Florida law allows homeowners to apply for homestead exemption by filing an application with the property appraiser where the they reside by March 1st. According to Florida law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined. Florida’s Constitution provides for an exemption, which is deducted from a property’s assessed value if the owner qualifies. To properly qualify for homestead, applicants must file on or before March 1, possess title to the real property, and are bona fide Florida residents living in the dwelling and making it their permanent home as of January 1st (closed on or prior to 12/31/2015). Properties granted Homestead Exemption also automatically receive the “Save Our Homes”, Amendment 10, benefit, which will cap the assessed value up to 3% annually.
Applicants can apply online (https://heats.acpafl.org/ApplyOnline/WebForm1.aspx) or in person at the property appraiser’s office (Alachua County: 515 North Main Street, Suite 200 , Gainesville, Florida). If you file online, it is important to print a receipt of your application. Sometimes, an in-person application is required in certain circumstances, such as:
- Property ownerships not posted to your name
- Adding additional exemptions to an existing homestead exemption
- Adding additional applicants to a parcel that already has an existing homestead exemption
- If the property is owned in a trust, and you are not listed on our records as having a beneficial interest or as trustee of the trust.
Homestead application lowers homeowners’ taxes. The benefit for homestead for taxation purposes is that homestead lowers the assessed value by up to $50,000.00 (for properties assessed at $75,000+) for ad valorem county taxes and up to $25,000.00 for school board taxes. So a house assessed at $100,000.00 will be taxed at $50,000.00 for ad valorem taxes and $75,000.00 for school board, saving the homeowner thousands of dollars in taxes.
There are also additional exemptions available (blind, widow, disability, disabled veteran) that you may be eligible for. The property appraiser’s website (Alachua county: http://www.acpafl.org/) has more information about these exemptions or you can contact the property appraiser’s office where your property resides for any questions you may have (Alachua county: (352) 374-5230). Please find more detailed information about homestead exemptions published by the State of Florida.