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What is Homestead Exemption?
In Florida, the Homestead Exemption is a constitutional benefit that provides property tax savings to homeowners who establish their property as their permanent residence. The Homestead Exemption offers several benefits to eligible homeowners:
1. Property Tax Reduction: The Homestead Exemption allows homeowners to exempt a portion of their property's assessed value from property taxes, resulting in lower tax obligations.
2. Assessment Cap: Florida law limits the annual increase in assessed value for homesteaded properties, known as the "Save Our Homes" assessment cap. The assessed value can only increase by a maximum of 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower, providing additional tax savings over time.
3. Asset Protection: The Homestead Exemption provides limited protection against creditors by exempting the property from certain types of liens and judgments. This protection varies depending on the circumstances and amounts involved.
4. Widow/Widower Exemption: Florida offers an additional benefit for qualifying widows/widowers who are 65 years or older. They may be eligible for additional property tax savings on their homesteaded property.
To qualify for the Homestead Exemption in Florida, certain requirements must be met:
1. Ownership: The applicant must be the legal owner of the property and have legal or beneficial title to it as of January 1st of the tax year.
2. Permanent Residence: The property must be the applicant's primary residence or "permanent home" as of January 1st. Proof of residency, such as utility bills or voter registration, may be required.
3. Florida Residency: The applicant must be a legal resident of Florida and provide evidence of Florida residency, such as a Florida driver's license or voter registration.
4. Filing Deadline: The application for the Homestead Exemption must be filed with the county property appraiser's office between January 1st and March 1st of the tax year for which the exemption is sought. Late filing may result in a delay in receiving the exemption.
It's important to note that the Homestead Exemption is not automatically applied. Homeowners need to apply for the exemption with their local county property appraiser's office to receive the benefits.
The deadline to apply for the Homestead Exemption in Florida is March 1st of each year. The application must be submitted to the county property appraiser's office by this date to qualify for the exemption for that tax year. It's important to note that late applications may not be accepted, and the exemption will be delayed until the following year. Therefore, homeowners should ensure they submit their Homestead Exemption application within the specified deadline to take advantage of the benefits for the current tax year.
Check out your county's online application to file!