Did you buy a home in 2020? Did your Realtor remind you or explain to you about the value of filing for Florida Homestead exemption?
We at All Florida Home Team are always trying to find ways to help our clients save money and if you are like the majority of all people…who doesn’t want to save $$$$? Especially when it comes to taxes.
It is possible you can reduce the value of your Florida home assessment by as much as $50,000. Wow! That could be a huge savings, do you agree? This is where you nod yes…tell me more 😊.
The first $50,000 of your assessed value of your property (your primary residence) up to $25,000 will be exempted by the tax appraiser. This covers ALL your property taxes which includes your school district which is important for many homeowners especially those who have children in the public school system.
If your home’s assessed value is between $50,000 to $75,000 (not sure we can find any home at this price in South Florida) then your property will be eligible for another $25,000 exemption, but it won’t cover school taxes.
Let me give you a couple examples so this makes a little more sense to understand
Let’s say you have a home and its value is $49,000 (really where can you find a home this cheap…please tell me) The property appraisers assessed value of the first $25,000 would be exempt and you won’t pay taxes on this, but the remaining $24,000 you would get taxed on this amount.
What about a home that is assessed under $100,000. The first $25,000 is completely exempt from your taxes, the next $25,000 you are going to be fully taxed-bummer, and the third $25,000 you will be exempted everything, but your school district taxes and then the last remaining amount you would be taxed.
ARE THERE OTHER WAYS FOR FLORIDA HOMEOWNERS TO SAVE ON PROPERTY TAXES?
Yes, depending upon your life’s situation it is possible you can qualify for even more ways to save $$$.
We see, especially in South Florida, many senior citizens having to move into their children’s home so that someone can watch over them in their maturing years. Many families if they don’t have enough room in their home, they will try to add on to their existing home and build what we refer to as a in-law’s quarters. Believe it or not, the addition can reduce the value of your property. Really? Yes. You have to apply or reapply every year for this exemption but its worth it for many.
Another way to save money for senior citizens and their exemptions. Of course this goes county by county so you must check with your local board, but anyone over the age of 65 who has lived in Florida for a continuous time of 25 years or longer with a certain income (we don’t have this information handy) limit you could get some added relief. Any home value under $250,000, meeting the above criteria you could qualify to save 100%. WOW! Definitely worth checking into.
Service members or disabled veterans also may qualify for additional benefits. I am all for this one.
Along the same route a surviving spouse of first responders may also get some tax relief.
TELL ME MORE. WHO CAN APPLY FOR FLORIDA HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION?
The guidelines are pretty simple and straightforward…
- The property must be your primary residence.
- You must have lived at the property on January 1st of the tax year. So if you want to apply and claim Homestead exemption on your primary home for 2020, you must have lived in the home since January 1, 2019
- Last thing you might want to know…if for any reason you find you have to rent your home to someone for more than 30 days in the year you are claiming Homestead exemption you won’t be approved.
- We aren’t lawyers or CPAs so we always suggest contacting an attorney or the person who prepares your taxes for any legal questions you might have .
READY TO APPLY FOR FLORIDA HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION?
It’s not difficult to apply, just need some paperwork with a little information to submit for approval.
You will be asked to fill out an application form (DR-501). You have until March 1st to submit paperwork to qualify for the year you want to receive the exemption. So if you want your 2020 taxes to reflect the homestead exemption you must submit your paperwork by March 1st.
- Once you get the form online you fill out the state form right then and there which is easy for all you tech savvy homeowners.
- Or print the form out, fill it in and mail it to your County’s property appraiser’s office. This always makes me a little nervous putting important papers in the mail…I would send it maybe priority mail so someone has to sign for the envelope.
- Or visit your local property appraiser’s office and fill out the paperwork in person.
WHAT SHOULD YOU TAKE OR HAVE PREPARED TO SUBMIT WHEN APPLYING FOR FLORIDA HOMESTEAD?
There are many documents that you can use to prove you live at your primary residence. Here are just a few examples..
- Always number one and two I believe are your Florida Driver’s license (make sure it is current with your new address or your Florida Voter’s Registration ID
- Name of your current employer with their information
- If you have school aged children, the addresses of the schools they attend
- Bank statements or utility bills with the primary address on them
- If you aren’t a US citizen, your immigration documents
- If you lived in another state and have proof that you no longer reside in that State
These are just a few examples. I am sure there could be more that would be acceptable.
LAST THING I WANT TO MENTION…THIS IS AN ADDED BONUS FOR THOSE OF US WHO FORGET THINGS FROM TIME TO TIME
You don’t have to apply for exemption every year; it just continues automatically by the State. You should receive sometime in January if all things are running smoothly an exemption renewal form by the State. So easy.
But if something has changed since you first applied for Florida Homestead you will probably lose your exemption..
- The home is no longer your primary residence
- A life changing event occurred (divorce, marriage, death, you won the lottery) and you no longer own the property
- You won the lottery 😄😂 and you rented your home out for more than 30 days
If any of these events happen make sure you contact the state as soon as possible to alert them.
We at All Florida Home Team hope you have found this to be valuable information. Of course we are always available to answer any questions you might have. Our number is 786-344-8004.