Did you know that if you own a home in Hillsborough County, Florida, you may be eligible for certain exemptions or benefits that can reduce your property tax liability?
Did you know that you can protect some or all of the equity in your house while filing for bankruptcy?
With homestead exemptions, you can receive a property tax break for your homestead properties in Hillsborough County, FL.
In this article, we'll go over everything you need to know about homestead exemptions in Hillsborough County so that you can better understand what it is, how it works, and how you can benefit from it as a homeowner.
What is a Homestead Exemption?
Also known as primary residence tax exemption, homestead exemption refers to a method of minimizing a homeowner's property tax.
The exemption protects the value of your home from not just property tax but also creditors that arise from a declaration of bankruptcy or the death of your spouse.
The homestead exemption is designed to provide financial protection and physical shelter for the taxpayer – this can block the forced sale of your primary residence.
Still, it is crucial to note that the exemption does not stop or prevent a bank foreclosure if you default on your mortgage.
Foreclosure refers to a situation where the bank takes possession of your home due to a default in your mortgage payment.
Who is Eligible for a Homestead Exemption in Hillsborough County?
Most states in the U.S. provide the homestead exemption tax to their residents who are homeowners, but the application and level of protection of the exemption law vary from state to state.
Florida law provides up to a $50,000 homestead exemption to its eligible residents – you get to save about $750 per year.
It further states that the first $25,000 applies to all property taxes and the other $25,000 applies to any assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000, but only to non-school property taxes.
To be eligible for the homestead exemptions in Florida, you will have to be either of the following:
- An individual with a disability
- An older citizen (65 years and older)
- A veteran
- A law enforcement official or first responder with a disability
How Do I Apply for a Homestead Exemption in Hillsborough County?
To get the homestead exemption, you must fill out an application form and demonstrate proof of residence by January 1 of the year for which you wish to qualify.
Although, the application may be filed as late as March 1.
You can get the form online or from the Hillsborough County Property Appraisal office.
Some other documents you might need include:
- A valid Florida driver's license or state ID
- A valid Florida voter's ID
- A Florida vehicle registration number
- Declaration of domicile and residency in Florida
- A bank statement and a mailing address for a checking account
- Proof of payment of utility at the homestead address
- Immigration documents if you're not a U.S. citizen
Is There a Deadline for Applying for Florida's Homestead Exemption?
Yes. As mentioned, an application for the homestead exemption in Florida must be made between January 1 and March 1 of the tax year.
If you fail to apply and thereby miss the March 1 deadline of the tax year, your exemption privilege will be automatically waived for that year.
What Other Exemptions are Available to Homeowners?
Aside from the homestead exemptions, homeowners can also qualify for other property tax exemptions, including:
- $500 Disability Exemption – Every Florida resident who has a disability qualifies for this exemption, and proof of disability will be required at the first time of application.
- $500 Widowed Persons Exemption – This exemption is available to widows and widowers who are permanent residents of Florida. The exemption is only valid for as long as the widowed individual doesn’t remarry and if they weren’t divorced before the death of their spouse. A death certificate may be required when applying for the first time.
- $500 Exemption for Blind Persons – This exemption is available to every Florida resident who is blind. A certificate from the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs will be required from the applicant.
- $5,000 Disabled Veteran – Ex-service members, who are permanent residents of Florida and are disabled at least 10% in war or by service-related misfortune, qualify for a $5,000 property tax exemption.
To view details and a complete list of other exemptions available to homeowners, please visit the personal exemption section of the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser site.
What is Save Our Homes and Portability?
If you apply and qualify for a homestead exemption in Florida, you may also be eligible for a Save Our Homes assessment limitation and portability transfer.
Save Our Homes limits the increase in homeowners' annual property taxes due to increasing real estate prices to 3% or the change in consumer price index (CPI), whichever is lower.
The Save Our Home (SOH) law allows homeowners to transfer some or all of the SOH benefits from a previous homestead to a new homestead.
This transfer process is called portability, and the benefit referred to here is the difference between the assessed value of the homestead property.
Do you need help filing a homestead tax exemption? Contact me today!