Save On Taxes with Your Florida Homestead Exemption

Save On Taxes with Your Florida Homestead Exemption

Want to save money on taxes this year? Claim your Florida homestead exemption.

The Florida homestead exemption is one of the best benefits available to state residents and those that buy property in the Sunshine State. It is a fantastic way to reduce your tax bill, increase the resale appeal of your property, and enjoy more protection for your wealth. But you have to apply for it!

The Homestead Exemption

The homestead exemption in Florida is one of the best perks of the state, and may attract as many wealthy homeowners as the sunshine and beaches.

The homestead exemption provides a massive tax break for property owners. This break is available to those claiming a primary residence in Florida. The most obvious benefit is that it provides a $50,000 ‘discount’ when it comes tax time. That means you don’t pay the full amount of property taxes on the first $50,000 in tax assessed value of your home or condo in Tampa. Then, once locked in the exemption and homestead status limits how much your property taxes can go up each year. This is capped at the lesser of 3% annually or the rate of inflation (CPI).  If you are familiar with how fast FL property values can grow, then you know just how substantial this break can be. Consider that as of late 2015 Tampa area home prices still had around an average of 25% to grow before hitting previous highs, before they begin growing in earnest above that.

How to Get the Homestead Exemption in Florida

  • Qualify with a primary residence in the state
  • Own your property by January 1st of that year
  • File your application by March 1st of the year

Your application must be filed with your local county. For those in Tampa that is the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser.

View a sample homestead application from the Florida Department of revenue here.

The BIGGEST & BEST Reason to Claim Your Homestead Exemption

The tax break is nice, but there is an even greater reason to claim homestead. This is protection from liability and creditors. Your Florida homestead is protected from virtually all creditors. There are a couple of exceptions, but overall big judgements, malicious lawsuits, and bad debts can’t touch your Florida home equity, or strip you of your property. This is why so many millionaires, and billionaires claim Florida residency and build such lavish mansions or buy penthouse condos here. It is a shelter for their wealth. This is just as important for those that can’t afford the little they do have.

More Ways to Save on Your Taxes

Talk to your accountant and tax professional to see if any of these are tax breaks you should be taking…

  • Exemptions to veterans and their families
  • Exemptions for the blind and disabled
  • Exemptions for seniors
  • Mortgage interest deductions
  • Depreciation
  • 1031 exchanges
  • Investing in real estate through self-directed IRAs
  • Paying your property taxes early for an up to 4% discount