Do you own a home, condominium, co-op apartment or even mobile home in Florida? There’s a chance that you qualify for the Florida Homestead Exemption, a piece of tax relief that was worth anywhere between $625 and $1,050 is this correct? for residents of Broward County during 2016. How do you qualify for this great benefit? If you’re a homeowner in Florida, follow these six steps to find out how your residence can keep hundreds of dollars in your wallet.
Also, do it soon: The deadline for timely filing is March 1, 2017!
1. You Must Be A Permanent Resident of The Property as of January 1, 2017
Florida is one of the most popular places on Earth for those purchasing vacation homes. Unfortunately for these seasonal guests, the Florida Homestead Exemption only applies to permanent residents of the state.
There is one “exception” to this rule, which is if you are legally responsible for another resident and the property they inhabit (again, as of January 1, 2017). Don’t plan on double-dipping however (more on that later).
2. You Must Be Able to Provide Proof of Ownership
The property in question, either by deed or by co-op proprietary lease, must be held in the name or names of the individuals applying for the exemption. You will not need to provide a copy of this documentation if it is already recorded in the Official Records office of the county where you reside.
If your property is held as part of a trust, you must also provide a notarized certificate of trust or a complete copy of the trust agreement (you can find the first document here).
3. You Must Be Able to Provide Proof of Residence
There are two things that every applicant will need to provide when aiming for the exemption. First, they’ll need to provide a Florida-issued form of identification. This can be a driver’s license or, for those who don’t drive, a Florida state identification card. The second necessary piece of documentation is either a Florida voter’s registration, or a Florida declaration of domicile (you can find the latter document here).
Non-citizens can still apply, but must provide additional information. This includes proof of permanent residency, proof of asylum or parolee status, or proof that you are the parent of a U.S. citizen who is a minor.
Note that you will be required to turn over driver’s licenses from other states to your local DMV when applying.
4. You Must Surrender Exemptions in Other Counties and States
Don’t get too excited if you own multiple properties in Florida. The exemption can only be used once, even if your properties lie in multiple counties. Even further, if you own a home in another state that offers a similar tax exemption program, you’ll be forced to abandon that exemption if you want to claim one in Florida.
If you’re struggling to determine what property you should pursue an exemption with, consult with an appraiser in each respective region to gauge the true value of your home, and which will result in a higher exemption.
5. You Must Fill Out an Application
If you qualify based on all of the information provided above, you can fill out an application online. Here are links to our neighboring counties in South Florida:
If you live in another Florida county, you can find the application at your county appraiser’s website.
6. You Must File by September 18, 2017 to Receive The Homestead Exemption for 2017
The absolute deadline to file and receive the 2017 Florida Homestead Exemption is September 18. Still, we highly recommend that you file as close as possible to the timely deadline of March 1. Even if you have good cause reason for not filing before the late filing date, there is no way to file after September 18. It’s better to be safe and apply early.