The Gould Cooksey Fennell Blog

Homestead Exemption Rules in Florida

The homestead exemption is a valuable benefit for homeowners in Florida.

One of the primary benefits of the Florida homestead exemption is the significant reduction in property taxes. The Florida homestead exemption offers a substantial reduction in the taxable value of a homeowner’s primary residence. This reduction can result in considerable annual tax savings (up to $50,000). In addition, the assessed value of your home cannot increase beyond 3% annually.

How Do I Qualify for Florida’s Homestead Exemption?

There are strict requirements to be eligible for a homestead exemption. In order to qualify, you must meet these requirements as of Jan. 1 in the year in which you are filing:

  • Be a permanent resident of Florida.
  • Own and occupy the property as your permanent residence.
  • Hold title or a beneficial interest to the property.
  • Be a citizen of the U.S. or have a Permanent Residency Card.

How to Apply for a Florida Homestead Exemption

As homeowner(s) you may apply anytime throughout the year.  The deadline for applying is March 1st, of the year in which you want to receive the homestead exemption. Although the applicant is given until March 1st to make application, it must be demonstrated that the home was occupied on, or before, January 1 of the year in which you are filing.

If filing for the first time, be prepared to answer questions concerning:

  • The name and address of each owner not residing on the property.
  • The date you last became a permanent resident in the State of Florida.
  • The date you occupied your property as a permanent resident. There is a distinction to be made between permanent residency and occupancy. For example: You may have become a permanent resident in Indian River County prior to actually owning and occupying your home.

You will need to provide the following for all owners applying for the exemption:

  • Florida Driver’s License: You will be asked to produce a regular Florida driver’s license, for you and your spouse, if married. 
  • Vehicle Registration: The Property Appraiser’s staff will make photocopies of your vehicle registration(s).
  • Voter’s Registration: You are not required to be a registered voter. If you are, however, you must be registered in Indian River County.
  • Current Utility Bill: For service in your name prior to January 1.
  • Social Security Number: If you have permanent resident alien status, you will be asked to provide the Property Appraiser’s Office with proof displaying your immigration number.

Who Doesn’t Qualify for a Florida Homestead Exemption? 

Those who are ineligible for a Florida Homestead exemption include corporations, LLCs or partnerships.

Real Estate Law Professionals are Here to Help

If you have questions or need assistance with Florida Homestead matters, talk to a qualified real estate attorney.  Contact us today to speak with experienced real estate attorneys in Vero Beach, FL.


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