We’ve covered the appeal of Florida’s low tax rates on this blog before. One of the biggest tax breaks available to residential property owners is the homestead exemption. This exemption reduces your property’s assessed value, effectively reducing the amount of property taxes you will have to pay.

An exemption of $25,000 is applied to the first $50,000 of your property’s assessed value. You may also be eligible for an additional $25,000 exemption if your home is valued between at least $50,000 and $75,000. The exemption does not apply to school district taxes.

Who is eligible for the exemption?

To be eligible for the homestead exemption, you must:

  • Claim the property as your permanent residence or as the permanent residence of a dependent
  • You must have lived at the residence as of January 1st of the tax year in which you’re applying for the exemption
  • You cannot rent the property for longer than 30 days in a calendar year

You should discuss any eligibility concerns with a skilled professional.

Applying for the homestead exemption

To receive the homestead exemption, you must complete an application and provide proof of residency. Documents you may use to show proof of residency include:

  • A Florida driver’s license
  • Bank statements
  • Utility bills

You will only need to apply for the exemption once. The state will automatically renew the exemption each year. However, this means it’s your responsibility to inform the state if you are no longer eligible for the exemption. You’re no longer eligible if the home is no longer your primary residence. You will also lose eligibility if you rented out the property for longer than 30 days or the home has changed ownership. If you fail to inform the state, you could find yourself facing a hefty tax lien. A skilled real estate law professional can help answer any questions you may have regarding the homestead exemption.