I have ALWAYS strongly recommended to my buyers that it would be a good idea to apply for homestead exemption on their primary residence. Some have elected not to act on that recommendation, when this task (which can now be accomplished online at BCPA.net), would have saved them thousands of dollars each and every year.
What is homestead exemption?
According to BCPA.net, “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 2010 anywhere from $688 to $1,029 (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.”
Homestead exemption caps your property taxes – which can mean big savings in the coming years to homeowners.
According to BCPA.net, you may pre-file for your 2012 exemptions or late file for 2011 exemptions (including other exemptions):
“This includes homestead, disability, widow/widower, granny flat, portability, low-income senior, and non-profit exemptions.
You may also late file now for 2011 exemptions. To be eligible for a 2011 exemption, you must be on the title (deed), make the property your permanent residence as of January 1, 2011, and must submit a complete application by the statutory September 19, 2011 late filing deadline. Note: Per Section 196.011(8), Florida Statutes, we cannot accept any exemption “late applications” once late filing deadline has closed.” You can visit BCPA.net to apply for a 2011 homestead, by simply clicking on the link to their online Homestead Application system.
If you’ve outgrown your current home, or your current home has outgrown you, perhaps it is time to purchase another home and “port” your homestead exemption to your new home: According to BCPA.net, “Florida’s “Portability” law allows property owners to transfer their “Save Our Homes” benefit earned on a previous Florida homesteaded property to a new Florida homesteaded property. If you are applying for a new homestead exemption AND you held a homestead exemption on a previous property within the last two (2) tax-years anywhere in Florida, you should also submit a Portability application with your Homestead application. Note: a Portability application transfers any tax savings you have earned, but it does NOT transfer your Homestead exemption from one property to another. You MUST first apply for a Homestead exemption in order to be eligible for Portability.”
There is a calculator on BCPA.net which will give you an estimate as to what your “portability power” will be.
Thank you, Lori Parrish and staff, for the hard work and accomplishments for making portability possible. Lori has been and continues to be such a “person for the people.” I applaud her for her fine efforts in continuing to make homes affordable – when folks were feeling “locked in” their homes because of the property tax situation.