The deadline for filing for the Florida Homestead Tax Exemption is March 1, 2020. If you purchased a new primary residence in 2019, don’t assume the closing agent or the bank will file your Homestead Exemption application form. You are responsible for doing it if you want the exemption!
If you don’t know what the Homestead Exemption is, here is an explanation: If you have a primary residence in Florida, you are likely entitled to Florida’s Homestead Property Tax Exemption. Your primary residence is where you reside at least 6 months out of the year; but, you can only have one homestead residence.
The real estate taxes that you pay annually are based on the county’s “assessed value” of your property and the Homestead Exemption operates by reducing this assessed value. A reduced assessed value means less taxes. Eligible homeowners may receive a reduction of up to $50,000.00 from the assessed value of their homestead! There are additional exemptions that may also apply, including exemptions for certain disabilities, widows and widowers, and low-income seniors. However, you must take the necessary steps to classify your property as your homestead and apply for any additional exemptions prior to March 1st of the year in which you will be taxed. You must also own the property on January 1st of the year in which you are applying.
You only need to apply for your homestead exemption once. If you have already applied for the exemption on your property, you do not need to apply again; However, if you purchased a new primary residence last year, you must reapply for homestead this year on the new property.
Contact your County Property Appraiser for information on how to apply for the homestead designation. Manatee County residents can follow this link to submit their 2020 homestead application online: https://ofa.manateepao.com/ApplyOnline/WebForm1.aspx
In addition, don’t miss out on portability! You may also be entitled to transfer your homestead accumulated savings from your former residence to your new residence. This is known as “portability”. Merely applying for the Homestead Exemption doesn’t get you this extra savings benefit; an additional form needs to be filed. Here is a link with more information on portability: https://www.manateepao.com/faqs/portability-of-save-our-homes/.
For more information about Florida’s Homestead Property Tax Exemption and portability, don’t hesitate to contact our office.
By: T.R. Smith, Esq.