Exemptions Mean Savings
A tax exemption is an important benefit that
offers you, as a Florida resident, the opportunity to save up to hundreds of dollars in
your property tax bill. The homestead exemption is the most common and valuable exemption,
providing savings every year you own and reside in your home.
You may be eligible for additional savings if
you qualify for certain personal exemptions, such as those offered to widows, widowers and
disabled persons. Organizations, usually not-for-profit, who use their properties for
exempt purposes, also may qualify for savings
Agricultural use of land does not qualify for
an exemption but it may allow property used for a commercial agricultural operation to be
eligible for a special classification that could lower property taxes.
It is your responsibility as a property owner
to file an application for a new exemption and to let us know if you change the property's
use. Please carefully read this link which explains how to file and qualify to receive the
exemptions to which you may be entitled. You may find our additional publications helpful
in understanding appraisals and the rights of property owners. If you still have questions
or would like more information, please call or visit your Property Appraiser's Office. We
are here to serve you.
The Homestead Exemption Defined
A homestead exemption reduces the taxable
value of real property by up to $25,000. It is an ad valorem tax exemption provided by
Florida law for qualified residents who own and reside on the property as their permanent
residence. Properties that receive the homestead exemption qualify under the "Save
Our Homes" Amendment and may realize additional benefits.
Who is Entitled to Homestead
Florida statutes set firm requirements for
persons receiving the valuable homestead exemption. The following criteria will help you
determine if you may qualify for an exemption. If you still have questions about your
eligibility, please call the Property Appraiser's Office.
Individuals only are eligible for homestead
exemption; corporations or business entities do not qualify.
Your deed or document establishing your
ownership or beneficial interest as of January 1 must be recorded in Sarasota County
Public Records before your exemption can be approved. Without this evidence, your Property
Appraiser's Office is prohibited by state regulations from granting the exemption.
As of January 1 of the year for which you
are filing: - You must be a permanent resident of Florida; - You must own and occupy the
property as your permanent residence; - You must hold title or beneficial interest to the
Where, How & When to Apply
It is not necessary to file an application
every year as long as the property's use and your ownership and Florida residency do not
change. The following instructions apply to original applications for homestead and other
You may request or pick up an application from one of your county property appraiser's offices listed at the end of
You are required by Florida law to sign and file a new application for homestead exemption
in person at your county property appraiser's office. If you prefer, you can pick up a form and complete much of the
requested information in advance at your convenience, but you must sign and file in
your county property appraiser's office. Please call your county property appraiser's office
well in advance of the filing deadline if you have physical
limitations that prevent you from coming to your county property appraiser's office.
You may file a new application for homestead exemption no later than March 1 of the year
for which the exemption applies. If March 1 falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline is
the next business day. We encourage you to file your application as soon as you complete
the qualifying transaction to minimize the risk of missing the March 1 deadline that is
set by Florida law.
Information You Need to Bring
Filing for homestead exemption is made easy
with a few simple steps and the correct documents. We are required by state law to examine
proof that you own the property and that you and any other owners who occupy the property
are Florida residents. You can help speed up the process and avoid making unnecessary
trips by being prepared with the following information:
1. Proof of ownership Any of
these items can be presented; all are not required. Please remember that your deed or
document granting beneficial interest must be recorded in Sarasota County Public Records
before the exemption can be approved.
Deed to property
Property tax bill
Agreement or contract for deed
Co-op proprietary lease
Last will and testament
TRIM Notice (Notice of Proposed Property
Trust agreement showing beneficial interest
or equitable title
2. Proof of Florida residency All owners who occupy the property are asked to show evidence of Florida residency as of
January 1. The items most often presented are a Florida driver's license and a Florida
In addition, one or more of the following
items may be requested:
Florida vehicle registration
Declaration of Domicile dated prior to
Previous year's income tax return filed
from a Florida address
Registration from your child's school
Previous filing of a Florida Intangible Tax
Professional license issued by state of
Florida, i.e., doctor, teacher, attorney, etc.
Proof of your marital status
Previous year's filing for another property
3. Your Social Security number. Florida law makes this a mandatory requirement for every applicant. Married persons are
required to present Social Security numbers for both spouses even when property is titled
in one name.
4. A permanent visa card (for resident aliens) A temporary visa card, with official assurance that permanent
residence status is approved, can be accepted.
The "Save Our Homes"
Florida voters in 1992 approved
Constitutional Amendment 10, known as the "Save Our Homes" Amendment. The
amendment, which affects homestead exempt property, limits the yearly assessed value
increases to no more than 3 percent of the prior year's assessment or the percentage
change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, but never more than the current
year's just (market) value.
The amendment's limits become effective in
the year following the exemption approval and apply as long as you continue to own and
reside on the property as your permanent homestead. If you sell or transfer title to your
property, it will be assessed at market value. (Transactions between husband and wife do
not negate the amendment's benefits.) If you make changes, additions or improvements to
property receiving the homestead exemption, the changes will be assessed at market value
even though the amendment continues to apply to the original assessment.
Manufactured and Mobile Homes
Assessments and Exemptions
You may purchase a Real Property (RP) sticker
or Mobile Home (MH) sticker from the Sarasota County Tax Collector. The sticker must be
attached to your mobile home. If you do not have a current MH sticker on January 1, your
mobile home will be assessed as tangible personal property.
If you own the home and land: The homestead
exemption is available for mobile home owners who also own the land on which the mobile
home is permanently affixed. Such homes are assessed as real property (real estate) and
are entitled to the same exemption benefits as any other real property parcel. Most mobile
homes matching these criteria are located in communities developed especially for mobile
homes or in parks owned by homeowners' cooperatives.
If you own the home and rent the
Personal exemptions that reduce the taxable
value by $500 per exemption are available to Florida residents who own their mobile home
and rent the land where the mobile home is situated if they qualify for an exemption as a
widow or widower, or a disabled civilian or disabled veteran. These exemptions apply only
to the assessed value of the mobile home attachments, such as cabanas, carports and
screened porches. Total exemptions apply only to real property and are not available for
mobile home owners on rented land.
Personal exemptions that reduce the taxable value of property by $500 per exemption are
available to qualified Florida residents. Certain civilians and veterans with permanent
and/or total disabilities may qualify for 100 percent exemption from ad valorem taxes. In
addition to proof of property ownership and Florida residency, you will be asked to
provide other information specific to the exemption you are requesting. Some exemptions
have income limits. The March 1 filing deadline applies to all exemption applications.
Please call your county property appraiser's office if you think you are eligible to receive one of the following
Widow or Widower
- Married at time of spouse's death
- Not remarried
- Able to present date of spouse's death and/or death certificate
Civilian Disability (total and permanent
Blind Persons (legally blind)
(10 percent or more service-connected disability)
Organizational exemptions are granted to organizations that own and predominantly or
exclusively use their properties for exempt purposes. As is the case with all exemptions,
these are not automatic; organizations must apply for them by March 1.
Charitable, which use provides such service
of social value to the community that its interruption could result in expenditures of
Religious, for all properties owned by
churches and used for religious purposes;
Scientific, for scientific research and
Literary, including not-for-profit cultural
and arts groups;
Educational, may include property used by a
private school when the school is eligible for certain accreditation.
You may be eligible for other exemptions.
Please call your county property appraiser's office if you have questions about your particular situation.
Agricultural Use Classification
The Agricultural Use Classification, commonly
referred to as the "green belt" assessment, while not an exemption, may result
in lower property tax bills for qualified property owners. If your land is used for a bona
fide commercially viable operation producing an agricultural product that is actively
marketed, you may request an agricultural filing at the Property Appraiser's Office. For
more information, please refer to our link on The Agricultural Use Classification.
Important Dates for Exemptions
Your property's value is determined according to its status and condition, and your
residency and eligibility are established as of January 1.
January & February
The period when most people file applications for homestead and other exemptions and
Filing deadline for all exemptions and agricultural classification.
The first day for filing applications for next year.
Typical Savings with Homestead
With Homestead Exemption
Assessed Value $ 100,000
Less Homestead Exemption $ 25,000
Taxable Value $ 75,000
Times Millage Rate* x .017
Tax Due $ 1,275
Without Homestead Exemption
Assessed Value $100,000
No Homestead Exemption - 0
Taxable Value $100,000
Times Millage Rate* x .017
Tax Due $ 1,700
In this typical scenario, the property owner
with homestead exemption saves $425 in one year.
*The rate of .017 (17 mills) is offered for
illustration purposes only; the actual amount is set by taxing authorities and varies
depending on the property's location.
Answers to Questions About Exemptions
These general answers to FAQ's are provided
for your convenience and quick reference. If you need detailed information about a
specific matter, please call your county property appraiser's office.
Does the homestead exemption go with
the person or property?
The homestead exemption stays with the
property through the current year or for as long as you continue to own and occupy the
home as a permanent Florida resident. If you buy and occupy a new home as of January 1, it
is your responsibility to file a new application for your new property before March 1. In
turn, the person who purchased your home is responsible for his or her own filing to keep
receiving that property's homestead exemption.
Is it necessary to file for homestead
exemption every year?
After you receive the first homestead
exemption, it will be renewed automatically as long as you continue to own and occupy the
same residence as a permanent Florida resident.
What if I convert my home to a rental
property or otherwise change its use?
Any change, including the conversion to
rental property, that results in the residence no longer being used as your homestead, may
cause you to lose the homestead and other exemptions.
If property is owned by more than one
person, must all owners file in person?
When the owners are husband and wife, either
can file in person and only one is required to sign the application. The spouse filing the
application must supply documents establishing proof of ownership and Florida residency
for both spouses. When tenants in common and joint owners apply, every owner who resides
on the property and claims an exemption must file in person.
Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to
United States citizenship is not required for
homestead exemption. You will need to present a permanent residence visa card or other
document granting you permanent residence status dated by January 1 of the year for which
you are filing.
What if the property is held in
A homestead exemption can be granted if you
have beneficial interest or equitable title to the property and meet all other
How soon - and how much - can I
expect to benefit with homestead exemption?
Savings from an exemption begin in the first
year for which the exemption is approved. While there always are benefits attached to a
homestead exemption, exactly how much and how soon they are realized by the property owner
will depend on the millage rate that is established, adjustments that are made for current
market value, and other factors.