PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION
AND PROPERTY APPRAISER INFORMATION
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IF YOU MISSED THE DEADLINE FOR THE HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION
FILING OF MARCH 1st, OR YOUR APPEAL DEADLINE,
CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY!
FLORIDA LAW, THE FAILURE TO FILE FOR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION BY MARCH 1st
CONSTITUTES A WAIVER OF THE EXEMPTION PRIVILEGE FOR THAT YEAR. IN
ORDER TO RECEIVE APPROVAL FOR THE AD VALOREM TAX EXEMPTION, YOU MUST
RESIDE ON THE PROPERTY BY JANUARY 1st OF THE YEAR IN WHICH YOU APPLY FOR
THE EXEMPTION. IF YOU NEED TO FILE AFTER MARCH 1st,
CONTACT US AND WE CAN
can apply for the Homestead Ad Valorem Tax Exemption using our exclusive
and proven services
can file for Homestead by using our services,
or use county property appraiser's website. You can file by visiting any of their
offices. Contact us and we can help you with the forms, information
and process to file your Homestead Tax Exemption in your county without
hassle or mistakes thereby reducing the chances of denial by the
Let us know if you have any questions.
FOR THE HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION
Florida statutes define "permanent residence" as follows:
"Permanent residence" means that place where a person has his
true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment to which,
whenever absent, he has the intention of returning. A person may have only
one permanent residence at a time; and, once a permanent residence is
established in a foreign state or country, it is presumed to continue
until the person shows a change has occurred. Fla.Stat.Ann. §
The court notes that Florida's definition of "permanent
residence" is virtually the same as the definition of domicile for
federal diversity jurisdiction purposes.
requirements for entitlement to a homestead ad valorem tax exemption
1. As of January 1, the applicant had legal or beneficial (equitable)
title to the real property; and,
2. As of January 1, the applicant made that property his/her permanent
3. If not a U.S. citizen you must provide a copy of a permanent resident
qualify for the permanent resident exemption, persons must complete a form
containing sufficient information to enable the property appraiser to
determine that their permanent residence is in Florida. Fla.Stat.Ann. §
196.121. The criteria listed above are the
only issues to be resolved in determining homestead status. However, there
is an infinite amount of evidence which the Property Appraiser may review.
THE PROPERTY APPRAISER IS PRESUMED TO BE CORRECT IN HIS DECISION. IT IS UP
TO YOU TO PROVIDE PROOF NECESSARY TO BE GRANTED THE EXEMPTION. When
considering permanent residency, the property appraiser's office may consider any of the following relevant
factors (Fla.Stat.Ann. § 196.015):
1. Driver license (NOTE: Individual home owner does not have to be a licensed
driver in order to be entitled to homestead exemption and tax assessor has no
authority to deny the homestead tax exemption merely because claimant is
not such licensed
2. Voter registration (NOTE:
Individual home owner does not have to be a registered voter in order to
be entitled to homestead exemption and tax assessor has no authority to
deny the homestead tax exemption merely because claimant is not such
3. Identification card
4. Sworn affidavit (Note: Contact us on this issue)
5. Income tax return or other official document sent to homestead
6. Florida vehicle tags
7. Other relevant evidence (Note: Contact us on this issue. The term
'Relevant evidence' may be a legal quagmire)
giving of false information for the purpose of claiming the property tax
exemption is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Fla.Stat.Ann. §
196.131(2). FHS will also deny services and we will also file a complaint
against you if you attempt to defraud the property appraiser!
person's domicile is that place where he has his true, fixed and permanent
home and principal establishment, and to which he has the intention of
returning whenever he is absent therefrom." No one factor, not
even place of voting registration, or a declaration of domicile or
residence made for official purposes, is controlling. While statements of
intention carry considerable weight, they will not prevail over contrary
facts evidencing actual intent. Among the influential factors are the
place where civil and political rights are exercised, taxes paid, real and
personal property (such as furniture and automobiles) located, driver's
and other licenses obtained, bank accounts maintained, location of club
and church membership and places of business and employment. Husak v.
WL 13688 (E.D.Pa.)
deadline for homestead application is March 1, to have it apply for that
year. As stated above, you must own and live in the house as of January 1,
to qualify. You may prequalify for homestead year-round for the following
year. Once homestead is granted, it is usually automatically
renewed. Social Security numbers must be furnished on new homestead
applications for them to be deemed complete. This information is
safeguarded as CONFIDENTIAL.
The requirements for a homestead exemption are:
• 1. As of January 1, the applicant must have legal or beneficial
(equitable) title to real property recorded in the residence's County.
• 2. The applicant must be claiming the residence his/her primary
residence as of January 1 of the tax year.
• 3. The applicant must be a legal resident of Florida and US citizen or
be a holder of a Permanent Resident Card issued by INS.
the time of application the applicant should have and may be required to
produce any or all of the following:
• 1. Proof of Florida residency (i.e. Driver license) A "Valid in
Florida" designation on your Florida driver license is not
acceptable. A Florida Identification Card with an out of state driver
license is not acceptable. Also, a Declaration of Domicile will suffice.
• 2. Proof of Citizenship (i.e. voter registration or permanent resident
• 3. Address of property or tax bill or deed/title.
• 4. Social Security numbers for your spouse and any owner who resides
on the property. (Required per FL Stat 196.011(11)
• 5. If you have a mobile home, your will need your title or
registration to the mobile home and the deed to the real estate.
• 6. If the real estate is in a trust, you will need to provide us
evidence of from the Trust which provides that you have the necessary
ownership interest to qualify for homestead exemption. (see sample
verbiage or Fl Stat. 196.014(2))
deadline to apply for homestead exemption is March 1. Applications may be
filed after March 1 through a late filed application appeal process.
Applications can be submitted for the coming year after March 2.
Florida Statute 196.011(9) (a) requires the owner to notify the Property
Appraiser whenever the use of the property or the status or condition of
the owner changes so as to change the exempt status of the property.
Florida Statute 196.031(6) does not permit a property owner or legally or
naturally dependent of the owner to avail themselves of a tax exemption in
Florida and another in any other state.
Florida Administrative Code 12D-7.007
A person in this country under a temporary visa (H-1B) cannot meet the
requirement of permanent residence or home and therefore cannot claim
A married woman and her husband may establish separate permanent
residences without showing "impelling reasons" or "just
ground" for doing so. If it is determined by the property appraiser
that separate residences and separate "family units" have been
established by the husband and wife, and they are otherwise qualified,
each may be granted homestead exemption from ad Valorem taxation under
Article VII, Section 6 1968 State Constitution.
the required statutory wording required to demonstrate ownership interest
when property is in a trust, contact us.
What you need to file for
filing period for Homestead Exemption is:
March 2, of the current year
March 1, of the following year
. There is no cost to
file for Homestead
if you file by the March
1 deadline. You may currently pre-file for the existing year until March 1st, or you must file a
"Good Cause" Petition and an application to late file for the
filing an application you may have to produce the following items listed
herein. See further down on this page (Florida Statute 196.015 --
Permanent residency; factual determination by property appraiser) for
more information. To
claim the Homestead tax Exemption, all owners occupying the property as
Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person
on jointly held property. In the case of a husband/wife ("Tenants by
the Entirety") or "Joint Tenants with Rights of
Survivorship", and one owner may qualify for 100% coverage, although
it is always highly advisable to have all eligible owner-occupants to
file. If you are married and the Deed has different last names for husband
and wife, a marriage certificate must be presented if the deed does not
indicate the two co-owners are "husband and wife."
of Ownership: Recorded Warranty Deed, Co-op Propriety Lease, Notice of
Proposed Taxes or Tax Receipt, if in your names. A deed must be
presented if the property is jointly owned. IF THE PROPERTY IS HELD IN A
TRUST, THE PROPERTY APPRAISER WILL POSSIBLY NEED A COMPLETE COPY OF THE
TRUST AGREEMENT. The Deed and Trust
must have specific wording required by law. Contact us for this required
of Permanent Florida
dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing,
established in the form of:
Declaration of Domicile (Contact us for this form)
Voter's Registration or Recorded Declaration of Domicile (Contact us for
Driver's License or Florida
I.D. Card. Note:
"Valid Only in
driver license is not acceptable.
Citizens must bring proof
of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other "PRUCOL"
status), and Recorded Declaration of Domicile.
you have a Homestead Exemption in any other state or county (or an
equivalent exemption, such as
's "S.T.A.R." exemption) on another property you
also currently own, you will not be eligible for a homestead until you
surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction.
employers of all owners
State-approved application form
requests certain information for all owners living on the premises and
listed on last IRS income tax returns.
of each owner's permanent
of occupancy for each property owner.
security numbers of all owners filing are required.
widowers, permanently disabled persons, and qualified senior citizens on
fixed-incomes are entitled to additional tax-saving exemptions:
Disability Exemption: One letter from a
doctor stating that you
are totally and permanently disabled.
Widows/Widower's Exemption: Spouse's death certificate, newspaper clipping
or memorial card.
$25,000 Senior Citizen Exemption: Filing period is January 1 through March
1 of each year. Applicant must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1
and total household adjusted gross income must not exceed $22,693
(adjusted annually for inflation by the Department of Revenue). This
exemption must be applied for annually.
Veteran's Disability Exemption: A copy of your Certificate of Disability
from the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or
its predecessor agency). The disability must be military service-related
and incurred during a period of wartime service or by misfortune. The
service-related disability must be to a degree of at least 10% before
January 1, of the current
Veteran's Service-Connected Total and Permanent Disability Exemption: A
certificate from the US Government or US Department of Veterans Affairs.
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 as a member of the US Armed forces are entitled to an
exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead.
Disability Exemption for Blind Persons: A certificate from the Division of
Blind Services of the Department of Education or the United States
Department of Veterans Affairs certifying the applicant to be blind is
Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled Persons: A certificate from
two licensed doctors of this state or a certificate from the US Department
of Veterans Affairs. To be entitled to this exemption, you must be a (1)
quadriplegic or (2) paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and
permanently disabled person who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who
is legally blind. For persons entitled to this exemption under number two
(2) above, the prior year (2004) gross income of all persons residing in
or upon the homestead shall not exceed $22,121. This amount is adjusted
annually and a statement of gross income must accompany the application.
Flat" Exemption - Taxpayers who build additions onto an existing home
or perform extensive renovations to provide living quarters for a parent
or grandparent may be entitled to a special exemption equal to the amount
of the new construction (up to 20% of the homestead value). To be
eligible, the property owner must have a Homestead Exemption on the
property where the parent or grandparent quarters are constructed. The
construction or reconstruction must be properly permitted and comply with
all local land development regulations. Copies of all permits, certificate
of occupancy, and plans must be submitted to the Property Appraiser’s
Office. Construction or reconstruction must be substantially complete
January 7, 2003
and before January 1st of
the year in which the reduction is requested. Application must be filed
with the Property Appraiser’s Office annually on or before March 1st of
each year. The occupant(s) of the quarters must be a parent or
grandparent. The occupant(s) must be at least 62 years of age by January
1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) must
permanently reside on the property on or before January 1st. of the year
in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) cannot receive any
benefits requiring a declaration of permanent residency on any other
property in any other County or State.
Property Exemption - Is your property on the National or Florida Registers
of Historic Properties? Then, under certain circumstance, you may be
entitled to some special exemptions related to your assessed value.
Contact us for the application
Exemptions are not transferable
Exemption does not transfer from property to property. If you had the
exemption last year on another property and moved, you must file a new
application for your new residence in addition to a Portability Application. Notify the Property Appraiser to
cancel the exemptions on your former home. Property purchased during last
year may show qualified exemptions of the seller. The sellers' exemptions
will not carry over to this year for a new buyer. The Buyer must apply for the new exemption!
Must Make a Timely First Application
can usually file for Homestead Exemption all year around. There are two
for the next year (for owners who purchased properties after January 1 of
this year): March 2 to December 31.
or Initial Filing Period: January 1 to March 1.
amount of the homestead exemption granted to an owner residing on a
particular property is to be applied against the amount of that person's
interest in the property. This provision is limited in that the
proportional amount of the homestead exemption allowed any person shall
not exceed the proportionate assessed valuation based on the interest
owned by the person. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000,
with the residing owner's interest in the property being $20,000, then
$20,000 of the homestead exemption is all that can be applied to that
property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights
of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full
If you missed the March 1 deadline)
YOU MISS THE MARCH 1st DEADLINE TO FILE FOR A HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX
Don't worry ... because Florida law allows for late filing for the current
Tax Year until September 18th, of the current year. The county property
appraiser's office accepts late Homestead applications and helps taxpayers
prepare the mandatory petitions to the County Value Adjustment Board (VAB)
for all eligible properties. To claim a current Homestead, you must have
purchased, be named on the title, and moved onto the property on or before
January 1st, and meet certain other residency qualifications of having a
Florida driver's license/ID card or a voter card (or recorded Declaration
of Domicile) showing the address.
with Petition - Most county property appraiser's offices accept late
applications. They also
help taxpayers prepare the petitions to the County Value
Adjustment Board (VAB) for all property purchased prior to January 1
and owned and occupied by qualified applicants. For a late application to
be granted for the current year, you must file a petition
with the VAB accompanied by a non-refundable filing fee and
qualify for the exemption. If the application is filed after the September
TRIM Notice deadline,
and you request a "good cause" hearing with the Value Adjustment
Board on or before December 31st, the Value Adjustment Board will hold a
hearing to determine if it will hear your petition.
must show "good cause" why your petition was not filed by the
Good cause may very well be determined by "which side of the
bed" the VAB woke up on that day! Remember, the property tax revenues
are huge sources of income for the county, and automatic denial is almost
guaranteed. The term "Good Cause" is ambiguous at best, but the
term generally means a substantial reason amounting in law to a legal
excuse for failing to perform an act required by law, coupled with legally
sufficient grounds or another really good reason. Good cause also depends
on the circumstances of each individual case and that finding of existence
of good cause for failure to comply with the law lies in the discretion of
the Value Adjustment Board officer (VAB) to which the decision is
committed. It is a relative and highly abstract term.
granted "Good Cause," you must file a petition and pay the
mandated non-refundable filing fee to the VAB; and be heard by a Special
Master for approval or denial. If denied "Good Cause" by the
VAB, you are still entitled by law to appeal to the Circuit Court,
pursuant to Sec. 194.171, Fla. Stat. That is going to be basically a
lawsuit, and cost thousands of dollars in lawyers fees, retainer fees for
lawyers, $250 to $500 per hour and court costs, not to mention loss of the
homestead tax exemption and up to triple the amount of your property
Renewals, and Changes that Cause Ineligibility
your initial application for the Homestead Exemption has been made and the
exemption has been granted, a receipt will be mailed to you each January
1st for verification that the status and condition of the ownership has
not changed in any manner whatsoever.
you do not receive a renewal receipt from the property appraiser by March
1, failure to contact their office could result in the loss of your
Homestead Exemption for the year. A new application is required if your
property has been sold or otherwise disposed of, or the ownership changes
in any manner or when the holder(s) of the Homestead Exemption ceases to
reside on the property as a permanent resident. This annual Homestead
Receipt renewal does not pertain to any of the other exemptions and/or
you no longer qualify: The law requires you to notify the Property
Appraiser's office to remove that exemption by March 1. Strong penalties
-- going back as far as ten years of assessed back taxes (the dreaded
ten year 'claw back'), plus penalties and
interest -- may be imposed on those who do not tell the Property Appraiser
to remove exemptions for which they are no longer qualified. The problem
becomes this; there is no remedy or statutory regulation that allows you
to challenge a ten year claw back! The courts do not have jurisdiction
to entertain a suit for determination of the exemption. For example,
if you have rented out your entire property or a substantial portion
thereof (under most of the
circumstances we've investigated), you would likely forfeit your right to
claim a Homestead Exemption. Or, if you were receiving a widow's or
widower's exemption and remarry, you would no longer be entitled to that
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