Many readers have bought or sold a home this past year. I wanted to take a moment to remind each of you about Florida's Homestead Exemption. According to Florida's Department of Revenue, "Every person who resides on real property in Florida on January 1 and makes the property his or her permanent residence is eligible to receive a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes, including school distrcit taxes. The additional exemption up to $25,000 applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes."
The deadline to file to qualify for a 2015 deduction is March 1. However, the state urges people to file as soon as you own, occupy and make the home your legal residence. In Pinellas County, you may file online or at one of their offices. You will need certain evidence of residency. Please visit the Pinellas County Property Appraiser Office for more information.
If you received a TRIM notice after purchasing your home and it shows a homestead exemption, that is the the exemption granted to the previous owner and will be removed December 31, so please remember, homestead exemptions do not carry over from owner to owner. The exemption carries over from year to year for the same owner given that you continue to occupy, own and make that residence your permanent home. It is your responsibility to notify the Property Appraiser's office if you no longer qualify for your homestead exemption.
You will no longer qualify for your homestead exemption if your property is "sold or otherwise disposed of, if the property has been rented, when ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her homestead or when the status of the homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to change the exempt status of the property. 196.011 (9) (a) F.S."
Real estate is complex, but I like to take the mystery out of it for my clients! The beginning of a new year is always a popular time to evaluate your living situation. It would be my pleasure to work with you to purchase a new home, or to sell a property which has served you well but no longer meets your needs.