What Is the Florida Homestead Exemption?

The Florida Homestead Exemption is a property tax break that can potentially reduce the taxable value of your property by as much as $50,000.

Nick Dauk
Written byNick Dauk
Nick Dauk
Nick Dauk
  • 6+ years writing about insurance, travel, and personal finances

  • Contributor to brands like Credible

In addition to insurance, Nick specializes in writing about business, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and travel. He’s been featured in myriad web publications, including Fox Business.

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Chris Schafer
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Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

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Updated November 27, 2023 at 11:00 AM PST

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If you’re a Florida homeowner who permanently resides on your property, you should be aware of the Florida Homestead Exemption. This property tax exemption can potentially decrease the taxable value of your home by as much as $50,000.[1]

You may also qualify if you own the home and your dependent lives on the property.

But before filing out a homestead exemption application, you must remember two things: First, not all Florida residential property owners are eligible for this exemption. Second, this exemption is divided between all property taxes and non-school taxes.

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How does the Florida Homestead Exemption work?

The Florida Homestead Exemption can reduce your property tax burden by as much as $50,000 in taxable value. But how this $50,000 is applied is specific.

Initially, you’ll receive a $25,000 exemption on the first $50,000 of the assessed value of your property. This applies to all property taxes, including school district taxes.

The remaining $25,000 is an additional exemption that applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000. This $25,000 doesn’t get applied to all property taxes like the initial $25,000 does. Instead, it’s exempt from non-school taxes.

For example, imagine your home is valued at $75,000. The first $25,000 would be exempt from all property taxes, the next $25,000 would be taxed normally, and the final $25,000 is exempt from non-school district taxes.

Property taxes on Florida homes can increase the cost of homeownership significantly, especially when you consider the rising cost of homeowners insurance. The approximate home value in Florida is almost $400,000, according to Zillow.[2] If you use a house of that assessed value as an example, the homeowner would be eligible for a $50,000 homestead exemption. This would then lower the assessed value of their property taxes to $350,000.

Important Information

The Florida Homestead Exemption only works on real property, which, according to Florida statutes includes all land, buildings, fixtures, and improvements upon the land.[3] This means you can’t just own the improvements on the land — you must own the physical land itself to qualify.

In addition, you must reside on the property as your permanent home. This means vacation homes and rental properties aren’t eligible for the homestead property tax exemption.

How much can you save with the Florida Homestead Exemption?

The Florida Homestead Exemption can range in potential savings depending on the assessed value of your home and the property tax rate in your county. For instance, the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser reports that homeowners in that county could save approximately $800 in taxes through the use of the exemption.[4]

Save Our Homes (SOH) cap

As property taxes fluctuate due to annual reassessment from property appraisers, there’s potential for the assessed value of the home and the just value of the home to be unbalanced.

The Save Our Homes (SOH) assessment limitation cap is designed to prevent homeowners from having their taxes assessed at a substantially higher or lower level due to these incongruent values.

The SOH benefit is the accumulated difference between the house’s full market value and its assessed value, but the SOH benefit only kicks in when the homeowner is in their second year of homestead exemption.

No matter how much the value of the home increases or decreases in a particular year, the assessed value can’t exceed a certain limit: either the percent change in the Consumer Price Index or 3% of the previous year’s assessment, whichever is lower.

Only residential properties in the state of Florida that have an existing homestead exemption qualify for the Save Our Homes assessment cap.[5] The cap can be transferred to spouses, including a surviving spouse, and when the same homeowner is eligible for the homestead exemption before and after the transfer.

Unfortunately, a general change of ownership, including sale, foreclosure, and title change, as well as the loss of a homestead exemption, will make the property lose its SOH benefit.

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Eligibility requirements for the Florida Homestead Exemption

To be eligible for a Florida homestead tax exemption, whether it’s your first time filling out an original application or you’re trying to get a new homestead exemption for the latest house you’ve purchased, you must:

  • Legally hold the title of the home from January 1 of the year you’re applying for the exemption

  • Be a permanent resident on the property as of January 1 of the year that you’re applying for the exemption

  • Be prepared to show information of proof of Florida residency, like a Florida driver’s license, and proof that you’re a U.S. citizen

Not all legal Florida residents qualify for a homestead exemption. For instance, just because you’ve received the state’s homestead exemption in a previous year doesn’t mean you’ll qualify in consecutive years. While you won’t need to reapply with a new application form each year, you’ll need to alert the county that you no longer qualify for a renewal.

You might not qualify for Florida homestead exemption if:

  • You don’t own the property your home is built or parked on.

  • You don’t consider the home your primary residence.

  • You rent out your home for a certain number of days per year.

  • You purchased the property after January 1 of the calendar year in which you’re applying for an exemption.

  • You didn’t live on the property until after January 1 of the calendar year in which you’re applying for an exemption.

  • You missed the deadline to file for an exemption application or you don’t have the following documentation: legal title of the property, proof of Florida residency, or proof of U.S. citizenship.

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How to apply for the Florida Homestead Exemption

Applying for a Florida Homestead Exemption during your first year of eligibility is relatively straightforward.[6] Just follow these three steps:

  1. Gather the necessary documents, including a Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card, Florida car registration, Florida voter’s ID, and either proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration documents. Each of these documents should show the address of the homestead property.

  2. Choose how you want to file for Florida homestead tax exemption. You have three options for filing: e-file online, print and mail the application (Form DR501), or file in person at a county service center.

  3. Submit your filing no later than the March 1 deadline.

You’ll receive information telling you if your application was approved or denied.

If approved, you don’t need to reapply each year; the country will send you notice of renewal when it expires on December 31 of the approved year. However, if you no longer meet the eligibility requirements, you’ll need to inform the county or face a homestead tax lien.

Other Florida property tax breaks to consider

A homestead tax exemption isn’t the only way that Florida residents can save money on their property taxes. There are additional exemptions and tax breaks to consider that are designed for applicants with prior military service, older adults receiving Social Security benefits, and people with disabilities.

These exemptions include:

  • Additional homestead exemption for people age 65 and older: Senior citizens age 65 or older on January 1 can qualify if they meet an adjusted gross income limitation. Those who qualify may receive an additional exemption of up to $50,000.

  • Disabled veterans homestead property tax discount: This is available for all disabled vets with a total and permanent disability. Depending on their disability level, they may receive an extra $5,000 exemption or 100% exemption.

  • Widow/widowers exemption: Widows or widowers must have still been part of a legally married couple at the time of their spouse’s death. They may qualify for a $500 exemption.

  • Disability exemption: Quadriplegic, and income-limited paraplegic, wheelchair-bound, hemiplegic, or legally blind residents may qualify for 100% exemption.

  • Surviving spouses of first responders: According to the Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act, surviving spouses of law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics who died in the line of duty may receive a 100% homestead property exemption.

Florida Homestead Exemption FAQs

Many Florida property owners qualify for the Florida Homestead Exemption, but not all residential real estate owners in the state of Florida do.

Here are answers to important questions about Florida Homestead Exemption eligibility and how this exemption can be transferred from one property to another.

  • When should you file for a Florida Homestead Exemption?

    You should file for a Florida Homestead Exemption as soon as you can, even if that means pre-filing prior to the year you’re eligible for a homestead exemption. Florida law says the homeowner must own and occupy the homestead as of January 1 of the year they’re applying for a homestead exemption.

    The homeowner then has until March 1 of the current tax year to file for homestead exemption. However, depending on the date you mail the Notices of Proposed Property Taxes forms, you have up to 25 additional days beyond March 1 to file.

  • Can you keep your Florida Homestead Exemption if you move?

    No. But some homeowners can effectively “keep” their Florida Homestead Exemption assessment difference if they move via portability.

    People who are moving from a previous homestead in Florida to a new Florida homestead may be able to transfer all or some of their Florida Homestead Exemption assessment difference to their new permanent residence. This transfer is called a port, and to retain the SOH benefit, the homeowner needs to apply for the port with the county property appraiser.

  • Is the Florida Homestead Exemption available for mobile homes?

    The Florida Homestead Exemption is only available for mobile homes that meet certain criteria. Specifically, the homeowner of the mobile home must also own the property it resides on. If the mobile home owner rents or leases the physical property beneath the mobile home, they aren’t eligible for a Florida Homestead Exemption.

  • Who’s eligible for a homestead exemption in Florida?

    To qualify for a homestead exemption in Florida, a homeowner must meet eligibility requirements.

    First, you must legally hold the title of the home, reside on it, and establish it as your legal domicile with the county. This must all be true as of January 1 of the year you file. You must also show proof of U.S. citizenship and Florida residency, as well as provide the Social Security number of any co-owners of the property and the deed, title, address of the property, or tax bill.

    All of this must be filed by March 1 of the tax year you wish to claim a homestead exemption for.

Sources

  1. Florida Department of Revenue. "PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR HOMESTEAD PROPERTY." Accessed November 16, 2023
  2. Zillow. "Florida Home Values." Accessed November 16, 2023
  3. The Florida Senate. "2012 Florida Statutes." Accessed November 16, 2023
  4. Miami-Dade County. "Frequently Asked Questions - Exemptions." Accessed November 16, 2023
  5. City of Jacksonville. "Save Our Homes - Assessment Cap on Homesteaded Property." Accessed November 16, 2023
  6. Palm Beach County Proprietary Appraiser. "THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION." Accessed November 17, 2023
Nick Dauk
Nick Dauk

Nick Dauk is a freelance writer specializing in business, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and travel. His work has been featured in Fox Business, BBC, The Edge, Business Insider, and Bisnow. Nick is a first-generation college graduate, having majored in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Central Florida. His eclectic coursework, combined with previous managerial roles in the retail and broadcast television industries, have helped him develop an interdisciplinary approach to writing.

For nearly a decade, Nick has created content for mom-and-pop businesses and global corporations. As a travel writer, his global adventures have also been featured on Inside Hook, Houston Chronicle, Culture Trip, and Matador. When he's not traveling, Nick can be found in Orlando spending time with his wife and toddler.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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