Homestead exemptions are one of the many advantages of owning a primary home in Florida. Along with a slew of other exemptions, Florida offers Save Our Homes. SOH limits the increase of the assessed value of a qualifying homestead property. It limits the increase to 3% or the consumer price index, whichever is less. SOH was established to prevent long-time residents from being forced from their homes due to high property taxes.
To take advantage of the exemptions, one must have legal title on their primary residence as of January 1. This homestead exemption entitles the owner to a reduction of up to $50,000 on the assessed value of the dwelling. Additionally, the Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption was established in Collier County, adding an additional exemption of up to $50,000. Seniors must apply for this exemption by June 1 and it is dependent on their adjusted gross income.
Disabled Veterans, deployed military, surviving spouses of military veterans, or first responders killed in the line of duty are also entitled to an additional exemption of up to $5,000. A $500 exemption is also offered to Florida residents who are totally and permanently disabled or blind. Any homestead property used by a quadriplegic could be exempt from taxation. A widow or widower is entitled to an additional $500 exemption; if they were to remarry, they would lose that exemption. In 2022, voters passed a measure allowing state lawmakers to increase property tax exemptions for public workers. All of the forms and rules are located on the Collier County Property Appraiser’s website. www.collierappraiser.com
The Save Our Homes (SOH) 3% cap limits the increase on the assessment of homesteaded properties. This benefit only applies to those properties with a homestead exemption (primary residence). The land value plus the improved value equals the market value. You reduce the market value by the SOH exemption amount giving you the assessed value. The assessed value is what all other exemptions and taxes are based on.
Interestingly, the SOH benefit was made portable; meaning, you are able to transfer up to $500,000 of your actual SOH exemption value to a new Florida homesteaded property. Additionally, one could purchase a new primary residence in Florida and port the SOH exemption. The original home does not have to be sold, it can become a second home or investment property. In case of divorce, the ex-spouses can split the portability shares as part of their agreement.
These are just a few of the financial benefits of making Florida your primary residence.