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How to File for Homestead Exemption in Florida

If you own a home in Florida, you most likely have to pay property taxes every year. But what if there was a way to decrease the amount of those property taxes? Thankfully there is – the Homestead Exemption.

What is Homestead Exemption and how is it calculated?

How to check if your property already has Homestead Exemption

How to file for Homestead Exemption

Ways you can lose Homestead Exemption

Links to Central Florida Property Appraiser websites

What is Homestead Exemption, and why does it matter?

If you own a property in Florida, and it’s your primary residence (or the primary residence of your dependent), you might be able to apply for and get a homestead exemption on that property – decreasing the taxable value of the property up to $50,000. For instance, if you own a property in Lake County FL you can save $750 a year on average.

Filing deadlines for Homestead Exemption are March 1 every year, so depending on when you’re reading this, you may still have time to apply for this tax year!

How is the Homestead Exemption amount calculated?

The first $25,000 goes toward all property taxes (including your school district taxes). The next $25,000 goes toward any value assessed between $50,000-$75,000 and applies to non-school taxes.

Here are some examples provided by the Florida Department of Revenue:

  1. If the assessed value of the property is $45,000, then the first $25,000 is exempt from all property taxes. This means only $20,000 is taxed.
  2. If the property’s assessed value is $65,000, the first $25,000 is exempt from all property taxes. Then, the next $25,000 is taxable. The last $15,000 is exempt from all non-school taxes.
  3. If a property’s value is assessed at $85,000, the first $25,000 is exempt from property taxes. The next $25,000 is taxable. The third $25,000 is exempt from only non-school taxes. Then the last $10,000 is taxable.

How to check if your property already has Homestead Exemption

If you think you’ve filed for Homestead Exemption (or any other exemptions) for your property in the past, or can’t remember if you did, visit your county tax appraiser’s website and look for a property search tool. Otherwise, you may need to call or visit the appraiser’s office to verify.

Exemptions are automatically renewed every year so you shouldn’t need to re-apply. If you applied for exemption(s) at one property and have since moved to a different one, you’ll need to apply for those exemption(s) again since they don’t automatically transfer

How to see if a property has Homestead Exemption in Lake County FL

Let’s use Lake County’s website as an example

Visit the Lake County Property Appraiser website’s Property Search tool page.

Input a search term into one of the fields – this can be your name, address, Parcel ID, etc – and hit search. The page should update with search results below the search form. Click on the correct result (or search again).

After clicking on a result, you’ll be taken to Property Record Card. Scroll down to the section “Exemptions information”. This is where you can see what, if any, exemptions currently apply to the property. Directly below this section you can also see the dollar amount in tax savings thanks to those exemptions.

Below is a screenshot of an example of exemptions applied to a property and the tax dollars saved:

The example above shows that the property has Homestead Exemption on the first $25,000 (meaning no property taxes paid on the first $25,000), plus the additional Homestead Exemptions (meaning no non-school property taxes paid on the $25,000 assessed value between $50,000-$75,000), resulting in a tax savings of $524.36.

How to file for Homestead Exemption

Filing for Homestead Exemption in Florida may vary by county, so check with your local county tax appraiser for specific documents and information needed and how to apply.

Below is what’s needed to apply for Homestead Exemption in Lake County FL since that’s where we primarily help clients buy and sell homes:

  1. Determine eligibility.

    You must be a permanent resident of Florida, living on the property as your primary residence as of January 1st. The deadline to apply for exemption is March 1st for the year you want to qualify.

  2. Gather documents and information.

    When applying, you may be asked for these documents or information from these documents:
    1. Florida Drivers License(s)/ID cards: ID number and issue date. The ID must also have your permanent residence address ( the property you’re applying for exemption).
    2. Vehicle registration(s): Tag number and issue date. Must have permanent residence address.
    3. Voter registration(s): ID number and issue date. Must have permanent residence address.
    4. Permanent Resident Alien Card(s) (if applicable): ID number and expiration date. A legible copy will need to be submitted.
    Other information you may be asked for:
    Date of birth
    Social Security Number
    Date of permanent Florida residence
    Date of occupancy
    Date of property purchase
    Mailing address listed on last IRS tax return
    Address of previous residence
    Address of other property owned (if applicable)
    Telephone number

    IF you’re married AND your spouse is NOT filing for homestead exemption, you may be asked for the following information:
    Spouse’s name
    Primary residence address for spouse
    Spouse’s Social Security Number
    Spouse’s Date of birth
    Does spouse receive any resident-based benefit (such as but not limited to, credits, exemptions, rebates, rollbacks, discounts, STARS, etc)? If so, at what property address?

  3. Complete and submit application.

    In Lake County FL, you can file online, by mail, or in person.
    To file for Lake County FL Homestead Exemption online, click here.
    To file for Lake County FL Homestead Exemption by mail, click here to download and print the application.
    To file for Lake County FL Homestead Exemption in person, you may need to make an appointment at their office in Tavares.

Ways you can lose Homestead Exemption

Most importantly, once you get a homestead exemption you should make sure you don’t lose it! According to the Lake County Property Appraiser’s website, Florida law requires property appraisers to take action in particular situations, leading to loss, revocation, or forfeiture of your Homestead Exemption:

  1. If you claim permanent residency, or if your dependents claim permanent residency, on another Florida property or in another state or U.S. Territory, you could lose it.
  2. If you move, you must apply for exemptions on that new home. It doesn’t automatically transfer. If there was already exemption(s) on the property, they don’t transfer to you.
  3. If you change your mailing address and don’t notify the property appraiser, you could lose the exemption.
  4. If you rent out your homestead property, you may lose the exemption and get a large tax lien on the property.
  5. If you record a deed that changes the property ownership (adding a name, placing it in a trust/life estate, etc). You may need to re-apply for exemption.
  6. If you’re an heir to a property and it’s your permanent residence, you’ll need to apply since the exemption belonged to the previous owners.
  7. If you prepare, sign, date, and notarize a deed with the intent to deed the home to adult children, but don’t immediately record it (having it recording after your death), a large tax lien could be placed on the property.
  8. If you receive a letter/questionnaire from the Property Appraiser that needs a reply and fail to reply, you could lose the exemption.

Apply for Homestead Exemption today

Taking a few minutes to apply for Homestead Exemption could save you hundreds of dollars a year. First, gather up your documents and relevant information. Then, visit your county tax appraiser’s website to learn how to apply in your county before March 1. You may be able to submit your application online right now or place your completed application in your mailbox and be done.

To help you, we’ve put together a list of links below to some local county Property Appraiser’s websites. Each website will tell you which documents and information you’ll need to apply for Homestead Exemption, how to file, or to see what (if any) exemptions your property already has.

As a reminder, Homestead Exemption filing deadlines are March 1 of each year.

Brevard County Property Appraiser

Hernando County Property Appraiser

Lake County Property Appraiser

Marion County Property Appraiser

Orange County Property Appraiser

Osceola County Property Appraiser

Polk County Property Appraiser

Seminole County Property Appraiser

Sumter County Property Appraiser

Volusia County Property Appraiser

Have questions about Homestead Exemption?

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