FAQ - Exemptions & Save Our Homes

What is homestead exemption?

Homestead exemption is a constitutional guarantee that reduces the assessed value of residential property up to $25,000 for qualified permanent residents. 

What is the additional homestead exemption?
Amendment 1 passed in January 2008 providing for an additional homestead exemption of up to $25,000 to home owners whose homes have an assessed value of more than $50,000. This additional exemption does not apply to the school board millage.

When may a homeowner apply for homestead exemption?
The legal owner is urged to file as soon as they occupy the residence and they have proof of Florida residency. The homeowner must establish permanent Florida residency on or before January 1, and apply on-line or in person at the Property Appraiser’s office no later than the March 1 deadline of the year the exemption is to begin. Our office preference is that the owner files the application on-line. However, the homestead application and instructions may be mailed to the property owner upon request or may be printed from our website at www.manateepao.com. Your initial homestead application will also serve as the application for the additional homestead exemption.

Am I able to file for my homestead exemption online?
Yes, you may file for your homestead exemption using the link provided on our website.

What information is needed to file for the property owner’s first homestead exemption?
a) A deed or tax bill if the property is not yet in the applicant’s name. If you are filing on-line, the property must be in your name prior to beginning your on-line application.

b) All of the following information is utilized to establish proof of residency on or before January 1 for all owners who occupy the property no later than the March 1 deadline:

1) Social security numbers.
2) Florida driver’s licenses or Florida identification cards for non-drivers.
3) Florida vehicle tag number(s) on all vehicles privately owned.
4) Manatee County Voter's Registration card or Declaration of Domicile.
5) Resident Alien Card if not a US Citizen.
6) Copy of the entire trust agreement, or a recorded memorandum of trust, if property is held in a trust.

If the applicant does not possess all these items, they may call us for further information.
Please Note: Our office may request further information to verify an applicant’s status 

Can a home be rented and still benefit from homestead exemption?
Rental of a primary residence on January 1 constitutes abandonment of homestead exemption. Please contact our office for additional information and statutory requirements regarding rental of homestead property.  

Is a mobile home eligible for homestead exemption?
Yes, if the mobile home and land on which it is permanently affixed are both owned by the applicant.

When applying, it is necessary to mail a copy or bring in the title or registration to the mobile home in addition to the residency documentation.  

Does a homeowner have to be a United States citizen to qualify?
Citizenship is not required to file for homestead exemption. An applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must mail or present a copy of both sides of their permanent resident alien card.   
  
If the homeowner’s spouse is deceased, are they eligible for a widow’s or widower’s exemption?
Yes. If the homeowner is a qualified Florida resident they may apply for the widow’s or widower’s exemption. This may be applied for by mail or in person. A copy of the death certificate may be required.
  
When a new residence is purchased, is the homestead exemption transferred to the new home?
No. Exemptions are not transferred. For a homeowner to receive the exemption on their new home, they must qualify and apply either by mail or in person at the property appraiser’s office by the March 1 deadline. If the application is mailed, it must be postmarked no later than the March 1 deadline.  

If a home is purchased which has a homestead exemption, will that exemption continue?
The new owner will receive the benefit of the previous owner’s exemption only for that year. However, the new homeowner must apply by mail or in person by March 1 of the next year to continue the exemption.  

What if the property is in a trust?
In these cases, it is necessary for the applicant to furnish this office with a copy of the entire trust agreement or a recorded memorandum of trust. Florida law specifies those situations under which the resident may obtain homestead exemption. The Florida Constitution requires that the homestead claimant have a legal title or beneficial title in equity to the property.  
  
Are there other tax exemptions?
Yes. Qualified Florida residents may also apply for medical, disabled veterans, total and permanent disability, quadriplegic, blind, wheelchair confined, service connected disability, widow’s or widower’s and low income senior exemptions. Instructions and forms can be obtained by printing them from our website by clicking on the following: Homestead Application and Instructions  or by calling 941.748.8208. Our office may be contacted for additional information regarding filing requirements.    

What is Save Our Homes?
Amendment 10, also known as “Save Our Homes,” is a Constitutional Amendment that was approved by Florida voters in 1992 as a result of a citizen’s initiative. Basically, it limits, or caps the annual increase in assessed value of property that has a homestead exemption. The increase cannot exceed the lesser of 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous year. Furthermore, in no event can the assessed value be greater than the market value.  
  
When does Save Our Homes take effect?
The base year is the year in which the property owner qualifies and receives their homestead exemption. Future increases in assessed value are then capped at the lesser of 3% or the CPI. 

FOR EXAMPLE: if a person bought a home and applied for homestead exemption in June 2012, the exemption would take effect January 1, 2013. Therefore, 2013 becomes the base year. The property would then be subject to the cap for the first time in 2014.  
  
Are there any reasons that would cause the cap to be removed?
Yes. If the home is sold or if the homeowner no longer qualifies for homestead exemption on the property (e.g. the house is rented), the exemption and capped value will remain effective through December 31st. As of January 1st of the following year, both the exemption and the cap will be removed and the assessed value restored to the full market value. If the new owner is eligible for a homestead exemption, the capping process begins at the current market value as soon as the new owner qualifies for the homestead exemption.  

NOTE: Please remember, the homestead exemption is granted only if the homeowner qualifies. However, if the homeowner moves, the exemption will remain on the property through the end of the year before being removed. If another home is purchased that has an existing homestead exemption, the exemption will remain in effect until December 31st. To maintain a homestead exemption on newly acquired property, the new owner must apply by March 1st of the year following the purchase of the home. This will start the Save Our Homes cap process for the new owner.  
  
What about partial exemptions and the cap?
The cap only applies to the portion of the property receiving homestead exemption. For example, if a property owner lives in a duplex where one side is rented, only half the value will receive the cap. Since there are many circumstances where a partial exemption may apply, we urge the property owner to contact the Property Appraiser’s office for clarification should the property fall into this category.  

What about additions or remodels?
The value of additions, remodels, etc. will be added to the capped value at the current market value and will be under the cap the next year. Example: If a pool is added, the assessed value will increase by the value of the pool in the first year and will be capped with the rest of the property the following year.  

 

Additional Information

Note: When purchasing a new home that is benefiting from the Save Our Homes cap, it can be expected that property taxes may increase the next year because the assessed value must be adjusted to equal current market value.

Exemptions Department
Office Location:
915 4th Ave. W.
Bradenton, FL 34205

Phone: 941.748.8208
Fax: 941.742.5664
e-mail: exemptions@manateepao.com
OFFICE HOURS: 8:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
MONDAY – FRIDAY 
(EXCLUDING HOLIDAYS)