New Homeowner? Time to Get Your Homestead

Homestead Tax ExemptionFlorida provides a generous property tax benefit to its residents – the homestead tax exemption. There are two significant benefits provided by this exemption:

  1. an annual reduction in ad valorem property taxes assessed on the homestead residence; and
  2. a cap on the value of the homestead residence.

The latter is known as the Save Our Homes benefit and usually ends up being significantly more valuable.

The first benefit of the homestead exemption exempts from all taxation, except for assessments for special benefits, up to $25,000 of the assessed valuation of the permanent residence and contiguous real property. Additionally, another exemption of up to $25,000 is provided on value greater than $50,000. This additional exemption does not apply to school taxes.

In order to obtain the exemption, a homeowner must establish that the residence was their permanent residence on January 1 and file an application with their county’s Property Appraiser by March 1. The homeowner will need to provide information and evidence to support their position that they are a Florida resident and the residence was their homestead as of January 1. Such information includes voter and vehicle registration information, a Florida driver’s license, and for non-citizens, a permanent resident card. Some counties, like Martin County, allow online filing. Martin County residents can apply for the exemption by following this link.

The Save Our Homes benefit caps the annual increase in the assessed value of the homestead residence to the lesser of (i) 3% and (ii) the annual change in the Consumer Price Index. This benefit is portable and can be transferred to a new homestead residence acquired during the following two years.

If a homeowner with an existing homestead residence acquires a new homestead residence and wishes to apply their existing Save Our Homes benefit to their new home, the homeowner must complete Form DR-501T and file it by March 1 with their county Property Appraiser. The Martin County Property Appraiser has provided copies of Form DR-501T and the mailing address on her website, which you can access by following this link.

For questions about the homestead exemption and other tax issues, please contact article author and tax attorney Brad Gould.

To read the other articles in the 2019 Treasure Coast Newsletter Issue I, click the following links:
Can I Inherit Debt?” written by Dana Apfelbaum
Five Phases of the Business Litigation Lifecycle” written by Daryl Krauza
Five Tips for Buying Commercial Property for Your Business” written by Lee Dobbins