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Homestead Exemptions to Know When Purchasing a Home in Florida

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There are many types of real estate property tax exemptions to look for when buying a home. With Florida being one of the more generous states when it comes to homestead exemptions, it’s no surprise that we have 14 different types of exemptions.

Homestead Exemption

Florida residents who have legal or beneficial title in equity to real property and who will be living in the domicile as their main residence (homestead) are qualified for the homestead exemption. This benefit exempts the owner from the real estate property taxes on $50,000 of the property value. The first $25,000 is entirely exempt while the second $25,000 is prorated based on the house’s fair market value. Depending on the tax rates for the county and municipality where the property is located, this can be a savings of around $500-$800 on property taxes each year.

Widow/Widower Exemption

This exemption entitles Florida residents who are a recent widow/widower to a $500 tax exemption. However, there are some stipulations to this exemption. The widow/widower must have been married at time of death, the widow/widower must not have remarried, and the exemption is only available for two years following the death.

Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled Persons

Disabled persons who make less than $28,115 a year (household income), including VA & social security benefits, and are permanently disabled, require the use of a wheelchair, or are permanently blind are eligible for this exemption. The exemption states that if the real estate is owned by the disabled person and used for homestead purposes, it is fully exempt from taxation.

Exemption for Disability

For individuals that do not qualify for the above exemption, such as persons who do not require a wheelchair or who make over $28,115 annually, there is a $500 real estate tax exemption available. The $500 exemption is in addition to the $50,000 homestead exemption, and is available on all property owned by the disabled individual, not just the homestead property.

Exemption for Blind Persons

Similar to the exemption for disability, the exemption for blind persons is available in lieu of the exemption for totally and permanently disabled individuals. The blind person’s exemption is a $500 real estate tax exemption for individuals who make over the statutory limit of $28,115, annually.

Service Member’s Exemptions

Honorably discharged veterans with a service-connected disability are entitled to several different real estate tax exemptions depending on their status. Some of the exemptions offered

to service members are Service-Connected Total and Permanent Disability Exemption, Veteran’s Disability, Surviving Spouse of a Disabled Veteran, Surviving Spouse of a Veteran who Died on Active Duty, and a property tax discount for veterans with combat-related disabilities. There is also an exemption for members who may have not been injured but did serve overseas; these members may be eligible for the Deployed Military Service Members Exemption.

Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act

This exemption is very similar to the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran who Died on Active Duty Exemption. The Fallen Heroes provides a 100% exemption to the spouses of veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty, and to the spouses of first responders who died in the line of duty.

Senior Exemption

In many of Florida’s municipalities, seniors are eligible for an additional exemption if they meet the following qualifications: the owner must be 65 years of age or older, already receiving the Homestead Exemption, have a household income less than $28,841, and live in a municipality that offers the exemption.

Low-Income Seniors who Maintain Long-Term Residency

Seniors over the age of 65, who have lived in the residence for 25 years or more, may be eligible for an additional tax exemption. If the property value is less than $250,000 and the owner’s household income is less than the established limit, the owner may qualify to have the amount of the assessed value of the property exempt.

As with all the above exemptions, the qualifying individual must be a legal Florida resident and all other stipulations must be met as of January 1st of the application year. While these exemptions are easy to qualify for, they still need to be filed; none of the above mentioned exemptions are automatic!

At Kira Doyle Law, we strive to ensure that all of our clients receive the most out of their home. If you are ready to take the next step toward purchasing a new home and need assistance, please contact our office in St. Petersburg, Florida, at 727-537-6818 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced St. Petersburg Real Estate Attorneys today!