don’t Forget to File for the Florida Homestead Tax Exemption

The statutory deadline for 2024 to file was March 1, 2024.

Failure to timely file constitutes a waiver of your entitlement to the tax savings for the year.

Homeowners in Florida may be entitled to a substantial tax benefit known as the Florida Homestead Tax Exemption, which is a two-pronged benefit in the form of:

  1. An exemption of up to $50,000.00 off the taxable value of the homestead property, and
  2. A 3% annual limit on any increase to the assessed value of the homestead property for tax purposes (known as the “Save Our Homes” cap).

If you recently purchased your residence, and if you are eligible to claim the homestead exemption, you will need to apply for the homestead exemption after your purchase. And because the exemption is granted to the owner and not to the property, even if your seller enjoyed a homestead tax exemption on the property for the year in which you purchased the property from them, you will still have to apply for the exemption after you become the owner.

If you fail to timely file for the exemption, you waive your entitlement to the exemption for the year

Interestingly, Florida law does allow for late filing in very rare circumstances “on or before the 25th day following the mailing by the property appraiser of the notices required under s. 194.011(1),” which is the statutory Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, also known as the “TRIM” (Truth in Millage) Notice. Although, in practice and anecdotally, it is the firm’s experience that most property appraiser’s offices do not allow late filings.

Per the statute, a person filing for homestead late would need to demonstrate to the property appraiser that the applicant was unable to apply for the exemption in a timely manner or otherwise demonstrate extenuating circumstances to warrant granting the exemption, but it is solely up to the property appraiser on whether or not the applicant has sufficiently established this and whether or not to grant the late-filed exemption. Therefore, it is always advisable to file prior to the March 1 deadline so that the granting of the exemption is not left up to the property appraiser’s discretion.

Thankfully, many county property appraiser offices provide an online application process, and this includes the property appraiser offices in both Manatee and Sarasota Counties. This is good news for clients and customers of Battaglia Law, PLLC, as many of the properties that the firm performs real estate closing services for are located in either Sarasota or Manatee County.

Click here for the Manatee County Property Appraiser online homestead exemption application

Click here for the Sarasota County Property Appraiser online homestead exemption application

Below is some helpful information provided by the Florida Department of Revenue regarding what you might expect during the application process:

If you are filing for the first time, be prepared to answer these questions:
  • Whose name or names were on the title on January 1?
  • What is your social security number and your spouse’s social security number?
  • Were you or your dependent living in the dwelling on January 1?
  • Do you claim residency in another county or state?
Your property appraiser may ask for any of the following items to prove your residency:
  • Proof of previous residency outside Florida and date ended
  • Florida driver license or identification card number
  • Evidence of giving up driver license from another state
  • Florida vehicle license plate number
  • Florida voter registration number (if US citizen)
  • Declaration of domicile and residency date
  • Name of current employer
  • Address listed on your last IRS return
  • Dependent children’s school location(s)
  • Bank statement and checking account mailing address
  • Proof of payment of utilities at homestead address

Married couples filing for homestead exemption might be required to complete the application during the same application session. If you are married AND your spouse is NOT filing for homestead exemption, you might be asked to provide the following information:

  • Name of spouse
  • Spouse’s Social Security Number
  • Spouse’s Date of birth
  • Spouse’s Florida Driver License or Florida Identification Card number (if applicable)
  • Spouse’s primary residence address & residency-based exemptions/discount information

The above may not be an exhaustive list so you should always check with the property appraiser office in the county where your property is located for the specific requirements and procedures for the application process. All of the information here, and should be considered helpful in general information only, and not legal advice. Finally, and most importantly, do not wait until the last minute, or you run the risk of missing the deadline and having to wait until next year to apply.

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