If you still need to file for homestead exemption, Wednesday, March 1, is your last day to do so.
"This exemption is intended to reduce your property tax bill and save you up to $750 each year,” Orange County Property Appraiser Amy Mercado said.
Florida law allows homeowners to apply for a $25,000 homestead exemption used to the first $50,000 of the assessed value of your property. This applies to anyone who has legal or equitable title to real property and maintains it as his or her permanent residence. This exemption applies to all taxes, including those from school districts.
There are four requirements to be eligible for a homestead exemption, which must be met as of Jan. 1 of the year that the exemption is requested.
“The requirements are to have a legal or beneficial title to the property recorded in the Official Records of Orange County; reside in the property permanently; be a permanent resident of the state of Florida; and be a U.S. citizen or possess a Permanent Resident Card,” Mercado said.
Mercado said there is an additional homestead exemption of up to $25,000, which applies if the assessed value of a property is between $50,000 and $75,000. The additional homestead exemption applies automatically once the homestead exemption is approved.
The exemption on a property will renew automatically each January — as long as the title does not change on the property and the homeowner continues to reside in that home, Mercado said.
However, Florida law requires a new application when a title change occurs.
“The exemption does not move with you," Mercado said. "If you move after Jan. 1, the exemption may continue for the remainder of the year on the property where the exception was initially filed. A new application must be submitted when moving to a new residence. Florida law allows you to transfer up to $500,000 of your accumulated savings from one homestead property to another anywhere in Florida. This provision is known as portability."
In addition to the homestead exemption, Mercado said the Save Our Homes law also helps thousands of Florida homeowners save money on their property taxes by limiting the assessed value from increasing to a maximum of 3% per year.
Florida property owners also may be eligible for additional exemptions and benefits, including exemptions for limited-income seniors, widows and widowers, persons with disabilities, veterans, deployed military service members, fallen heroes in the line of duty, and properties with specialized uses.