There are only a few states with homestead exemptions and Florida’s homestead exemption is considered to be one of the most generous. There are 2 types of homestead exemptions available to property owners in Florida: (a) homestead exemption for real property tax purposes and (b) homestead exemption for asset protection purposes. Having one type of exemption does not necessarily mean that you have the other type of exemption as each exemption has distinct requirements. The Homestead exemption for real property tax purposes is set forth in the Florida Constitution.
Specifically, the homestead exemption for real property tax purposes provides an owner of property with a $25,000.00 reduction from the assessed value of the property thereby reducing the amount of real property taxes by approximately $650.00 each year. Since real property taxes are paid in arrears in Florida, this form of homestead exemption is only available if the owner is the permanent resident of residential property as of December 31 of the prior year and the owner makes application for the exemption at the property appraiser’s office on or before March 1 of the following year. If you miss the March 1 filing deadline, you can contact the Broward Property Appraiser’s Office regarding late filing options. Homestead exemption forms are available online from the Property Appraiser’s website at www.bcpa.net. The website also provides information on the items you will need to bring with you when you file. If you are widowed, permanently disabled or are a low-income senior citizen, you may be entitled to an additional reduction from the assessed value of the property.
Homestead exemptions are not transferable. This means that you must file a new application for a new residence. Remember that a notice from the Property Appraiser’s Office should be sent to you January 1 of each year to verify that you still reside at the property and that the status has not changed. If you do not receive this renewal receipt by March 1, you should contact the Property Appraiser’s Office in order to insure that you do not lose your Homestead exemption. Finally, if you no longer qualify for the exemption for any reason you must notify the Property Appraiser’s Office or risk being penalized. The Property Appraiser’s website if a great source of information for anyone with Homestead exemption questions—We recommend you visit www.bcpa.net to learn more.