Filing for Homestead Exemptions

All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. The Florida Constitution provides this tax-saving exemption on the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence. While a complicated formula is used to explain this -- as the additional $25,000 only applies to the non-schools portion of your tax bill -- the bottom line is that the basic homestead exemption saved a Broward homeowner in 2011 anywhere from $648 to $1,147 (depending upon your city's millage rate) in annual tax savings for all homes with a value of $75,000 or higher.

You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which permanent residence is determined.

You may file for Homestead ONLINE for Broward County by clicking the blue link. There will be a large yellow button in the navigation menu on the top left side of the page. You may file by visiting the Broward County Tax Appraiser office or at any community outreach events held throughout Broward.

The timely filing period for Homestead Exemption for 2012 is March 2, 2011 through March 1, 2012. The absolute deadline to LATE FILE for any 2012 exemption -- if you miss the March 1, 2012 timely filing deadline -- is September 18, 2012. State law (Sec. 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadline.

What You Need When Filing for Homestead

When filing an application you must bring the following items listed below. To claim 100% coverage, all owners occupying the property as Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person on jointly held property. In the case of a husband/wife ("Tenants by the Entirety") or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship ("JTRS"), any one owner may qualify for 100% coverage -- although it is always highly advisable to have all eligible owner-occupants to file.

PROOF OF OWNERSHIP:In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. You do not need to bring a copy of the deed or co-op lease if the document has already been recorded in the Official Records of Broward County. *IF THE PROPERTY IS HELD IN A TRUST, YOU ALSO NEED EITHER A NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OF TRUST OR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT.

PROOF OF PERMANENT FLORIDA RESIDENCY: Preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing -- is established in the form of:
*Florida's Driver's License (or -- for non-drivers only -- a Florida I.D. Card) is REQUIRED.
Note: You must surrender to DMV any out-of-state regular driver's license.
*You MUST also have either of the following:
Florida Voter's Registration; or
Recorded Declaration of Domicile.

*You MUST have the items listed above AND proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status.

EXISTING HOMESTEAD IN ANOTHER COUNTY/STATE:If you or your married spouse have a Homestead Exemption in any other county, state or country (or an equivalent permanent residency-based exemption or tax credit, such as New York's "S.T.A.R." exemption) on another property you also currently own, you will NOT be eligible for a homestead in Broward until after you surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction.
The State-approved application form requests certain information for all owners living on the premises and filing:

Current employers of all owners
Addresses listed on last I.R.S. income tax returns
Date of each owner's permanent Florida residence
Date of occupancy for each property owner
Social Security numbers of all owners filing
Social Security number of any married spouse of the applicant*
*(even if the spouse is not name in the deed and is not filing)

Note:The amount of the homestead exemption protection granted to an owner residing on a particular property is to be applied against the amount of that person's interest in the property. This provision is limited in that the proportional amount of the homestead exemption allowed any person shall not exceed the proportionate assessed valuation based on the interest owned by the person. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000, with the residing owner's interest in the property being $20,000, then $20,000 of the homestead exemption is all that can be applied to that property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full exemption.