As a property owner in Florida, homestead exemption is one way to reduce the amount of real estate taxes you pay on your residential property.
In the State of Florida, if you own property and make the property your permanent residence as of January 1st of the tax year, you may qualify for homestead exemption and save hundreds of dollars. In Martin County, most homeowners save on average $400 - $600 each year. A common misconception is that you must reside on the property for a certain number of months each year in order to qualify for homestead exemption. There is no such requirement.
Homestead exemption is $25,000 deducted from your assessed value before the taxes are calculated plus an additional homestead exemption up to $25,000 applied to the assessed value above $50,000. The additional exemption does not apply to school taxes. The year after you qualify for homestead exemption, your assessed value cannot increase more than 3% per year, or the increase in the consumer price index, whichever is lower. The increase is not automatic since the assessed value cannot be greater than the market value.
Listed below are the documents required to complete your homestead application.
All of these documents are required for all owners who reside on your property (legible copies are acceptable). One spouse may apply for the other as long as they bring the other spouse's documents. Homebound persons should contact the Property Appraiser's office to arrange a home visit to file an application. We are at your service and we will be most happy to assist you any way we can.
- Florida voter's information card or a signed voter affidavit.
- Florida driver's license. If you don't drive, a Florida ID card.
- Florida vehicle registration, if you own or drive a vehicle in Florida (including leased vehicles).
- Social security card OR a document with your number on it (i.e. income tax return). You must submit your spouse's social security number, even if they do not own the property. Per Florida Statute 196.011(1b), the Property Appraiser's Office may not grant an application for exemptions if the applicant refuses to submit their social security number and the social security number of their spouse if they are married.
- Owners who have transferred the interest of their residential property into a trust must have a "Trust Certificate" completed by their attorney. The Property Appraiser must be able to determine who has current beneficial interest in the trust in order to determine who may be eligible to qualify for homestead exemption. This form is available in our office or on our website.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen and have a permanent resident card, you may qualify for homestead exemption. You must bring in your permanent resident card.
Listed below are examples of common things that may cause you to lose your homestead exemption:
- Renting your home for more than 30 days per calendar year, for 2 consecutive years. To determine if you are renting properly, please review the flowchart: Can I rent my homestead property?
- Maintain or obtain an out-of-state residency based tax exemption, reduction, benefit, credit, etc. (e.g. STAR in NY, a veteran's exemption, the Massachusetts declaration of homestead, etc.) This requirement applies to jointly held property by married couples even if only one applies for homestead here and the other applies for the out-of-state tax credit. If you are in this category presently, you must cancel your out-of-state tax benefit effective January 1 of the year you apply for homestead exemption here. If either spouse own other Florida property, even individually, only one property can have the homestead exemption.
- Maintain or obtain a driver's license in any other state. A driver's license is residency based.
- Fail to register a vehicle in Florida if you drive it here.
- Registered to vote elsewhere. As a Martin County resident, this county must be the only place you are registered to vote. You may elect to file a declaration of domicile instead of registering to vote, but you still may not register to vote elsewhere.
We want all residents who qualify to have and keep their homestead exemption. This checklist is provided to avoid the pitfalls that can occur inadvertently and would result in back taxes that carry stiff penalties and interest charges.