Save Money on Your Taxes by Buying Your Home by the End of The Year

Most property owners are familiar with Florida’s Homestead Exemption, but do you know how it can help reduce your taxes?

Now that we have your attention, here's a snapshot of the benefits for Tampa homeowners—and why they matter to you.

If you own residential property (or are thinking about it), you are eligible for the Florida Homestead Exemption—a property tax break that can reduce the taxable value on your primary home by as much as $50,000. That's approximately $750 per year in savings.

When you purchase a home, Florida state law requires your property value to reset to the current market value. So when you file for a homestead exemption, you are protected from the value of your home resetting with a 3% cap, meaning the assessed value of your home cannot increase more than 3% once the state grants you a homestead exemption. This 3% cap can save homeowners millions of dollars in property taxes.

So, how do you qualify? According to Florida statutes, there are firm requirements for homestead exemption eligibility, which is Jan. 1 of the year in which you are filing.

To file an exemption, you can fill out and submit a DR-501 application to your county property appraiser by mail, in person, or online (check with your local Tampa appraisers to see which is available).

Here's the important part: A Florida Homestead Exemption is not automatically granted just because you buy a home, you must file an application.

To qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  •        Be a US citizen or possess a Permanent Residence Card
  •        Be a permanent Florida resident
  •        Own and occupy the property as your permanent residence (the property may not have been rented for more than 30 days in a given calendar year)
  •        Hold title or beneficial interest to the property

Under Florida law, the Homestead Exemption must be filed by March 1 of the tax year it is being requested. While late filings are permitted, you are required to explain why you missed the March deadline.

As long as your residency status remains the same, you do not have to renew the application every year. It is important to note that Florida homeowners are required to inform their local property appraiser of any change in ownership or use of the property, i.e., selling or renting the home. If you do not provide that information, you could be denied an exemption or get a lien on your property.

Posted by Smith & Associates Real Estate on


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