Is it True that Senior Citizens will receive a Greater Homestead Tax Exemption in 2017?

The Florida homestead exemption has three separate components; creditor protection, real property tax exemptions and limitation on devise and descent. As most people know, Florida allows for unlimited homestead creditor protection as long as the home is the recipient’s primary residence and located on one-half acre or less within a municipality or 160 acres outside of a municipality. Here, we will focus on the new revisions to the real property tax exemption.

This year, the homestead tax exemption for low-income senior citizens living in Florida was raised from $25,000.00 to a maximum of $50,000.00. However, it isn’t automatic for every county. A board of county commissioners or the governing taxing authority of a municipality may now adopt an ordinance to allow an additional homestead exemption of up to $50,000.00. For instance, Broward County recently passed an ordinance increasing the additional exemption for the County portion of the property tax bill. The taxing authorities of the following municipalities have also adopted the additional exemption: Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Gardens, Palmetto Bay, Miami, Town of Lantana and Palm Beach County. Other localities reserve the right to adopt the full exemption amount or any portion of it. Therefore, it is very important to contact your local Property Appraiser’s office to determine whether you qualify for the additional homestead tax exemption.

In order to qualify, a recipient must be aged 65 or older as of January 1, 2017 and already have homestead filed on their current residence. The recipient must also have a combined household adjusted gross income for 2016 not exceeding $28,482.00. Certain forms, depending on the Property Appraiser’s office must be filed by the deadline of March 1, 2017 in order to take advantage of the additional homestead.

Individuals who believe they qualify are urged to contact their local Property Appraiser’s office. If you aren’t sure, feel free to contact our office and speak to one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.