Updated June 4, 2021
Reading time: 7 minutes
Have you recently moved to Florida? Or have you been living in the Sunshine State for a while? You should make sure you’re not paying more than you have to on property taxes. Property taxes can be a significant financial burden. And you could be overpaying without even knowing it. Follow along for the most popular tax exemptions for property owners in the state of Florida. You’ll learn how you can save on your tax bill.
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If you are a Florida homeowner, you know that your property and land are subject to property taxes. For taxpayers, there are some ways to get a tax discount:
In the state of Florida, your property tax is calculated by multiplying your home’s taxable value by the tax rate. Your real estate tax bill is combined with ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments. Your tax bill will likely be for ad valorem taxes, the assessed value of your property. But sometimes, you will be charged for non-ad valorem assessments. A non-ad valorem assessment is a special assessment for benefiting your property like landscaping, trash, and security. Basically, it’s the things that weren’t included in the pricing of your home. Your ad-valorem taxes are paid for the prior calendar year of January 1 to December 31. Non-ad valorem assessment charges in Florida are usually collected beginning November 1 of each year. To calculate taxes, the county property appraiser will report your home’s worth. Or they’ll take the assessed value of your home, which is the market value.
You will then pay taxes on the taxable value, which is a portion of your home’s assessed value. Your home’s assessed value may be $213,000. But the tax assessor will decide the taxable value, which can be lower than the assessed value. Let’s say the tax appraiser chooses to place a taxable value of $200,000 on your home. If the county tax rate is one percent, you will owe $2,000 in property taxes.
Now, let’s say you appeal the $200,000, claiming it’s not worth as much. You might be able to convince the state to reduce the taxable value. If you convince them the taxable value is $150,000, you will only owe $1,500 in property taxes.
It’s pretty standard for tax appraisers to misjudge the value of a home. The taxable value they choose may be significantly higher than comparable homes in your neighborhood. If that’s the case, it may be wise to pursue an appeal. You can find guidance if you seek an appeal by checking out the Florida Department of Revenue website.
Are you at least 65 years of age? Have you been a permanent resident of Florida and in your home for at least 25 years? You could get a 100 percent exemption. Under Florida Statute 196.075, you could claim this exemption if your home is worth less than $250,000. Note that this exemption varies depending on the county or city you live in. Also, your household income must be below a specific limit to qualify.
You may have to construct living quarters for a senior parent or grandparent at least 62 years of age. Does the person continuously live in your home? You can submit an annual application to exempt the added value of your home from property taxes. Similarly, you could have 20 percent taken off the total, or whichever is less, under Florida Statute 197.703.
Are you an armed forces service member, And were you deployed during the tax year? Depending on the number of days deployed, you could qualify for an additional exemption for deployed service members. You can find this exemption under Florida Statute 196.173.
Are you the surviving spouse of a military service member killed during active duty or from service-connected causes? Widows and widowers can claim this exemption under Florida Statute 196.081. You must have a letter from the United States government. Or you can provide a letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (or any predecessor issuer) to apply.
There’s an additional exemption if you were married to a first responder killed in the line of duty under Florida Statute 196.081.
Are you over the age of 65 and a disabled person with a permanent disability wholly or partially combat-related? You could qualify under Florida Statute 196.082.
You may qualify for other disability exemptions. Under Florida law, you may have eligibility if you are totally or permanently disabled or blind or if you need a wheelchair for mobility. You are likely eligible if you are a permanent homeowner and paraplegic, hemiplegic, or quadriplegic. See Florida Statute 196.101 for more information.
Possibly the most common Florida property tax exemption is the homestead property tax exemption. When you own a Florida property and make it your permanent residence, you may be entitled to receive a homestead exemption of up to $50,000. Half of the homestead exemption (up to $25,000) applies to all property taxes, even school district taxes. The additional amount (up to $25,000) applies to the assessed value of your home (between $50,000 and $75,000) and non-school taxes. You can find the Florida homestead property tax exemption in section 196.031 of the Florida Statutes.
To be eligible for the Florida homestead exemption, you must meet the following criteria:
The property you’re claiming the exemption on must be your permanent residence or the permanent residence of a dependent on your taxes.
You need to have lived at the property on January 1 of the tax year. So, if you’re filing 2020 taxes, you must have lived on the property on January 1 , 2020.
Have you rented the property for more than 30 days in a calendar year? Renting your property for more than 30 days for two years consecutively or more than six months is deemed abandonment. You are not applicable if you have done so.
Whether completing the form online or in person, you will have to provide proof of residence in Florida. And you must give the address you are claiming an exemption for. Here are some documents that will work:
your Florida driver’s license or state ID
Florida vehicle registration number
a Florida voter ID
immigration documents if not a U.S. citizen
proof of the previous residency of a place other than Florida and proof that residency has ended
a declaration of domicile and proof of residency in Florida
the name of your current employer
a bank statement with a mailing address for the checking account
proof of utility payment at the homestead address
When you fill out your homestead exemption application, you may have to answer the following for qualifying:
The name or names on the title on January 1
Your Social Security number as well as your spouse’s Social Security number
Whether you or your dependent were living on the property on January 1
Whether you claim to be a permanent resident in any other county or state
There’s an assessment cap on homestead properties called “ Save Our Homes.” Save Our Homes is an amendment to the Florida constitution that limits the annual increase of the assessed values of homestead properties to three percent. Or it could include the change in the national Consumer Price Index (CPI). The limit is dependent on which amount is less.
When Florida homeowners want to transfer all or a portion of their Save Our Homes cap to a new homestead property, known as portability, there are statutory restrictions and limitations, like the Florida statutes. It’s important to review all the above and referenced statutory restrictions and Florida statute limitations before you complete your Homestead Exemption application. Then, after your Homestead Exemption application is complete, review options for portability and apply.
You can apply for a $500 widow or widower exemption. You must be a permanent Florida resident and must have been married to the deceased at the time of death. A person who is divorced or who remarries is not eligible for the exemption. You must provide a copy of the death certificate from the Social Security Administration. You can also provide an obituary for eligibility.
Are you a qualified first-time homebuyer? You can claim 50 percent of your paid mortgage interest (a cap of $2,000) in the form of a tax credit every year you live in your home. The Florida Housing Loan Program designed to free up more income to put toward mortgage payments and other home expenses.
According to Florida Statute 196.011(9)(b), the property owner must notify the property appraiser whenever the use of the property, the status, or the condition of the owner changes. It would help if you did this so the exempt status of the property can change.
Florida Statute 196.131(5) does not allow a property owner or their legal dependents to receive a tax exemption in Florida when taking up permanent residency of real property in another state and claiming the benefit of an ad valorem tax exemption or tax credit.
Under Florida Administrative Code 12D-7.007(3), a person in the United States on a temporary visa cannot meet the requirement of a permanent residence or primary residence and, therefore, cannot claim a homestead exemption.
Longtime limited-income seniors 65 years or older with a permanent Florida residence of over 25 years may get a 100 percent exemption. For more information to see if you qualify, see Florida Statute 196.075.
It depends on your criteria. You can reduce up to $50,000 on your home’s taxable value with a Florida homestead exemption. This exemption is only applicable to property taxes, including school district–related taxes.
To calculate Florida property taxes, take your property’s assessed value on January 1 minus any exemptions and other adjustments. That is the taxable value. Next, multiply the county tax rate by the taxable value of your home.
There are quite a few property tax exemptions available in Florida. Which exemptions fit your background? Once you figure that out, all you have to do is apply for the proper Florida tax exemptions.
Stephanie Shaykin is a seasoned writer and marketing professional with experience in real estate. With a true passion for brand storytelling and SEO, she breaks down the most complex copy into a pleasant experience for the reader. In her spare time, she enjoys creating art and cooking in her home base of Chicago, Illinois.Learn More