Homestead and Other Exemptions

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Homestead Exemption

Benefit to Homestead Exemption

Florida law allows up to $50,000 to be deducted from the market value of a primary / permanent residence. The first $25000 of value is entirely exempt. The second $25,000 exemption applies to the value between $50,000 - $75,000 and does not include a benefit on the school tax. After receiving the homestead exemption the first year, any annual increase in the assessed value is capped at the lower of 3% or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), with certain exceptions (See Save Our Homes section). When the property is sold the homestead exemption is removed, the assessed value increases to just/market value for the New Year. When you move and make a new application for homestead exemption you will be eligible to ‘port’ all or a portion of the capped value. See Portability below for more information.

Requirements

  • The owner must have legal or beneficial title by January 1 of the year of the application.
  • The statutory filing deadline is March 1. If it falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then it would extend to the next business day. See Dates to Apply.
  • The owner must establish Hillsborough County as his/her legal domicile, reside on the subject property and be a US citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Owner must show proof of Florida residency (i.e. Driver license) A "Valid in Florida" designation on your Florida driver license is not acceptable. A Florida Identification Card with an out of state driver license is not acceptable.
  • If you are active duty military, you may qualify by providing us proof of Florida residency such as Florida driver license or LES (Leave and Earnings Statement)
  • Proof of Citizenship (i.e. voter registration or permanent resident card)
  • Owner should provide the address of the property, tax bill or deed/title.
  • Social Security numbers for your spouse and any owner who resides on the property. (FL Stat 196.011(11)).
  • If you have a mobile home, you will need your title or registration to the mobile home and the deed to the real estate. The mobile/manufactured home will need to be declared Real Property.
  • If the property is held by a Trust, the beneficiary of the trust with the right to occupy the home may also be entitled to homestead exemption. (See other important facts or FL Stat. 196.041(2)).

Required Forms:


Dates to apply

Applications are taken year round. The statutory filing deadline is March 1 with late-filed applications taken up to the 25th day after the mailing of the yearly Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM), which is typically mailed in August. After that period expires, Florida law does not permit the county property appraiser to accept an application for that calendar year.

Exemption Denial / Appeal Process

If the application for exemption is denied, an Official Notice of Denial is mailed by July 1. This notice allows you, the applicant, to appeal the denial to a third party impartial hearing officer (magistrate) hired by the Hillsborough County Value Adjustment Board. See Appeal Process for additional information.

Exemption Compliance

Our office makes every effort to ensure the homeowners of Hillsborough County understand the exemption process. Through our compliance team, if we uncover an improper homestead exemption, the homeowner could face a lien with severe penalties and interest to collect the escaped taxes due to the improper tax exemption. [FS 196.011(9)]

Florida law states it is the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Property Appraiser's office when their homestead property is no longer their permanent residence.

If a property owner fails to notify the Property Appraiser and the Property Appraiser determines that the owner was not entitled to receive Homestead Exemption, the property shall be subject to a lien for the taxes that were exempted within the prior 10 years, plus 50% penalties and 15% interest. Florida Statutes: 196.011, 196.131 and 196.161

Examples:

  • Renting out your property would likely forfeit your right to claim a Homestead Exemption.
  • If the homesteaded owner dies and the property continues to receive a Homestead Exemption in the name of the deceased owner.
  • You purchase a property and the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM) or Tax Bill continues in prior owner’s name.
  • You or your spouse is simultaneously claiming Homestead Exemption on another property.

Portability

Details & Information

Florida homeowners may transfer all or a portion of their Save Our Homes CAP to a new homestead property. Portability is subject to numerous statutory restrictions and limitations. Once you have applied for a new Homestead Exemption you should review your options for transferring your Save Our Homes Cap. Click the link below to download the application.

You cannot transfer the Cap to another person except between husband and wife or to one who is legally or naturally dependent.  A Designation of Ownership Shares will allow a couple, who were married at the time the former jointly owned homestead property was abandoned, to designate the percentage of CAP value each owner would transfer to the new homestead property. Once you file the designation with the property appraiser, it is irrevocable.

To learn more about portability, click the Frequently Asked Questions link below.

Personal Exemptions

$500 Widow / Widower

Applicant must be a permanent Florida resident and married to the deceased at the time of death. If the applicant was divorced or remarries, he/she is not eligible for this exemption. A copy of the death certificate or obituary is required.

Required Forms:

$500 Personal Disability

This exemption is available to anyone who is permanently disabled. See Florida Statute 196.202 for qualifications. This exemption is automatically renewed.

Required Forms:


$500 Blind

Every Florida resident who is blind qualifies for this exemption. If claiming exemption based on blindness, a certificate from the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the Federal Social Security Administration certifying the applicant to be blind is required. "Blind person" is defined as an individual having central vision acuity 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or a disqualifying field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter or visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than twenty degrees.

The applicant for an exemption due to blindness now has the option of having the 2 certification forms filled out by either licensed doctors or optometrists.

Required Forms:


Total and Permanent Disability

Available to any property owner in a wheelchair, blind, paraplegic, hemiplegic or quadriplegic. Also, based on household gross income. This exemption must be renewed each year with a Statement of Gross Income filed by March 1, unless it falls on a weekend or legal holiday and then it would extend to the next business day. Click Here to view the current year's income limitations.

Required Forms:



Military / Veteran

$5000 Veteran Disability

Available to any service connected disability of less than 100%. A widow of a disabled veteran may qualify, if they had been married at least 5 years. This exemption is automatically renewed. A current letter from US Government or Veteran's Affairs with percent of disability and award date is required. See form FL 27-444 from Veterans Administration.

Required Forms:

Service Connected Total and Permanent

Extended to all service connected disabled veterans with a total and permanent disability. The Exemption is inherited by the surviving spouse so long as she/he had been married to the veteran for at least 5 years at the time of the ex-service member's death and remains widowed. This exemption is automatically renewed. A current letter from US Government or Veteran's Affairs with percent of disability and award date is required. See form FL 27-333 from Veterans Administration.

Required Forms:

Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder

This is also called the “Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act” and provides for a 100% exemption on the homestead property for the surviving spouse of:

  • A military veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the US armed forces;
  • A first responder (which includes a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic employed by the state or any political subdivision of the state) who died in the line of duty.
The benefit is available for the un-remarried surviving spouse of a first responder or veteran whose death occurred prior to the January 1 effective date, as long as the surviving spouse qualifies for homestead exemption as of January 1. The first responder and surviving spouse must have been permanent residents of Florida on January 1 of the year in which the first responder died. The spouse must provide a letter from the first responder’s employer (the state, or subdivision of the state) indicating that the first responder died in the line of duty. If the spouse moves he or she may “port” a portion of the exemption. If the spouse remarries the exemption is removed.

Required Forms:

Veterans with Combat Related Disability

You will need: 

  • A copy of the most current rating decision from the Veteran’s Administration, including evidence that your disability is combat related
  • A copy of your DD – 214

For assistance with your DD 214 or the current rating for a combat related disability contact the Veterans Administration or Hillsborough County Veterans Affairs at 813-635-8316.

Required Forms:

Deployed Military Active Duty

This exemption became effective for the 2011 tax year. The exemption provides an additional tax exemption for active duty military members, reserves, the US Coast Guard and its reserves, and the Florida National Guard, who have a homestead exemption and who were deployed outside the US, Alaska or Hawaii in support of certain military operations. The exemption is based on the number of days the member was deployed the previous calendar year. This exemption does not renew and must be applied for annually as the approved operations may change every year.

Required Forms:

Senior Citizen Over 65 Low Income

Details & Info

The municipalities in Hillsborough County who have an ordinance allowing the exemption to apply on the taxes levied to that municipality are: City of Tampa (up to $50,000), Unincorporated Hillsborough County (up to $50,000) and Temple Terrace (up to $25,000). Once the homeowner qualifies and receives the Senior Citizen exemption, a renewal notice to the homeowner is sent as a reminder to provide or verify the household income each year. Applications should be made by March 1. If you do not know the total income yet for the household, apply anyway.

Qualifications

  • At least one owner is 65 years of age or older on January 1.
  • The residence must also receive homestead exemption.
  • This exemption is based on income received in the prior year. The annual household income limitation is adjusted gross income as defined by s. 62, United States Internal Revenue Code. The income threshold is adjusted annually by the percentage change in the average cost of living index.
Click Here to view the current year's income limitations

Required Forms:

Long-Term Residency

To qualify for the Long Term Residency Senior Citizen you must first meet the Homestead and Low Income Senior requirements for property with a Just Value of less than $250,000 and have maintained your permanent residence for 25 consecutive years. The exemption applies only to residents within the municipality who have an ordinance allowing the exemption to apply against taxes levied to that municipality. The municipalities who have the Long Term Residency are City of Tampa and Unincorporated Hillsborough County.

Other Exemptions

Granny Flat

For living quarters to accommodate live-in parents or grandparents. Applies to construction that occurred after January 7, 2003 to an existing homestead property, where at least one parent or grandparent maintains their primary residence. The parent/ grandparent must be at least 62 years of age. The reduction will be the assessed value of the portion added or 20% of the total assessed value, whichever is less. The construction must have added value to the property.

Required Forms:

Institutional / Charitable Exemptions

In Florida, property tax exemptions can be granted only if an organization meets the specified criteria under Florida law. Property must be owned by an exempt or not for profit entity and used exclusively or predominantly for an exempt purpose as of January 1 of the year the organization requests an exemption. The organization must file a DR-504 for exemption before March 1, and must meet the legal definition of a religious, charitable, educational, literary, or scientific use. No exemption may be granted for religious, charitable, educational, literary, or scientific use until the application has been filed with the Property Appraiser as set forth in Chapter 196, Florida Statutes.

Required Forms:


Other Important Facts:

Florida Statute 196.011(9) (b) requires the owner to notify the Property Appraiser whenever the use of the property or the status or condition of the owner changes so as to change the exempt status of the property.

Florida Statute 196.031(5) does not permit a property owner or legally or naturally dependent of the owner to avail themselves of a tax exemption in Florida and any other state.

Florida Administrative Code 12D-7.007(3) A person in this country under a temporary visa cannot meet the requirement of permanent residence or home and therefore cannot claim homestead exemption.

Sample wording required to demonstrate ownership interest when property is in a trust:

Grantor(s) reserves the right to use, occupy and reside upon any real property placed in this Trust as their permanent residence during their lives. It is the intent of this provision to retain for the grantor(s) the requisite beneficial interest and possessor right in and to such real property to comply with Florida Statute 196.041(2), such interest being hereby declared to be "equitable title to real estate" as that term is employed in Section 6, Article VII of the State Constitution.

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About HCPAFL

The Hillsborough County Property Appraiser is an elected official charged with the duty and responsibility to appraise all of the property in the County. This includes real estate and tangible personal property (the equipment, machinery and fixtures) of businesses. 

 

Important Dates