HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION

State law allows Florida homeowners to claim up to a $50,000 Homestead Exemption on their primary residence. The first $25,000 of this exemption applies to all taxing authorities. The second $25,000 excludes School Board taxes and applies to properties with assessed values between $50,000 and $75,000.

Homestead Exemption is a tax reduction allowable to homeowners who make their property their permanent residence. If approved, this exemption could reduce the taxable value of your residence by up to $50,000. The first $25,000 of this exemption applies to all taxing authorities. The second $25,000 of exemption excludes School Board taxes and applies to properties with assessed values between $50,000 and $75,000. As a result, the homeowner would enjoy a substantial savings on the taxes levied on their property by the various taxing authorities.

The year after a property is granted homestead exemption, its assessed value cannot increase more than 3% per year, or the increase in the consumer price index, whichever is lower. In 2017, the CPI is 2.1%.

Homeowners must file an initial application once they have moved into the property. The Homestead Exemption will be automatically renewed each year and a renewal receipt will be mailed to them as long as NO changes have occurred to their exemption status. (i.e. mailing address, marital status, etc.) It is, however, the responsibility of the owner to notify the Property Appraiser of any change in their exemption status. Florida law requires the filing of a new application when any title change is made.

As of January 1st, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or have a Permanent Resident Card (copy of card required)
  • be a legal resident of Seminole County (copy of Florida driver’s license with current, updated address required)
  • have recorded legal or beneficial title to the property on which you are applying
  • maintain the property as your permanent legal home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you
  • January 1st through March 1st - Regular Filing time (For the current tax year)
  • March 2nd through December 31st - Prefiling (For the upcoming tax year)

For the best service and so that you can avoid long lines at the regular filing time, we recommend prefiling your application.

File online

File in person at our office
1101 E. First Street
Sanford, FL 32771
We are open Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm. Be sure to bring all required information.

File by mail
You may download an application and submit via email to our office with copies of all required information. Please provide your name, address and Property ID number on the application where requested.
To have an application mailed to you, please call us at 407-665-7506.

IF PROPERTY IS IN A TRUST, YOU MUST HAVE LEGAL OR BENEFICIAL TITLE IN EQUITY TO REAL PROPERTY. PLEASE SUBMIT TRUST FOR REVIEW.

Remember the deadline to file is March 1st!

Proof of residency information:

  • If you drive you must provide a copy of your Florida Driver's License that reflects the address of the property for which you are seeking the exemption. A copy of your spouse's Florida Driver's License is required even if they are not on title. (If more than one person is applying for exemption, the Florida Driver's license reflecting the property address must be provided for each applicant)
  • If you do not drive you must provide the following:
    • Copy of Florida Identification card reflecting the property address
    • Affidavit of non-driver
    • Seminole County Voter's Registration or a recorded Seminole County Declaration of Domicile
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you must provide a copy of your resident alien (green) card.
  • You must provide social security numbers for all applicants, their spouse or any occupant who may be entitled to the exemption

 

LIMITED INCOME SENIOR EXEMPTION

Additional homestead exemptions of up to $25,000 are decided by the County and City commissioners. School taxes and independent tax districts (such as water management districts) cannot be waived. Seminole County Commissioners voted to allow $50,000 of assessed value be exempted for qualified Seniors from County millage. City of Altamonte Springs qualified seniors will also receive $50,000 of assessed value to be exempted from the city millage; qualified seniors residing in the City of Casselberry are entitled to $5,000 assessed value exempted from the city millage. These additional exemptions are in excess of the standard homestead exemption.
Once the property owner has the senior exemption in place, it will be automatically renewed. There is no need to contact this office unless you no longer qualify. New applicants will be exempted accordingly.

  • An application - or renewal application - must be made each year by March 1st
  • At least one owner must be 65 years of age as of January 1st in the year that the application is made
  • Adjusted Gross Income for the total household must not exceed the limit imposed by law (the annual income limit will be adjusted annually by the percentage change in the average cost-of-living index)
  • For the 2017 tax year, the 2016 Income Limit is $28,841. This income limit excludes non-taxable social security and applies to all persons living in the home, regardless of ownership
  • Applications for Senior's Exemption may not be filed until after January 1st of the qualifying year
  • For your convenience, applications with instructions are also included on the back of your automatic homestead renewal notices mailed towards the end of January
  • To have an application mailed to you, please call us at 407-665-7506
  • A completed and signed application
  • Proof of the applicant(s) age
  • Adjusted Gross Income for the total household
  • A valid Florida drivers license or Florida ID card
  • Certified copy of a birth certificate
  • A marriage certificate showing full name and date of birth
  • A valid passport
  • Any other official or certified record that demonstrates the applicant(s) true age to the satisfaction of the property appraiser
  • It means "Adjusted Gross Income" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service
  • Household income also means income that would be subject to tax if you were required to file a federal tax return
  • Social Security income is excluded UNLESS some of your social security is subject to income tax
  • Household income includes payment that you received from renters or boarders but excludes income that they earned or received
  • State law does not allow the property appraiser to grant a senior's exemption unless supporting documentation of household income is submitted with your application (includes each member of your household except renters or boarders)
  • Household income should be supported and accompanied by copies of any corresponding tax returns, wage and earnings statements (W-2 forms), 1099 forms, Social Security statements, etc


VETERAN / MILITARY EXEMPTIONS AVAILABLE

VETERAN'S DISABILITY EXEMPTION FS 196.24

The Veteran Disability Exemption provides a $5,000 reduction in the assessed value of the property for the Veteran with a ten (10) percent or more service-connected disability. To qualify for this exemption, the applicant must:
  • Be a US Citizen or have a Permanent Resident Card
  • Own the Property
  • Be a Florida Resident
  • Submit a letter from the Veteran's Administration reflecting a service-connected disability of 10% or more with an effective date prior to January 1st of the year of the application. To obtain a copy of this letter, please contact the Veteran's Administration at 1-800-827-1000 or the VA Orlando Claims Office at 407-648-6146 or visit their website at www.va.gov.

VETERAN'S TOTAL & PERMANENT DISABILITY EXEMPTION FS 196.24

The Total & Permanent Veteran Disability Exemption qualifies the honorably discharged Veteran with a 100% total & permanent service-connected disability to be tax exempt. This does not include exemption from special assessments such as garbage or street lighting. This exemption is not retro active for ad valorem purposes. This exemption may be inherited by the surviving spouse of the disabled Veteran.
To qualify for this exemption, the applicant must:
  • Have applied for and been approved for a Homestead Exemption
  • Have been honorably discharged from the military (copy of discharge required)
  • Have sustained a service-connected total & permanent disability
  • Submit a letter from the Veteran's Administration reflecting a 100% total & permanent service-connected disability with an effective date prior to January 1st of the year of the application. To obtain a copy of this letter, please contact the Veteran's Administration at 1-800-827-1000 or the VA Orlando Claims Office at 407-648-6146 or visit their website at www.va.gov.

VA 65 DISABILITY EXEMPTION FS 196.24

The VA 65 Disability Exemption is calculated from the remaining assessed value after all other exemptions have been applied and is equal to the percentage of the Veteran's permanent service-connected disability. To qualify for this exemption, the applicant must:
  • Have applied for and been approved for a Homestead Exemption
  • Be 65 years of age or older prior to January 1st (proof of age required)
  • Have been honorably discharged from the military (copy of discharge required)
  • Have sustained a service-connected disability that was combat-related
  • Submit a letter from the Veteran's Administration reflecting a "combat-related service-connected disability" of 10% or more with an effective date prior to January 1st of the year of the application. To obtain a copy of this letter, please contact the Veteran's Administration at 1-800-827-1000 or the VA Orlando Claims Office at 407-648-6146 or visit their website at www.va.gov.

OTHER EXEMPTIONS / ASSESSMENT REDUCTIONS AVAILABLE

TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED EXEMPTION FS 196.202

The Total and Permanent Disabled Exemption provides a $500 reduction in the assessed value of the property. To qualify for this exemption, the applicant must:

LIMITED INCOME TOTAL & PERMANENT DISABILITY EXEMPTION FS 196.101

A Florida resident who has been certified by two Florida licensed physicians as being quadriplegic, paraplegic, hemiplegic, legally blind or who uses a wheelchair for mobility can qualify to have his/her homesteaded residence exempted from all ad valorem taxes. All applicants for the Total and Permanent Disability Exemption must meet income guidelines, excluding quadriplegics. To qualify for the Total & Permanent Disability Exemption, the applicant must:
  • Have applied for and been approved for Homestead exemption
  • Two (2) completed Physician's Certificates (DR-416), certifying the applicant requires a wheelchair for mobility, from two (2) different licensed Florida Physicians that are not related or in the same medical practice
  • Meet eligible Household Income requirements, excluding quadriplegics (Statement of Gross Income with proofs of income is required). For the 2017 tax year, the 2016 household income must be less than $28,115. The gross income limit applies to all persons living in the home regardless of ownership.
  • The Gross Income Statement is required to be submitted each year for renewal of the disability exemption. If one is submitted, only the exemptions you qualify for will be renewed.

TOTAL & PERMANENTLY DISABLED FIRST RESPONDER EXEMPTION FS 196.102

Any real estate that is owned and used by a person who has a total and permanent disability as a result of an injury sustained in the line of duty while serving as a first responder in the State of Florida or during an operation in another state or country authorized by the State of Florida or a political subdivision of Florida is exempt from taxation if the first responder is a permanent resident of this state on January 1st of the year for which the exemption is being claimed. 

To qualify for the Total & Permanently Disabled First Responder Exemption, the applicant must:
  • Have applied for and been approved for Homestead exemption. 
  • Documentation from the Social Security Administration stating that the applicant is totally and permanently disabled AND one completed Physician's Certificate of Disability
  • An applicant that cannot obtain the medical status determination because of ineligibility for social security or medicare benefits must provide documentation to that effect from the Social Security Administration and two (2) completed Physician’s Certificates of Disability from two different Florida licensed physicians that are not related or in the same medical practice
  • An 'Employer's Certificate' that must contain (at a minimum):  The title of the person signing the certificate;The name and address of the employing entity; A description of the incident that caused the injury or injuries; The date and location of the incident; and A statement that the first responder’s injury or injuries were:  (I) Directly and proximately caused by service in the line of duty.  (II)  Without willful negligence on the part of the first responder.  (III)  The sole cause of the first responder’s total and permanent disability. It must be supplanted with documentation of the incident or event that caused the injury, such as an accident or incident report. For injuries caused by cardiac events:  the certificate must include a statement from the first responder’s treating cardiologist for cardiac events that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty  (I) was not caused by a preexisting cardiac vascular disease and (II) the nonroutine stressful or strenuous activity directly and proximately caused the cardiac event that gave rise to the total and permanent disability.

WIDOW/ WIDOWER'S EXEMPTION FS 196.202

The Widow/ Widower's Exemption provides a $500 reduction in the assessment value of the property for the surviving spouse. To qualify for the exemption, the applicant must:
  • Be a US Citizen or have a Permanent Resident Card
  • Own the property
  • Applicant must not be divorced prior to death or remarried (copy of Death Certificate required)
  • Be a Florida resident

PARENT & GRANDPARENT ASSESSMENT REDUCTION FS 193.703

Homesteaded property owners who add living quarters for a parent or grandparent can apply to have the value of this new construction or reconstruction deducted from the assessment not to exceed twenty percent of the assessed value as improved.
Qualifications and requirements:
  • Have applied for and been granted Homestead Exemption
  • The parent or grandparent must be 62 or older (proof of age as of January 1 required)
  • The parent or grandparent must be a US Citizen or have a valid Resident Alien Card
  • The living quarters must be the permanent resident of the parent or grandparent
  • Construction must be properly permitted
  • Only construction completed after January 3, 2003 qualifies
  • Construction must be properly permitted
  • Copies of permits, certificate of occupancy and building plans required
  • A renewal statement will be required each year in order to continue the assessment reduction

INSTITUTIONAL EXEMPTION FS 196

Organizations that are organized and operated for one or more of the following purpose(s): Religious, Charitable, Literary, Scientific, Sewer Water/Wastewater Systems, Educational, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, or Homes for the Special Services and wish to apply for exempt status under Chapter 196 of the Florida Statue’s must provide copies of the following information in addition to a completed application.
Qualifications and requirements:
  • An income and expense statement covering the last 12 months of operation
  • A complete copy of the Organization's most recent Federal tax return
  • A copy of a valid 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Service determination
  • A copy of a valid Consumer Certificate of Exemption from the Florida Department of Revenue issued pursuant to CHAPTER 212 Florida Statutes (aka sales tax exemption certificate)
  • A copy of the Organization's Articles of Incorporation
  • Copy of any Operating Agreements
  • Copy of Organization’s By-Laws
  • A copy of Services/ Programs offered by the organization and the cost to clients
  • Please include a list or inventory of tangible personal property (include value), i.e. Equipment and items other than real estate and licensed vehicles
  • Applicable licenses for operation
  • Copy of current lease
  • A copy any partnership agreement including amendments
  • If parcel is zoned residential, a letter from the city or county zoning department approving the use type
  • Religious Exemption also will require a copy of the Church Charter
  • Religious Exemption on vacant land - documented proof of "affirmative steps" to prepare the property for use as a house of public worship
  • A Child Care Facility requesting Educational Exemption must provide a copy of the Gold Seal Certificate
  • Educational Exemption on vacant land - documented proof of "affirmative steps" to prepare the property for use as an educational institution (including a site plan)
  • Educational Exemption requires Accreditation eligibility from Florida Counsel of Independent Schools or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Homes for the Aged are required to have licensing by the Agency for Healthcare Administration if medical facilities or nursing services are provided

PORTABILITY

Portability is the ability to transfer of the savings benefit of the homestead property assessment limitation (defined in FS 193.155, known as "Save Our Homes" (SOH) and described as the dollar difference between market value and assessed value, or the percentage thereof from one existing homestead to another new homestead property.

You apply for portability when you are applying for homestead exemption using Form DR-501T (Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference). This application is in addition to the homestead exemption application. If you have already applied for the homestead exemption, you can download the application from our website, or request a copy from our office, and submit the completed application to the Property Appraiser.

If porting your savings from another county: upon submission, the form will be sent to the Property Appraiser of your previous homestead for verification. Your previous Property Appraiser will issue a "Certificate of Portability" (DR-501R) and return the form to your new Property Appraiser for calculation of your portability benefit.

If you are upsizing (buying home with higher just market value than previous home) please refer to the following example:

  • Previous Home Valued at $400,000 and Assessed at $200,000 (SOH Value)
  • $400,000 - $200,000 = $200,000 (Portable Amount)
  • New Home Valued at $500,000 - $200,000 (Portable Amount) = $300,000 (New Assessed Value for new Home)

 

If you are downsizing (buying home with lower just market value than previous home) please refer to the following example:

  • Previous Home Valued at $400,000 and Assessed at $200,000 (SOH Value)
  • SOH Value divided by value = % eligible; $200,000 /divided by $400,000 = 50% (% eligible to "port" to new property)
  • New Home Valued at $300,000 x 50% (port %) = $150,000 (New Assessed Value for new Homestead)

 

If I owned property with another owner and they still live in my previous home can I apply for "portability"? 
The law requires the previous exemption be forfeited before you can "port" any portion of the assessment cap benefit. Meaning, the remaining owner may not receive the full benefit and must re-apply. The "port" would be a portion of the savings dependent on how many owners were on the deed.

Can I also apply for additional exemptions such as widows/widowers, disability or senior’s exemption if I use "portability"?
Yes, "portability" refers to adjusting the assessed value of the new homestead property; you may still apply for any additional exemptions that you may be eligible.

What is the maximum SOH savings benefit I can "port" to my new property?
The maximum amount you can port is $500,000.

I owned a property with my ex-spouse. I was awarded the house in the divorce. I sold it in 2007 and purchased a new home that I will homestead. My ex-spouse also purchased a new home that he will homestead. Since I was awarded the house in the divorce is my ex-spouse eligible to apply for any of the portability? And, how will the portability amount be split or divided between our new homesteads?
The new legislation requires that the portability amount be divided equally among the recipients (owners) of the homestead exemption as of January 1, 2007. All parties on the deed to the property where the portable savings resides must "abandon" the homestead prior to the "portable amount" being available to any of the parties.

I own a property that has three (3) people receiving the homestead. One owner has a 60% interest. The other two owners have a 20% interest each. If we sell and apply for portability, how will the portability amount be split or divided between our new homesteads?
The new legislation requires that the portability amount be divided equally between the new homesteads.

Can I "port" a savings from another state?
No, portability applies only if you had a State of Florida homestead exemption in 2007.

How many times in one (1) year can I use portability?
One time. Since a homestead exemption is required in order to transfer a portable benefit, you must reside in the new home on or before 1/1/2008 (or January 1 of a future year). If you sold your home in 2008 and established a new homestead on or before 1/1/2009, you could technically "port" your savings again for the 2009 homestead.

I owned a property with another person. I moved and established another homestead; however, they still live in the original property. Can I transfer or "port" my SOH benefit to my new homestead?
No, the law requires the previous exemption be "abandoned" before you can port any of the Save Our Homes benefit. Meaning, another person can’t still be receiving the old exemption.