Filing for Homestead and Other Exemptions
All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence.
You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined.
You can now file for Homestead ONLINE by clicking the large yellow button in the navigation menu on the left side of this page ... or you can file by visiting any of our offices. What you need to file for Homestead
The filing period for Homestead Exemption for 2006 is: March 2, 2005 through March 1, 2006. There is no cost to file for Homestead if you file by the March 1 deadline. You may currently pre-file for 2006, or file a "Good Cause" Petition and an application to late file for 2005 (see below for more details).
When filing an application you must bring the following items listed below. To claim 100% coverage, all owners occupying the property as Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person on jointly held property. In the case of a husband/wife ("Tenants by the Entirety") or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship ("JTRS"), and one owner may qualify for 100% coverage -- although it is always highly advisable to have all eligible owner-occupants to file. If you are married and the Deed has different last names for husband and wife, a marriage certificate must be presented if the deed does not indicate the two co-owners are "husband and wife."
Proof of Ownership: Recorded Warranty Deed, Co-op Propriety Lease, Notice of Proposed Taxes or Tax Receipt, if in your name(s) . A deed must be presented if the property is jointly owned. If the PROPERTY IS HELD IN A TRUST, WE NEED A COMPLETE COPY OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT.
Proof of Permanent Florida Residence -- preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing -- is established in the form of:
Florida Voter's Registration or Recorded Declaration of Domicile (PDF file) - REQUIRED.
Florida's Driver's License or Florida I.D. Card - REQUIRED. Note: "Valid Only in Florida" driver license is not acceptable.
Non U.S. Citizens must bring proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other "PRUCOL" status), and Recorded Declaration of Domicile (PDF file) - REQUIRED.
If you have a Homestead Exemption in any other state or county (or an equivalent exemption, such as New York's "S.T.A.R." exemption) on another property you also currently own, you will not be eligible for a homestead until you surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction. (Note: If you know of someone with a Homestead Exemption in Broward who also maintains an exemption on another property elsewhere, please report this information to our Fraud Investigations Section at 954.357.6900.)
The State-approved application form requests certain information for all owners living on the premises and filing:
Current employers of all owners
Addresses listed on last I.R.S. income tax returns.
Date of each owner's permanent Florida residence.
Date of occupancy for each property owner.
Social security numbers of all owners filing are required.
Widows, widowers, permanently disabled persons, and qualified senior citizens on fixed-incomes are entitled to additional tax-saving exemptions:
$500 Disability Exemption: One letter from a Florida doctor stating that you are totally and permanently disabled.
$500 Widows/Widower's Exemption: Spouse's death certificate, newspaper clipping or memorial card.
Additional $25,000 Senior Citizen Exemption: Filing period is January 1 through March 1 of each year. Applicant must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1 and total household adjusted gross income must not exceed $22,693 (adjusted annually for inflation by the Department of Revenue). This exemption must be applied for annually.
$5,000 Veteran's Disability Exemption: A copy of your Certificate of Disability from the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or its predecessor agency). The disability must be military service-related and incurred during a period of wartime service or by misfortune. The service-related disability must be to a degree of at least 10% before January 1, 2005.
$5,000 Veteran's Service-Connected Total and Permanent Disability Exemption: A certificate from the US Government or US Department of Veterans Affairs. Any honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected total and permanent disability, surviving spouses of qualifying veterans and spouses of Florida resident veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the US Armed forces are entitled to an exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead.
$500 Disability Exemption for Blind Persons: A certificate from the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs certifying the applicant to be blind is required.
Full Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled Persons: A certificate from two licensed doctors of this state or a certificate from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. To be entitled to this exemption, you must be a (1) quadriplegic or (2) paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind. For persons entitled to this exemption under number two (2) above, the prior year (2004) gross income of all persons residing in or upon the homestead shall not exceed $22,121. This amount is adjusted annually and a statement of gross income must accompany the application.
"Granny Flat" Exemption - Taxpayers who build additions onto an existing home or perform extensive renovations to provide living quarters for a parent or grandparent may be entitled to a special exemption equal to the amount of the new construction (up to 20% of the homestead value). To be eligible, the property owner must have a Homestead Exemption on the property where the parent or grandparent quarters are constructed. The construction or reconstruction must be properly permitted and comply with all local land development regulations. Copies of all permits, certificate of occupancy, and plans must be submitted to the Property Appraiser's Office. Construction or reconstruction must be substantially complete after January 7, 2003 and before January 1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. Application must be filed with the Property Appraiser's Office annually on or before March 1st of each year. The occupant(s) of the quarters must be a parent or grandparent. The occupant(s) must be at least 62 years of age by January 1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) must permanently reside on the property on or before January 1st. of the year in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) cannot receive any benefits requiring a declaration of permanent residency on any other property in any other County or State.
Historic Property Exemption - Is your property on the National or Florida Registers of Historic Properties? Then, under certain circumstance, you may be entitled to some special exemptions related to your assessed value. Click here (for historic properties in general) and here (for historic properties open to the public) to read the applicable statutes.
Homestead Exemptions are not transferable. (yet)
Homestead Exemption does not transfer from property to property. If you had this exemption last year on another property and moved, you must file a new application for your new residence. Notify the Property Appraiser to cancel the exemptions on your former home. Property purchased during last year may show qualified exemptions of the seller. The sellers' exemptions will not carry over to this year; you must apply for your own exemptions!
You Must Make a Timely First Application
You can now file for Homestead Exemption all year around. There are two filing periods.
"Pre-Filing" for the next year (for owners who purchased properties after January 1 of this year): March 2 to December 31.
"Traditional" Filing Period: January 1 to March 1.
The amount of the homestead exemption granted to an owner residing on a particular property is to be applied against the amount of that person's interest in the property. This provision is limited in that the proportional amount of the homestead exemption allowed any person shall not exceed the proportionate assessed valuation based on the interest owned by the person. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000, with the residing owner's interest in the property being $20,000, then $20,000 of the homestead exemption is all that can be applied to that property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full $25,000 exemption.
If you missed the March 1 deadline:
Late Filing for Homestead
Applications with Petition - We accept late Homestead applications in our Main Office in Room 111 of the Broward Government Center in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. We also help taxpayers prepare the petitions to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) for all property purchased prior to January 1 and owned and occupied by qualified applicants. For a late application to be granted for the current year, you must file a petition with the VAB accompanied by a $15 non-refundable filing fee and qualify for the exemption. If the application is filed after the September TRIM Notice deadline, and you request a good cause hearing with the Value Adjustment Board on or before December 31st, the Value Adjustment Board will hold a hearing to determine if it will hear your petition. You must show "good cause" why your petition was not filed by the September deadline.
If granted "Good Cause," you must file a petition and pay the mandated $15 non-refundable filing fee to the VAB; and be heard by a Special Master for approval or denial.
If denied "Good Cause" by the VAB, you are still entitled by law to appeal to the Circuit Court, pursuant to Sec. 194.171, Fla. Stat.
Receipts, Renewals, and Changes that Cause Ineligibility.
After your initial application for the Homestead Exemption has been made and the exemption has been granted, a receipt will be mailed to you each January 1st for verification that the status and condition of the ownership has not changed in any manner whatsoever.
If you do not receive this renewal receipt from us by March 1, failure to contact this office could result in the loss of your Homestead Exemption for the year.
A new application is required if your property has been sold or otherwise disposed of, or the ownership changes in any manner or when the holder(s) of the Homestead Exemption ceases to reside on the property as a permanent resident.
This annual Homestead Receipt renewal does not pertain to any of the other exemptions and/or classifications.
If you no longer qualify: The law requires you to notify the Property Appraiser's office to remove that exemption by March 1. Strong penalties -- going back as far as ten years of back taxed, plus penalties and interest -- may be imposed on those who do not tell the Property Appraiser to remove exemptions for which they are no longer qualified. For example, if you have rented out your entire property (under most of the circumstances we've investigated), you would likely forfeit your right to claim a Homestead Exemption. Or, if you were receiving a widow's or widower's exemption and remarry, you would no longer be entitled to that exemption.