Florida Homestead Exemption

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Florida’s homestead exemption provides relief from property taxes and protection from forced sale for certain homeowners who use their property as a permanent residence. 
Owning a home in Florida might feel like a dream come true—but property taxes, which average around $1,752 each year for Florida residents, can cast a shadow over your Sunshine State home. Luckily, Florida has one of the country’s best homestead exemptions, which provides relief from property taxes to Florida residents who own their homes and live there year-round. 
But sorting out the details of homestead rules and tax law can be a tricky business. That’s why Jerry, the #1 rated insurance app and home-and-car-insurance comparison genius you need in your pocket, has created a guide to Florida’s homestead exemption. 
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What is the Florida homestead exemption?

The Florida homestead exemption is one of the broadest protections for homeowners in any state. Under the homestead exemption, a homestead—or a permanent residence of 160 acres outside a municipality or one half-acre inside a municipality—cannot be subject to forced sale
In addition, if you own real estate in Florida and use your house as a permanent residence, you can apply for a homestead exemption that provides property tax relief for up to $50,000 dollars based on the value of your home. 
Here’s how it works: anyone who makes a Florida property their permanent home in good faith qualifies for a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first half of the exemption applies to all property taxes, while the second $25,000 applies only to values assessed over $50,000 and non-school taxes
If the homestead exemption applies to you, the taxable value of the house is the assessed value minus any exemptions. For instance, if your property is assessed at $62,000, the first $25,000 of the value would be fully exempt. The next $25,000 would be subject to school taxes only, while the remaining $12,000 would be fully taxed

Homestead exemptions explained

Not every state has a homestead exemption law, but in those that do, the law is designed to protect a home from creditors after a bankruptcy or the death of a spouse. In most states with homestead exemptions, there’s a limit on the financial protection available to homeowners. 
Florida’s law is different from many homestead laws because it’s built into the state constitution. This means that it would require a constitutional amendment to change the law—locking in major savings for Florida homeowners. 

Who is eligible for the Florida homestead exemption?

You’re eligible for the Florida homestead exemption if you 
  • Own the property and use it as your permanent residence (or the permanent residence of a tax dependent)
  • Lived there as of January 1 of the current tax year 
  • Don’t rent the property more than 30 days out of a calendar year
If you want to apply for the exemption, you’ll need to demonstrate that you use the property as your permanent Florida residence. In other words, if you own a vacation home or a rental property, you won’t be eligible for the homestead exemption—it’s reserved for homeowners who live in Florida year-round. 

Additional exemptions

In certain Florida jurisdictions, persons 65 and over whose annual household income doesn’t exceed $20,000 may be eligible for an additional exemption of $50,000. This exemption is one reason that Florida is such an attractive place for older Americans to own property. 
If you own real estate in Florida, you should also be aware of the following additional exemptions: 
  • $500 exemption for widows and widowers 
  • $500 exemption for permanently disabled residents 
  • $5,000 exemption for veterans disabled at least 10% in the war
  • $5000 exemption for blind persons
Disabled veterans, first responders, and surviving spouses are also eligible for exemption from all property taxes. Check out this form from the Florida Department of Revenue for more details on homestead exemption eligibility. 

How to apply for the Florida homestead exemption

You must apply for the Florida homestead exemption between January 1 and March 1 the first year that you’re eligible. You can apply online, by mail, or in person at your local county property appraiser’s office. 
Fill out Form DR-501 to apply for the homestead exemption. Be prepared to provide the following information: 
  • Florida driver’s license number
  • Florida license plate number
  • Florida voter registration number
  • Current employer
  • Address on your last tax return
  • Social Security number
  • Declaration of domicile 
  • Bank statements
If you’re applying for additional exemptions, you may need to provide additional documentation such as death certificates or a doctor’s certificate of disability
To submit the form, you can either: 
  • Use your county property appraiser’s online e-file option
  • Mail all your documents to Palm Beach County Property Appraiser’s Office, Exemption Services, 1st Floor, 301 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401
  • Bring your documents in person to a service center near you

How long does the Florida homestead exemption last? 

If you qualify for the Florida homestead exemption, the exemption renews automatically each year as long as you still own the property, use it as your permanent residence, and don’t rent it for more than 30 days a year
Although the savings from the Florida homestead exemption vary from place to place based on the property tax rate, the average annual savings could be significant. Orange County residents, for example, can save about $750 each year through the homestead exemption. 

How to save money on homeowners insurance in Florida

Even if you don’t qualify for the Sunshine State’s homestead exemption, you can find savings on homeowners insurance in Florida using the Jerry app. Jerry is the #1 rated insurance app and a genius at comparison shopping—and it’s the easiest way to know you’re getting the lowest rate on the insurance you need.
Just download the app, enter your information, and Jerry will generate customized quotes from 50+ top insurance companies. Find the one that fits your budget, and you’ll get hands-on support from Jerry’s team of insurance experts when you sign up. They’ll even help you cancel your old policy! 
While you’re at it, let Jerry search for new car insurance quotes to save you even more. Jerry users save an average of $887 each year on car insurance alone! 
 “I had limited time to find a new insurance plan in Florida, so I tried Jerry. My experience was personalized and professional, and they found me a plan that fits my portfolio. You should give them a try.” —Valencia T. 
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FAQs

You can reduce the taxable value of your home by up to $50,000 when you apply for the Florida homestead exemption.
Applying for a homestead exemption in Florida is an easy way to lower the property taxes you’re required to pay.

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