You may have heard that property taxes in some parts of Florida are high.
Well, that may be true in some areas but it's not always the case.
The state of Florida does provide some much-needed tax relief in the form of homestead exemptions.
$50,000 Homestead Exemption
Florida’s constitution provides homeowners the right to receive a homestead exemption provided they meet certain residency requirements. Every person who has “legal or equitable title (you own it) to real property (your home) in the State of Florida and who resides on the property on January 1, and in good faith makes it his or her permanent home is eligible for a homestead exemption.” This exemption reduces your “just value” by $50,000, which could save you around $1,000 on your property tax bill, depending on what the millage rate is for your area. For this example I assumed a 2% tax rate (20 mils).
HOWEVER, the second $25,000 of this $50,000 exemption does not apply to school taxes (which equate to about a third of most tax bills). Therefore, the actual benefit from this is closer to $15,000 (for a total benefit of $40,000….$25,000 + $15,000). The tax savings from a $40,000 exemption where this tax rate is 2% would be $800. Still not a bad chunk of change.
You have to make application with your county property appraiser’s office for homestead exemption between January 1 of the previous year and March 1 of the year you want the exemption. For example, for the 2022 tax year, you would have been able to apply for homestead exemption from January 1, 2021 to March 1, 2022.
When filing your homestead exemption for the first time, you will be asked to provide evidence that you are a legal resident, such as a voter registration card or a Florida driver’s license. Most counties have automatic renewal programs so there is no need to reapply each year as long as you are in the same home. If you move, however, you will need to reapply.
If you are a part-time resident using your home in Florida as a vacation home or second home, you will not be eligible for this exemption.
Other Possible Exemptions
In addition to the $50,000 Homestead Exemption, there are other exemptions available that could possibly reduce your tax bill.
Additional Homestead Exemption for Persons 65 and Older of up to $25,000
This exemption is available on a county-by-county basis, and not all counties offer it.
$500 Widow’s and Widower’s Exemption
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
$500 Disability Exemption
Any Florida resident who is totally and permanently disabled may claim this exemption with proper documentation of the disability.
$5,000 Disability Exemption for Ex -Service Members
An ex-service member who is disabled at least 10 percent in war or another service-related incident might be entitled to this exemption.
Exemption for Deployed Military
A member or former member of any branch of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard may receive an exemption on this year’s tax bill if he or she receives a homestead exemption, was deployed during the last calendar year outside the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii in support of a designated operation (each year the Florida legislature designates operations for this exemption), and submits an application, Form DR-501M, to the property appraiser.
The percent of the taxable value that is exempt for the current year is determined by the percent of time during the last year when the service member was deployed on a designated operation.
$500 Exemption for Blind Persons
In order to claim this exemption, you must have a certificate of blindness issued by the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education, the Federal Social Security Administration, or the Veteran’s Administration.
These exemptions can be combined with each other. Certain other rules and restrictions apply to the above exemptions. You should contact the local property appraiser’s office for more information on the county in which you are interested.