Have you filed for your homestead exemption yet?

It’s the beginning of the year, which means it’s time to think about applying for your homestead exemption if you bought a property last year or made any changes to the title of your property as the deadline to file is MARCH 1.

Remember, to qualify for your exemption, you need to have lived in the property as of January 1 of this year, the home must be your primary residence, and you can’t have any other homesteads. If you do qualify in Florida, you’ll get a $50,000 exemption on your property tax bill.

But there’s another component to the exemption that we find more exciting: the Save Our Homes Amendment, which put a 3% cap on how much your assessed value could raise every year. If you look up your property on your county’s property appraiser website (ocpafl.org here in Orange County), you’ll see two values for each year: your market value and your assessed value. Your market value will still rise with the market, but the assessed value can’t increase more than 3% each year. This helps prevent people from being taxed out of their neighborhoods as areas improve and prices increase. The difference between the Market Value and the Assessed Value is your Save Our Homes savings.

“Don’t forget to file for your exemption or you could lose a lot of potential savings.”

The best part is when you sell your home in Florida and move to another home, you can actually port the Save Our Homes portion of your tax savings. There are a few qualifying factors to do that, however: The next home must have a market value equal to or greater than the one you sold, or else you can still port the savings, but it will be proportional to the value. And you’ll need to establish your new homestead within 3 years of selling your home. (Remember: that’s 3 years from January 1 of the year you sold your home. Not 3 years from the date of the sale. So a December sale would leave you with 2 years to establish a new homestead.)

Your local county property appraiser’s website will have answers to a lot of frequently asked questions about the Save Our Homes Amendment and Portability. (For Orange County, check out: https://www.ocpafl.org/Content/Dynamic/File.dynamic/FID/149813/)

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to speak with you and help save you some money in the future.