FAQ - Low Income Senior Exemption

As Manatee County's Property Appraiser, one of my functions is to ensure that all eligible taxpayers get the full benefit of those exemptions to which they are entitled. The information provided here is a brief explanation of the  Low Income Senior Additional Homestead Exemption and what it may mean to you if you are eligible and apply by the March 1st deadline.


The Low Income Senior Homestead Exemption was approved by the voters in November, 1998, as an amendment to the Florida Constitution. The amendment authorized the legislature to pass a law allowing counties and municipalities to grant an additional homestead exemption to low income persons who are at least sixty-five (65) years of age and whose total household adjusted gross income falls beneath defined limits as outlined below.  

 

What is the Low Income Homestead Exemption for persons 65 and over?
This is an additional homestead exemption of up to $50,000 which  may be adopted by the County and Cities for qualified persons 65 and over. The Manatee Board of County Commissioners has approved an exemption of $25,000 from county millage for qualified seniors  The municipalities of Anna Maria, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach,  and Holmes Beach have also adopted an exemption from city millage on $25,000 of assessed value in addition to their standard homestead exemption. 
NOTE: This exemption will apply only to the taxes levied by those governing bodies that have adopted the exemption; school taxes and independent tax districts cannot be exempted. 

What is needed to qualify for the Low Income Senior Exemption?
1. The owner of the property must reside on the property as of January 1st of the year the application is made.
2. The eligibility requirements for the original $25,000 homestead exemption must be met.
3. An application must be made by March 1st.  Income documentation  is due by June 1st.
4. The combined household income of all persons in the home cannot exceed a specified amount.   This amount will be adjusted annually based on the percentage of change in the Consumer Price Index and will be used to determine your eligibility each year. Proof of income must be provided. Please see the brochure for the exact amount.
5. At least one of the owners must be 65 years of age or older on or before January 1 of the year the application is made with proof of age provided.
 
What determines income eligibility?
The maximum total household adjusted gross income cannot exceed a specified amount.  This amount will be adjusted annually  for the percentage of change in the Consumer Price Index.  For those who qualify and apply by the March 1st deadline, the exemption will be reflected on their Notice of Proposed Taxes.
 
What does "household mean?
"Household" means a person or group of persons living together in a room or group of rooms as a housing unit, but the term does not include persons boarding in or renting a portion of the dwelling. 

Where are the applications available?
The applications will be available mid-January of each year.  New applicants may obtain the necessary forms by contacting the Property Appraiser's Office at 941.748.8208.

The application will also be available on the appraiser's Website: www.manateepao.com mid-January of each year. Applications may be made only from January 1 through March 1.
 
What kind of income documentation is required?
State law requires that copies of any federal income tax returns, any wage and earnings statements (W-2 forms, 1099's, 1098's), and any other documents (such as bank statements) for each member of the household be provided to the Property Appraiser by June 1, of the year of application.   The Property Appraiser cannot grant the additional exemption without the required documentation.
  
NOTE: The adjusted gross income is found on the last line of the front page of the Federal Income Tax form. For those persons that do not file a federal tax return, an IRS Record of Filing (Form 4506T) which confirms that a return was not filed, and a Sworn Statement of Household Income, along with all necessary documentation will be required.
 
What proof of age is acceptable?
ONE of the following:
- A valid Florida drivers license, Florida ID card, OR Florida Voter ID,
- Certified copy of a birth certificate, or
- A marriage certificate showing full name and date of birth.

What is the application process?
If the applicant already has the regular homestead exemption, they may request that additional low income senior exemption information be sent via regular postal mail, or download the application form and instructions to file by mail.

Applicants may file via mail or in person at the Property Appraiser's office located at 915 4th Ave. W., Bradenton, Florida weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

NOTE: If the applicant does not have homestead, they must file for  Homestead Exemption and may file for the Low Income Senior Exemption, if eligible, at the same time.
 
Are there forms to fill out to qualify for the exemption?
Yes. The Low Income Senior Application form for new applicants, which includes the IRS Form 4506T are available HERE for download.