As a homeowner in Tampa, FL, or someone looking to purchase their first home, it's essential to be aware of the Homestead Exemption.
There is a legal provision called the homestead exemption that can help you save a significant amount of money on your property taxes each year.
This article will provide a complete and thorough understanding of the homestead exemption in Tampa.
We'll cover essential topics in a professional and friendly manner, including eligibility, the application process, deadlines, and additional exemptions available to homeowners.
What is the Homestead Exemption in Tampa?
The homestead exemption is a property tax exemption provided to homeowners in Florida, including Tampa.
It allows homeowners to reduce their property's taxable value, resulting in lower property taxes.
The standard Homestead Exemption is $25,000, applicable to the assessed value of the property.
An additional $25,000 exemption is available for married couples.
This additional exemption, however, does not apply to school district taxes.
The homestead exemption also offers protection from creditors in some cases.
This means that if you face financial difficulties, your home may be protected from creditors seeking to seize your assets.
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 qualify for the Tampa Homestead Exemption, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a legal Florida resident;
- The property must be your primary residence;
- You must own the property; and
- Must have lived in the property as of January 1st of the tax year.
You can only claim the homestead exemption for one property in Florida.
If you are married, you and your spouse cannot claim separate homestead exemptions on different properties.
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.
To apply for a homestead exemption in Tampa, follow these steps:
- Visit the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's website or office.
- Complete the application form (DR-501)
- Provide proof of ownership (deed, mortgage, or tax bill)
- Provide proof of residency
- Submit the completed application and supporting documents to the Property Appraiser's office
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, there is a deadline for applying for the Homestead Exemption in Florida.
The application must be submitted by March 1st of the tax year for which you are seeking the exemption.
Late applications may be considered on a case-by-case basis if there are extenuating circumstances.
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 Benefit?
Save Our Homes (SOH) is a Florida constitutional amendment that limits the annual increase in assessed value for properties with homestead exemption.
The increase is capped at 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) change, whichever is lower.
This helps homeowners save on property taxes as their home's value increases.
Also, the Save Our Home (SOH) benefit allows homeowners to transfer some or all of the SOH benefits from a previous homestead to a new homestead.
What is Portability?
Portability is a provision that allows homeowners to transfer their SOH benefit to a new primary residence in Florida.
Homeowners have two years from the sale of their previous home to apply for portability when purchasing a new primary residence.
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.
Portability benefit amount is the difference between the market/just value* and the assessed value of a home.
This image covers an example of how portability works including some of the limitations.
Do you need help filing a homestead tax exemption? Contact me today!