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Your Permanent Residence for the Homestead Tax Exemption

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June 12th, 2020

Posted in IRS & Tax Information,Real Estate Law

As most Florida homeowners know, the Florida Constitution provides for a valuable homestead tax exemption. In general, to qualify for this exemption under Section 196.031 of the Florida Statues, you must have legal or beneficial title to your home and in good faith make the home your “permanent residence” as of January 1st.  Determining whether you make the home your “permanent residence” can be complicated for those who have multiple homes or sometimes rent the home on occasion.

Section 196.012(17) of the Florida Statutes defines a permanent residence as “that place where a person has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment to which, whenever absent, he or she has the intention of returning. A person may only have one permanent residence at a time.” Section 196.015, Florida Statutes allows the property appraiser to consider the following factors in determining whether your residence is your primary residence:

(1)    A formal declaration of domicile by the applicant recorded in the public records of the county in which the exemption is being sought.

(2) Evidence of the location where the applicant’s dependent children are registered for school.

(3) The place of employment of the applicant.

(4) The previous permanent residency by the applicant in a state other than Florida or in another country and the date non-Florida residency was terminated.

(5) Proof of voter registration in this state with the voter information card address of the applicant, or other official correspondence from the supervisor of elections providing proof of voter registration, matching the address of the physical location where the exemption is being sought.

(6) A valid Florida driver license issued under s. 322.18 or a valid Florida identification card issued under s. 322.051 and evidence of relinquishment of driver licenses from any other states.

(7) Issuance of a Florida license tag on any motor vehicle owned by the applicant.

(8) The address as listed on federal income tax returns filed by the applicant.

(9) The location where the applicant’s bank statements and checking accounts are registered.

(10) Proof of payment for utilities at the property for which permanent residency is being claimed.

The above factors can provide guidance but are not conclusive. If your homestead exemption is denied by the property appraiser or if you are not sure whether you should claim it or not, contact us or another qualified professional.

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