Per F.S.196.101, the following persons qualify for total tax exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes:
1. Any quadriplegic
2. Any paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind.
For you to be entitled to the exemption under number two (2) above, you must be a permanent resident of Florida as of January 1st of the year of assessment. Also, the prior year’s gross income of all persons residing in the homestead residence cannot exceed the annual income limitation set annually by the Department of Revenue.
In order to be granted the exemption, you must provide a statement of gross income. This must be provided annually in order to continue receiving the exemption in the following year(s). If filling for the first time, please bring a certificate from two (2) professionally unrelated licensed Florida physicians (for legal blindness, an optometrist licensed under chapter 463 may be used as one source to certify a person to be totally and permanently disabled) or a certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. You will also be required to prove homestead exemption eligibility if you are not already receiving it.
Application for all exemptions must be filed by March 1st of the year in which you wish to claim the exemption. Initial applications should be made in person at any of the Property Appraiser’s Office locations. Failure to make application by March 1st of the tax year shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year. For those applicants required to provide income, an annual statement of household income must be provided in order for the exemption to be renewed in the years following first approval. Unlike many other exemptions, you will NOT receive an automatic renewal unless you file the income statement.
***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.