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Homestead Exemption FAQ

What is Homestead Exemption?

If you own your home, reside there permanently and are a Florida resident all as of January 1, you may qualify for Homestead exemption. Homestead can reduce your taxable value on your home as much as $50,000, saving you approximately $750, annually. More importantly, your assessed value, which is used to calculate your property taxes, can not increase more than 3% annually after you are granted the exemption.

Am I eligible to file?

You must meet the following requirements as of January 1st:

  • Have legal or beneficial title to the property, recorded in the Official Records of Orange County
  • Reside on the property
  • Be a permanent resident of the State of Florida
  • Be a United States citizen or possess a Permanent Residence Card (green card)

When do I file?

The deadline to file an application for 2015 is March 2, 2015. Under Florida law, failure to file for any exemption by March 2nd constitutes a waiver of the exemption privilege for the year.

Regular filing is January 1st - March 2nd.
Pre-filing for the coming year (2016) is March 3 - December 31, 2015.

How do I file?

Our office mails all new homeowners an exemption packet approximately 6-8 weeks after their deed is recorded in the county records. This packet includes instructions on how to apply online, by mail or in person for homestead.  You may also contact one of our customer service specialists at (407) 836-5044 to have a packet mailed to you or you may download the application on our website and mail to our office.  Please read all instructions carefully before submitting the application.

Online - Simply log-on with your User ID and Password

By mail - Be sure to fill out the application COMPLETELY, sign and enclose copies of the required documentation and mail to our Exemption Department at:

In person - Bring copies of all required documentation to our office at the above address, and we will fill the application out for you.

Where do I file?

Applications may be submitted online, by mail or in person at our main office:

RICK SINGH, CFA
Orange County Property Appraiser
Attn: Exemption Department
200 S. Orange Avenue Suite 1700
Orlando, FL. 32801
(407)836-5044 

Our office is located in the SunTrust Tower at the corner of Church St and Orange Ave. We are open 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday, except holidays.

Required Documentation

If applying by mail, you must submit a copy of the following documents

  1. Your recorded deed or tax bill.
  2. Two forms of residency is required, Florida Driver's License, if you drive; or if you do not drive, a Florida Identification Card and one of the following:
  3. Social Security numbers are required for all owners making application and their spouses, even if the spouse does not own and/or reside on the property. Preferably your card or some other document with your number.
  4. If you are not a United States citizen, your Permanent Residence (green) Card (front and back).

Special Notes:
If title to the property on which you are applying is held in a trust, a copy of the entire trust agreement must also be submitted.

If you are filing on a mobile home, proof of ownership is required for both the mobile home and the property. A "Real Property" application must also be completed. Please contact Customer Service for this form at (407) 836-5044.

What if the property is in trust?

It is necessary for the applicant to furnish the Property Appraiser's Office with a copy of the complete trust agreement and other required documentation (see "Required Documentation"). Florida law specifies those situations under which the resident may obtain Homestead exemption.

Florida law requires that the homestead applicant have legal title or beneficial title to the property.

Can I get Homestead Exemption on a mobile home?

Yes you may if you own the land and the mobile home. When applying, you must provide the title or registration to the mobile home and other required documentation (see "Required Documentation").

How long do exemptions continue?

Your exemptions may be automatically renewed each year, in January, as long as title does not change on the property and your residency status remains the same.

Florida Law requires filing a new application when any title change is made.

You are required to inform the Property Appraiser's Office of any change in ownership or use of the property. Failure to report a change in ownership or use of the property may result in a denial of any exemptions and/or a lien on the property.

Does my exemption follow me to my new home?

No.  If you move after January 1st, the exemption will continue for the remainder of the year on the property where you initially filed for exemption.

You must file a new application by March 2nd when you purchase a new residence, the exemption does not transfer with you.  

What will cause me to lose my Homestead?

 
  1. If the ownership of your homestead property changes in any way, you must re-apply for homestead exemption.  Ownership changes are transfers such as but not limited to:
    • Preparing and/or recording a deed adding a name to the property
    • Preparing and/or recording a deed removing a name from the property
    • Preparing and/or recording a deed placing your property in to a Trust.
    • Preparing and/or recording a deed placing your property in to a Life Estate

    Florida law requires that you re-apply for the Homestead exemption anytime there has been a change of ownership. You MUST re-apply by March 2nd.  Even if you have always lived there, you must re-apply!

  2. If you are moving to a new property you can not take your Homestead with you. You must file for Homestead on the new property by March 2nd.
  3. If you recently purchased a property and see a Homestead exemption listed in the property appraiser's records, STOP, it's not your exemption. You have inherited the previous owner's exemption for the current tax year.  If the property is your primary residence, you must file for your own Homestead exemption by March 2nd. You will receive information in the mail from this office on "How to File".  You can file online, by mail, or in person.
  4. If you are an heir to a property which currently has a Homestead exemption and you occupied the property as your primary residence by January 1st, you must apply for your own Homestead exemption by March 2nd.
  5. If you change your mailing address and fail to notify this office, your annual renewal receipt could be returned to our office and may cause your exemption to be denied.
  6. If you are active duty military and rent your home, you must provide this office with your new address and military orders. Failing to do this may result in your mail being returned and the exemption will be denied.
  7. If you move from the property, change the use in any manner or begin renting the property, you MUST notify our office and request the exemption be removed. Failing to notify our office could result in a lien being filed in accordance with Florida Statute 196.161 which has a 50% penalty and 15% interest per annum. Don't let this happen to you!

Please call one of our helpful customer service representatives at (407) 836-5044 with any questions you may have.

To download a homestead application, go to the "Exemptions" link on our Home Page.

PORTABILITY: Remember, if you qualify for Portability, you may take your "Save Our Homes" assessment savings (also known as your Portability amount) with you to the new property - But you must apply for it. You will need to apply for PORTABILITY by filling out a DR-501T form when you apply for the new Homestead exemption; it is a separate application which must be filed in addition to the Homestead application.