Florida Statutes define property tax exemptions that are available in the State of Florida. Application for these exemptions must be made between January 1st and March 1st of the year for which you apply. The initial application must be made in person at the Property Appraiser’s office. If you are confined to you home, arrangements can be made to accommodate your particular situation. Failure to apply for any exemption by March 1st constitutes a waiver of the exemption for that year. You as the property owner would then have to wait until the following year to apply. There are provisions within the statutes to allow for a late filing of applications for extenuating circumstances.
After the original application has been filed and approved, most exemptions are renewed automatically by the Property Appraiser. This is based on Florida Statutes and approved by the Board of County Commissioners. This automatic renewal helps to ensure you do not lose your exemption simply because you failed to renew one year. However, there are some exemptions that must be renewed annually by the property owner.
$50,000 HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
A Florida resident who owns a dwelling and makes it his/her permanent legal residence is eligible to apply for homestead exemption. The following requirements are a necessary part of your application for homestead exemption:
1.) You must have legal or equitable title to the real property as of January 1st of the year for which you are applying.
2.) As of January 1st of the year you apply, you must in good faith make the property on which you are applying your permanent legal residence. This also applies to renewals.
3.) You must present Social Security numbers for all owners of the property as part of the application. These numbers are held confidential in our files and are supplied to the Florida Department of Revenue per Florida Statues.
4.) You cannot claim more than one homestead exemption. A husband and wife are considered one entity and therefore are entitled to only one homestead exemption.
Permanent residency is a factual determination made by the Property Appraiser. In making the determination, the following factors are considered:
- Declarations and statements made by the applicant
- Place of employment
- Previous permanent residency and when it was terminated
- Voter’s registration information
- Driver’s license information
- Place of issuance of license tags of vehicles owned by applicant
- Address listed on applicant’s IRS returns
Additional $50,000 Homestead Exemption for Persons 65 and Over.
To qualify for the senior exemption:
- The taxpayer must qualify for and have or file for Homestead Exemption.
- The taxpayer must be 65 years of age or older on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is claimed.
- The total annual household income of the taxpayer does not exceed $20,000. (this income threshold is adjusted annually by the percentage change in the average cost-of-living index).
- The taxpayer must submit a sworn statement of household income to the property appraiser no later than March 1 each year.
The county or municipality adopts an ordinance that allows the additional senior exemption, which applies ONLY to the taxes levied by the unit of government granting the exemption. Each Taxing Authority has until December 1 of each year to adopt the ordinance and notify our office. They can keep or drop the ordinance from year to year and they can also change the amount of the exemption as they see fit. If no changes are made, the Department of Revenue, notifies this office in late January of the tax year, as to what the current rate will be for the cost of living increase this tax year. That rate is then applied against the previous years’ maximum allowable income, to determine income eligibility.
$500 WIDOWS OR WIDOWERS EXEMPTION
Widow and widowers who are permanent residents of Florida and who have not remarried are eligible. If a husband and wife are divorced and one of them dies, the survivor is not eligible. You may be asked to have a death certificate filed for the deceased spouse when you apply.
$500 DISABILITY EXEMPTION
Florida residents with a total and permanent disability or armed service members with at least 10% disability caused by a service-connected disability are eligible. A letter from a Florida physician or a disability award letter from Social Security may be used to verify disability. Veterans may supply a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs as documentation.
$500 EXEMPTION FOR BLIND PERSONS
Florida residents who are blind are eligible. A letter from a Florida physician, the Division of Blind Services, or the Department of Veterans Affairs will serve as documentation that the applicant is blind.
SERVICE-CONNECTED TOTAL AND PERMANENT DISABILITY EXEMPTION
Any honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected total and permanent disability, surviving spouses of qualifying veterans and spouses of Florida resident veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty in the armed forces are eligible. A letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs certifying that the total and permanent disability is service connected is required when the application is made. This exemption is a total exemption from real estate taxes owned and used as a homestead property, less any portion used for commercial purposes. To be eligible you must be a resident of the State of Florida as of January 1st of the year for which you apply for the exemption. The disability exemption may carry over to the veteran’s spouse when they die. You should talk with the Property Appraiser to make this determination.
EXEMPTION FOR TOTAL AND PERMANENT DISABILITY
A.) Any real estate owned and used as a homestead by any quadriplegic, less any portion used for commercial purposes shall be exempt from taxation.
B.) Any real estate owned and used as a homestead, less an portion used for commercial purposes, by a paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person, as defined in Florida Statute 196.012(11), Florida Statutes, who must use a wheelchair for mobility or is legally blind, shall be exempt from taxation. To be entitled to the total exemption you must:
- Be a permanent resident of the State of Florida as of January 1st of the year in which you apply for the exemption.
- The prior year’s gross income for all persons residing in or upon the homestead shall not exceed the amount of income as set forth and adjusted in Section 196.101(4)(a)(b), Florida Statutes. Gross income shall include Veteran’s Affairs benefits and any Social Security being paid to the persons residing on the property. A statement of gross income must accompany your application.
- Requires certification from 2 Florida physicians or from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
RELIGIOUS, CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL EXEMPTIONS
Real estate owned by certain religious, charitable or educational entities that are used for religious, charitable or educational purposes is exempt from property taxation. An exemption must be applied for through the Property Appraiser’s office. The exemption is not automatic. Contact the office for further information.