If you’re a new or first time homeowner, you may have heard of the homestead exemption, but not really know what it is or what to do in order to get it. Learning more about the exemption can benefit you by saving you thousands of dollars on your property tax payment or more, and it is a simple process to make a claim. Here are some of the most important things you need to know about filing for a homestead exemption in the state of Florida.

What is the Homestead Exemption?

A homestead tax exemption offsets some of the amount a new homeowner has to pay for property tax. It is typically an amount calculated as a percentage of the value given to the property by the county tax collector’s office. This amount is deducted from the total value of the property, and you are taxed based on this new amount. The actual amount of the exemption can vary from county to county, but in Florida there is a maximum amount of $50,000 that can be claimed as an exemption.

Who Can Qualify for a Homestead Exemption?

In order to qualify for a homestead exemption, there are a few conditions that a homeowner must meet:

  • They must have purchased a home in the state of Florida. Other types of homes, like condominiums and mobile homes, should also qualify for the exemption.
  • Be considered a Florida resident
  • Own and live in the residence on January 1st of that calendar year

Homeowners will have to prove they meet these conditions before an exemption is applied. Non Florida residents who buy a second or vacation home, for example, would not be covered under these guidelines. Florida residents who buy a home for rental and do not intend to live in it at all would also not qualify. The exemption is designed specifically to incentivize people who buy homes for the purpose of living in them. However, if a dependent family member is going to be living in the home you purchase, you can still qualify for the exemption.

How Do You File for a Homestead Exemption?

In order to file for a homestead exemption on your property taxes, you must complete an application within the first months of the year. The deadline in Florida is March, with late filing allowed up until September. This application needs to be on file with the county and approved by them in order to get the exemption. You may need to provide supporting documents to prove who you are and that you are residing full time at the home. With all of this in place and on file with the proper authorities, you will find your tax bill can be much less than anticipated.

Moving into a new home has many benefits, including being able to qualify for the Homestead Exemption. To get started on the process of buying a new home, contact the Core Group today.