If you purchased a new, primary residence in Florida, you have until March 1 to apply for homestead status.
Florida residents are entitled to important property tax benefits on their primary and permanent residence, or “homestead.”
The Florida Property Tax Exemption for Homesteaded Property provides valuable tax benefits to owners of real property in Florida.
Homestead exemption tax benefits include a reduction in the taxable value of a primary residence, as well as a cap on any increase in the taxable value of the residence (known as the Save Our Homes provision).
You can apply for homestead status by e-filing online, applying in person or downloading the application and applying by mail.
For example, in Palm Beach County, where our office is located, you can apply through the county property appraiser. Check the instructions in your own county for more info, taking note of the specific documents you need to apply.
Check here for directions on how to apply in each Florida county.
Here’s some of the most commonly asked questions about homestead.
Who is affected?
Florida permanent residents who purchased a new, primary home. You can only have one homestead at a time.
What happens when I sell my home and buy another?
After January 1, but before March 1, you may file for homestead on the new home and also file for portability.
What if I bought my home several years ago?
You don’t need to refile. Your homestead exemption normally renews annually as long as you continue to qualify for the exemption.
What happens if I don’t file?
You’ll lose out on valuable tax savings and protections.
How about portability?
The Florida’s Save Our Homes (SOH) provision allows you to transfer all or a significant portion of your tax benefit, up to $500,000, from a Florida home with a homestead exemption to a new home within the state of Florida that qualifies for a homestead exemption. This is referred to as “portability.”
Portability is an additional tax savings to residents moving from one home to another within the State of Florida. It can help to reduce your property tax bill.
You may now file for Portability while using the on-line filing system. At the end of filing for Homestead Exemption, you will be asked if you wish to file for Portability.
For questions and more information, consult your county’s property appraiser or your real estate attorney.
For a quick background guide to Florida homestead, check out this helpful article from The Balance. Author Julie Garber calls the laws governing Florida homestead properties “some of the most complicated in the country.” We second that!
One final tip: Not sure if you have homestead or not? Check the property appraiser online records in your county. They’ll indicate whether your property has homestead status.