Are You Getting All Your Florida Property Tax Breaks?

Make sure you're not paying more in Florida property taxes than you have to.

As you’re no doubt painfully aware, your Florida home is subject to local property taxes – year in and year out. Of course, you want to make sure that you’re not overpaying. So how can you reduce your property tax burden?

There are two main ways. The first method is available to all homeowners. The second depends on whether you meet certain qualifications. If you meet those qualifications, you can seek tax relief using both methods.

Method #1 – Appeal the Taxable Value of Your Home

You may know that the Florida authorities compute your property tax by multiplying your home’s taxable value by the tax rate.

Example: The tax appraiser has placed a taxable value of $200,000 on the Petersons’ home. If the tax rate is 1%, the Petersons will owe $2,000 in property tax.

If you can reduce the taxable value of your home, your property tax bill will be lower.

Example: The Petersons appeal the $200,000 taxable value of their home. The appeals board reduces that value to $150,000. Now, the Petersons owe only $1,500 in property tax.

If you believe that the tax appraiser has misjudged the value of your home – or if the taxable value is higher than that of similar homes in your area – you might want to pursue an appeal.

Method #2 –Get All the Tax Breaks You’re Entitled To

Florida allows for reduced property taxes if the homeowner meets certain requirements. The chief programs in Florida are summarized here.

  • Primary home (homestead). Up to $75,000 of your home’s value is exempt from property tax. The local tax authorities may grant an additional exemption of up to $50,000 for low-income senior citizens. And there’s an additional exemption of 15% of your home’s next $300,000 in value.
  • Construction for older family member. If you construct living quarters in your home for a parent or grandparent who is at least 62 years old, the added value of your home is exempt from property tax.
  • Exemption for longtime residents. If you’re 65 years old or older, and have had a permanent Florida residence for at least 25 years, you may be entitled to a 100% exemption. Your eligibility depends on the county or city where you live, and having an income below a specified limit. This exemption applies only if your home is worth less than $250,000.
  • Deployed service member. If you were deployed in U.S. military service during the tax year, you may qualify for an additional homestead exemption. The amount depends on how many days you were deployed.
  • Surviving spouse of person killed in military service. There’s a homestead exemption if you’re the surviving spouse of military person who died from service-connected causes, or were married to a first-responder who was killed in the line of duty.
  • Disabled veteran. In addition to the usual homestead exemptions, you may qualify for a tax discount if you’re 65 years old or older, and have a disability that’s wholly or partly due to combat.
  • Other disabled people. If you’re blind, or totally and permanently disabled, you qualify for a $500 exemption from Florida property taxes.

Contact your local tax appraiser for complete details on these and other Florida exemptions, including any required forms you need to complete and the deadline for filing those forms. You can get contact information for the tax appraiser’s office in your county from the Florida Department of Revenue.

Depending on the complexity of your situation, you may want to seek legal help. To find an experienced real estate lawyer in Florida, check out Nolo’s Lawyer Directory.

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