Don’t Forget to File for Florida Homestead Tax Exemption

The deadline to file is March 1, 2021. Failure to timely file constitutes a waiver of your entitlement to the tax savings for the year!

Homeowners in Florida may be entitled to a substantial tax benefit known as the Florida Homestead Tax Exemption, which is a two-pronged benefit in the form of:

  1. An exemption of up to $50,000.00 off the taxable value of the homestead property, and
  2. A 3% annual limit on any increase to the assessed value of the homestead property for tax purposes (known as the “Save Our Homes” cap).

If you just purchased your residence in 2020, you will need to apply for the homestead exemption for the first time in 2021. Once in place, you do not need to reapply each year. But, because the exemption is granted to the owner and not to the property, even if your sellers enjoyed a homestead tax exemption on the property in 2020, you will have to apply for the exemption in 2021. If you fail to timely file for the exemption, you are waiving your entitlement to the exemption for the year.

Thankfully, many county property appraiser offices provide an online application process, and this includes the property appraiser offices in both Manatee and Sarasota Counties. This is good news for clients and customers of Battaglia Law, PLLC, as many of the properties that my Lakewood Ranch law firm performs real estate closing services for are located in either Sarasota or Manatee County.

Click here for the Manatee County Property Appraiser online homestead exemption application

Click here for the Sarasota County Property Appraiser online homestead exemption application

Below is some helpful information provided by the Sarasota County Property Appraiser regarding the application process:

The following is a list of the documents that you will be asked to provide information about:

  • Valid Florida Driver License or valid Florida Identification card. Will need to provide ID number and issue date. Must reflect the permanent residence address.
  • Vehicle registration (if vehicle owner). Will need to provide tag number and issue date. Must reflect the permanent residence address.
  • Voter registration (if registered voter). Will need to provide ID number and issue date. Must reflect the permanent residence address.
  • Permanent Resident Alien Card (if applicable). Will need to provide ID number and issue date. A legible copy will be required to be submitted as part of the exemption application.

The following is a list of information you will be asked to provide as part of your exemption application:

  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number (if you are married, you will also be required to provide your spouse’s SSN)
  • Date you purchased the property
  • Date you occupied the property
  • Address of previous residence
  • Address of other property owned
  • Telephone number
  • Employment information (if applicable)
  • Mailing address listed in last IRS tax return

Married couples filing for homestead exemption must complete the application during the same application session. If you are married AND your spouse is NOT filing for homestead exemption, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Name of spouse
  • Spouse’s Social Security Number
  • Spouse’s Date of birth
  • Spouse’s Florida Driver License or Florida Identification Card number (if applicable)
  • Spouse’s primary residence address & residency-based exemptions/discount information

The above is certainly not an exhaustive list, which means you should always check with the property appraiser office in the county where your property is located for the specific requirements and procedures for the application process. And, most importantly, do not wait until the last minute, or you run the risk of not timely submitting your application and having to wait until the next year to apply.