Per F.S.196.011(a), every person who, on January 1, has the legal title or beneficial title in equity to real property in this state and who resides thereon and in good faith makes the same his or her permanent residence is entitled to an exemption up to the assessed valuation of $25,000 on the residence and contiguous real property.
REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION
1. Are you a United States citizen? If not, a Resident Alien card or letter from INS stating approval and pending issuance is required (per Florida Courts: Alcime v. Bystrom; Juarrero v. G. McNayr; and Lisboa v. Dade County Property Appraiser, Dade County Tax Collector and Florida Department of Revenue).
2. Are you receiving exemption or other residency benefits for any other residence? Per the Florida Constitution (VIII) (6) (b), each individual or family unit is entitled to ONE homestead exemption. If you or your spouse claim(s) residency at another location in Florida or in another state or benefit(s) from a tax credit or exemption on property you own at another location in Florida or in another state, you are not eligible to file for homestead exemption in St. Johns County unless or until the other exemption/benefit is relinquished.
3. Did you live on the property on January 1st? Per F.S. 196.031, eligible filers must reside on the property on January 1st of the filing year.
4. Do you have proofs of residency for the homestead address? The Property Appraiser is required to verify permanent residency of each applicant. F.S.196.015 sets forth a list of criteria that may be requested by the Property Appraiser. When requested, the information must be provided by EACH applicant. [If you are married and your spouse resides on the property, you BOTH must complete an application even if your spouse is not listed on the deed. If you are legally married but totally separated from your spouse, you MUST provide proof of separate family unit status when you file for homestead exemption (AG0 75-146 and AGO 2005-0060). The following information will be requested of ALL filers:
1. Recorded deed or tax bill for subject property.
2. Florida driver’s license reflecting correct homestead address. (Please visit the Tax Collector's web site for NEW driver's license requirements.) If you do not drive, a Florida I.D. card at that address is required. (If you hold a driver’s license, it must be issued in Florida.)
3. Florida voter’s registration card with homestead address on it OR a Declaration of Domicile* (available at the Clerk of Courts Office-SJC Courthouse).
4. Social security number(s) for all owner(s) filing for homestead exemption on this property. If you are married, Florida Statute 196.011 (1)(b) requires that you provide both social security numbers EVEN IF YOUR SPOUSE DOES NOT LIVE ON THE HOMESTEAD PROPERTY.
5. Florida vehicle registration (tag number) OR a Declaration of Domicile if you do not own a vehicle. (If you own a vehicle, it must be registered in Florida to meet the homestead criteria.)
6. Statement of previous permanent residency by the applicant(s) in a state other than Florida or in another country and the date non-Florida residency was terminated.
7. Place of employment.
8. The address as listed on federal income tax returns filed by each applicant.
Should the Property Appraiser feel there has not been sufficient support for residency to be determined from the above, the following items may also be requested:
1. Evidence of the location where the applicant's dependent children are registered for school.
2. The location where the applicant's bank statements and checking accounts are registered.
3. Proof of payment for utilities at the property for which permanent residency is being claimed.
The following are ALSO required when applicable:
1. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, in addition to your Resident Alien card, you MUST file a Declaration of Domicile.
2. If your homestead property is a mobile home, you MUST provide the mobile home registration(s).
3. If your homestead property is owned by a trust, you MUST provide this office a complete copy of your trust so that we can confirm beneficial title as set forth in F.S.196.031 and F.S.196.041.
1. Have you changed the way you hold title to your homestead property? Reapplication is required after any transfer of ownership. Please be aware that ANY CHANGE to the title of homestead exempt property may result in the loss of your existing homestead exemption and/or the associated Amendment 10 (Save Our Homes) cap per F.S.193.155.
2. Are you eligible for any other exemptions? Please contact the Property Appraiser if you think you may be eligible for additional exemptions (i.e. Civilian or Service-connected Disability, Widow(er)'s, Over 65 Exemption, Granny Flats, etc.). All claims for exemption must be filed by March 1st.
***IMPORTANT WARNING***IMPORTANT WARNING***
Per F.S.196.131(2), “Any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming homestead exemption as provided for in this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by fine not exceeding $5,000, or both." Additionally, per F.S.196.161, if the Property Appraiser learns that for any year or years within the prior 10 years a person not entitled to the exemption was granted it, the Property Appraiser shall place a notice of tax lien in the public records of the county for the property and the lien shall be for the taxes incorrectly exempted plus a penalty of 50 percent of the unpaid taxes for each year and 15 percent interest per annum.