Overview for Qualifying and Applying for a Homestead Exemption

There are two deadlines which must be met in order to benefit from the Homestead Exemption:

1. In order to meet the qualification deadline for the exemption you must be a Florida resident and own and occupy the property as your permanent residence on January 1st of the year you claim the exemption.  You may also qualify for the exemption if you have a beneficial interest in the property under a 98 year lease or a life estate.

2. In order to meet the application deadline you must apply by March 1st of the year for which you are claiming the exemption. 

March 1 of each year is the last day to submit a timely filed homestead exemption application. Nevertheless, the property appraiser’s office will consider homestead exemption applications filed after the March 1 deadline. Applicants that would have otherwise qualified to receive the homestead exemption, but were not able to apply on time, may be granted the homestead exemption. Contact our office for more information.

APPLYING FOR HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

When applying for the Homestead Exemption, you will need to provide several items listed below that serve as evidence of property ownership and Florida permanent residence.

IMPORTANT: Married couples are required to provide the following information for both spouses.

1. Evidence of ownership or beneficial interest – By the time you apply for the Homestead Exemption, it is very likely that your name will already be in our records showing you as the property owner.  However, it is recommended that you bring with you a copy of one of the following if you are filing in person:

  • A copy of the deed to the property recorded in the public records of Sarasota County, or
  • A tax bill, or
  • Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, or
  • A copy of a proprietary lease to a cooperative, a trust agreement, or a last will and testament may also be used to confirm beneficial interest

2. Evidence of permanent Florida Residence - All applicants must present:

  • A valid Florida Driver's License or valid Florida ID Card  (must reflect the permanent residence address).  Valid in Florida Only driver’s license or ID are not acceptable. 

 And present, at minimum, one of the following plus previous residence information:

  • Florida vehicle registration
  • Proof of Florida voter registration (must reflect permanent residence address)
  • A formal declaration of domicile recorded in the public records of the county in which the exemption is being sought

Plus:

  • Previous residence information: If previous residence is still owned, proof of cancellation of exemption, discount or benefit at previous residence is required. If no longer owned, proof of date of sale is required

Or present, at minimum, two of the following plus previous residence information:

  • Employment verification (W-2 form or paystub referencing permanent residence address)
  • Evidence of location where the applicant's dependent children are registered for school
  • Federal income tax returns listing the permanent residence address
  • Proof of payment for utilities or bank statements or checking account information mailed to address for which permanent residency is being claimed

Plus:

  • Previous residence information: If previous residence is still owned, proof of cancellation of exemption, discount or benefit at previous residence is required. If no longer owned, proof of date of sale is required

3. All applicants are required by Florida law to provide their Social Security Number, according to Florida Statute 196.011(1)(b).  Married individuals must always provide this information for their spouse, whether or not the spouse’s name appears on the deed.

4. If you are a Permanent Resident Alien and not a U.S. Citizen, you will need to show your Alien Registration Card (Green Card).

 

** IMPORTANT NOTE FOR APPLICANTS: Our office may request further information to verify an applicant's status.**

 

ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTIONS FOR PERSONS 65 AND OLDER

Senior Exemption with Limited Income

 

Disabled Veterans Homestead Property Tax Discount - % Discount

Any Veteran age 65 and older may qualify for a homestead property tax discount when the veteran:

      • Has an honorable discharge from military service
      • Is partially disabled with a permanent service connected disability that is combat related.

The discount is equal to the percentage of the veteran’s permanent service connected disability as determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS OF FLORIDA WITH HOMESTEAD

Total and Permanent Disability Exemption (Service Connected) – Ad Valorem Taxes Waived

Any honorably discharged veteran with a service connected total and permanent disability, surviving spouse of the qualifying veteran as well as the spouse of the veteran who died from service connected causes while on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces are entitled to an exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes. 

      • To qualify for this exemption, the applicant must be a permanent resident of Florida as of January 1st of the application year.
      • Under certain circumstances the benefit of this exemption can carry over to the veteran’s spouse in the event of the veteran’s death.
      • When filing for the first time, please bring a certificate from the United States Government or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as evidence of a service-connected disability or death of your spouse while on active duty.
      • The surviving spouse of a deceased veteran may claim the exemption on behalf of their spouse if the deceased veteran was a resident of Florida at the time of his/her passing and owned the property where the exemption is requested.

 Total and Permanent Disability Exemption (Non Service Connected) – Ad Valorem Taxes Waived

1. Any real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes by any quadriplegic shall be exempt from taxation.

2. Any real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes, by a paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person, as defined in Section 196.012(11), F.S., who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind, shall be exempt from taxation.

      • Persons entitled to the exemption under number two (2) above, must be a permanent resident of the State of Florida as of January 1 of the year for which they are applying.
      • The prior year’s gross income of all persons residing in or upon the homestead shall not exceed the amount of income, set forth in Section 196.101(4), F.S., adjusted annually by the percentage change of the average cost of living index issued by the United States Department of Labor. (For 2010 - $25,132)
        • Gross income shall include United States Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and any social security benefits paid to the person.
        • A Statement of Gross Income (DR-501A) must accompany the application.
      • When filing for the first time, please bring the following items
        • Physician’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability prepared by two (2) unrelated Florida physicians using form DR-416;
        • For the legally blind, one of the two certificates may be Optometrist's Certification of Total and Permanent Disability using form DR-416B, OR a certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS OF FLORIDA

A person who is a permanent resident of Florida is eligible to receive the following exemptions on any ONE property which they own in Florida.  Residence on the property is not required to obtain these exemptions.

Widow/Widower Exemption - $500

Any widow or widower who is a permanent resident of Florida may claim this exemption.  If you receive this exemption and remarry, you will no longer be entitled to this benefit.  You must have been legally married to the deceased at the time of their death.  An application must be filed for this exemption and a copy of the Death Certificate may also be required. 

Disability Exemption - $500

Every Florida resident who is totally and permanently disabled qualifies for this exemption.  If applying for the first time, please present at least one of the following as proof of your disability:

      • A Physician’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability prepared by a Florida physician using form DR-416,or
      • A certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Blind Disability Exemption - $500
Every Florida resident who is blind qualifies for this exemption.  Any ONE of the following documents would confirm the applicant’s claim:

      • A certificate from the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education
      • A certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
      • A certificate from the Federal Social Security Administration
      • A Physician’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability prepared by a Florida physician using form DR-416 or an Optometrist’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability using form DR-416B

“Blind person” is defined as an individual having central vision acuity 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or a disqualifying field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter or visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than twenty degrees.


Disabled Veteran - $5000

Any ex-service member who is a permanent resident of Florida and is disabled at least 10% in war or by service-connected disability is entitled to this exemption.  Any one of the following documents which provide the disability rating would evidence entitlement to this exemption:

      • A certificate from the United States Government
      • A letter from the Veteran’s Administration
      • Identification Card from the Veteran’s Administration

Under certain circumstances the benefit of this exemption can carry over to the veteran’s spouse in the event of the veteran’s death.

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