Florida provides broad protection for homeowners via its homestead exemption laws. There are three general types of homestead exemptions under Florida law:
- Exemption from forced sale before and at death to meet the demands
- of creditors;
- Protection for spouses against the sale of the homestead without their joinder and protection for spouses and minor children against the devise of the homestead upon death in a will; and
- The homestead tax exemption.
This post focuses on the basic tax exemption aspect of Florida’s homestead law. If you have a permanent residence in Florida, you are likely entitled to the homestead property tax exemption. Your permanent residence is considered to be where you reside 6 months or more out of the year and you can only have ONE Homestead residence.
The real estate taxes that you pay annually are based on your county’s “assessed value” of your property and the homestead property tax exemption operates by reducing this assessed value. Currently eligible homeowners may receive a reduction of up to $50,000.00 off the assessed value of their homestead! Be cautious, however; you must take the necessary steps to classify your property as your homestead prior to March 1st of the year in which you will be taxed. You must also own the property on January 1st of that year. Do not assume your closing agent does this for you if you purchase a new residence.
Contact your local County Property Appraiser for more information on how to apply for homestead designation. Manatee County residents can follow this link for a 2018 homestead exemption packet:
This article presents only the most basic information concerning the tax exemption, but there are many aspects and benefits concerning Florida’s homestead protection. For more information, contact our office.
By: T.R. Smith, Esq.