IMPORTANT: It is the responsibility of the homeowner to notify the Property Appraiser’s Office promptly if anything changes in regards to your homestead status. If a homeowner fails to notify the Property Appraiser timely, the property owner can be back taxed up to 10 years of exempted tax plus 15% interest per annum and a penalty of 50% of the taxes exempted. (F.S. 196.011)
Examples of Changes in Status
- Partial Rental – if you rent out a part of your primary residence, you may get a prorated exemption for the part you occupy.
- Rental Property – does not qualify for Homestead Exemption. Other exemptions might apply.
- Duplex – If you are receiving income from part of the property, only the part which is your primary residence may receive the Homestead Exemption. You may claim exemption for the entire property as long as you are not receiving any rental income.
- Refinance – refinancing does not require you to re-file an exemption application. Changes in title may, however, necessitate a new application. If you are not sure if you should file an application, it is recommended that you file an application listing all residing owners and the property appraisal office will keep a record of the application. In the event it is determined a
new application was required, a new homestead exemption will be applied to the property if all other eligibility requirements are met.
- Title Changes – Changes in ownership may affect your homestead status. If you are adding or removing someone from ownership or moving your property into a trust, please contact the Property Appraiser to discuss these changes.
- Inheritance – If an owner passes away after January 1, then the exemption may be inherited for that year.
- For the exemption to be inherited under these circumstances the property must have been the permanent residence of the decedent as of January 1.
- The inherited exemption will only be applicable until the next January 1. The new owner must then file an original application for their Homestead Exemption.
- In some cases, you may have to notify the Property Appraisal Department if a property owner has passed away to cancel the Homestead Exemption.
- Probate – You should file your Homestead Exemption application immediately even if you are waiting to receive the Order Determining Homestead from the courts.
- The Order Determining Homestead may be retroactive but the Homestead Exemption is not retroactive if you do not file by March 1.
- Voter’s Registration – changing your voter’s registration from Monroe County to another county or State will impact your homestead status. If you will be out-of-town during an election, vote by mail or absentee ballot.
Widow or Widower Exemption
The Widow/Widower Exemption (Florida Statute 196.202) provides a $5,000 (Effective January 1, 2023) reduction in the assessment of a property occupied by the surviving spouse.
In order to qualify for the Widow/Widower exemption, you must:
- be a permanent Florida resident and
- be a widow or widower on January 1st.
The Widow/Widower Exemption is not applicable to:
- Spouses who remarry
- Spouses who divorce before death
You may be asked to provide a copy of the spouse’s death certificate when filing for the first time. If approved, this exemption will renew automatically every year, as long as the use of the property and/or the ownership status does not change.