Posted on February 13, 2023 in: Guest Column
Have you filed for Homestead Exemption yet?? If not, act fast! The deadline to apply for the homestead exemption is March 1, 2023. You can file on our website at citruspa.org or come into either of our two offices in Inverness or Crystal River. Our customer service team is available to assist you with any questions you may have.
So, what is homestead exemption? In the State of Florida, a $25,000 exemption is applied to the first $50,000 of your property’s assessed value if your property is your permanent residence and you owned the property on January 1 of the tax year. This exemption applies to all taxes, including school district taxes. An additional exemption of up to $25,000 will be applied if your property’s assessed value is between at least $50,000 and $75,000. This exemption is not applied to school district taxes. The homestead exemption includes an additional benefit called the “Save our Homes Cap”. This benefit will limit the annual increase of the assessed value to 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. Over time this “Save Our Homes” cap may result in quite the difference in your Market Value vs. Assessed Value.
One thing to remember is, when a property is sold the homestead exemption is removed, the assessed value increases to the just/market value for the new year. This scenario is something we hear about frequently from homebuyers. That they weren’t aware that the tax amount would increase so dramatically, or they didn’t know they had to file for their own homestead exemption. Now, if you choose to not homestead your property, keep in mind that you will not benefit from that 3% limitation. Instead, all non-homesteaded properties annual assessment can increase up to 10% each year.
Over the last year we have made it a priority to showcase the homestead exemption as much as possible. We have even met with multiple realtors offices, holding a property appraiser informational training session for them. Our hope is that we could give the agents as much information as possible in order for them to better assist their buyers and sellers with explaining homestead or the tax amount change.
In addition to meeting with real estate agents, we post multiple social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. If you don’t follow our Citrus County Property Appraiser Office social media pages, we encourage you to do so. This month we are dedicating one week of social media posts regarding our Customer Service department and different information topics each day about that department.
We also have multiple online brochures on our website that all realtors or title companies can print off and provide to the public free of charge. We now offer an e-newsletter that each month talks about homestead exemption, as well as many other informative topics that relate to our office. In February & June each year our office mails out “new homeowner cards” to every residential parcel that has new ownership to remind them to file for their homestead exemption. Those are just a handful of ways we try to reach the public and let all homeowners know to file for the homestead exemption.
What do I need to file for a homestead? For starters you must have legal or beneficial title, and be residing in the home as of January 1, 2023. When filing for the homestead exemption, you will need the following documents for all property owners applying. Florida Driver’s License/Florida ID Card, Florida Vehicle Registration (if you drive), & Florida Voter Registration (if you vote). Documents should reflect the address of your homesteaded property. In addition, your social security card/number, immigration documents if not a U.S. citizen, are the basics that will be required.
If you are married and your spouse is not an owner on the property, we will still require their information as well. Now, if your spouse has a homestead exemption on their home and you want to apply for a homestead at your residence, unfortunately that won’t work. A married couple is only entitled to receive one homestead exemption per the Constitution of The State of Florida, Article VII, Section 6 (b).
“I already have a homestead exemption”. That’s great! Then you do not need to reapply for that exemption each year. We will renew your exemption(s) annually as long as you still qualify for them. Florida Statute 196.011 (9)(b) requires the owner to notify the Property Appraiser's office 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. A “no longer qualified” status may be due to the property being rented, is no longer your permanent residence, or there is a change in ownership due to a sale, marriage, divorce, death.
Our office makes every effort to ensure the homeowners of Citrus County understand the exemption process. The staff at the Citrus County Property Appraiser’s office are always available to answer any questions you may have in both of our offices, or chat with us during business hours on our live chat feature online at www.citruspa.org.