Seniors - Long Term Residency Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act
Homestead exemption is a constitutional benefit of a $50,000 exemption from the property's assessed value. It is granted to those applicants with legal or beneficial title in equity to real property as recorded in official records who are bona fide Florida residents living in a dwelling and making it their permanent home on January 1 of the taxable year. The first $25,000 is entirely exempt. The second $25,000 is to be applied to the value between $50,000 and $75,000, and does not include school taxes. For example: If a home's assessed value is $75,000 or more, the owner would receive the full $50,000 exemption benefit. If the property value is between $50,000 and $75,000, he or she would receive a pro-rated exemption amount. (Example: If the property value is $65,000, the additional exemption would be $15,000, for a total exemption amount of $40,000 (the original $25,000 plus the prorated amount of $15,000.)) The exemption results in approximately a $500 - $800 property tax savings to Florida residents.
When you purchase a home and want to qualify for an exemption, you may file online or in person at one of our offices. You may file anytime during the year, but before the state's deadline of March 1 for the tax year in which you wish to qualify. However, you are urged to file AS SOON AS POSSIBLE once you own, occupy and make that home your legal residence.
If you purchased your property after January 1, and your TRIM Notice reflects a homestead exemption, this is an exemption which was granted to the prior owner, and will be removed on December 31. If you wish to qualify for an exemption for the following year, you must file an original application in one of our offices by March 1.
If you received your homestead exemption for the previous year and still occupy, own, and make that residence your permanent home, a receipt will be mailed to you early in January. You need to notify the Property Appraiser's office if you no longer qualify for these exemptions or you wish additional exemptions.
YOU NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR YOUR EXEMPTION IF: Property granted an exemption is sold or otherwise disposed of, if the property has been rented, when ownership changes in any manner, when the applicant for homestead exemption ceases to use the property as his or her homestead, or when the status of the owner changes so as to change the exempt status of the property. 196.011 (9) (a) F.S.
Bring evidence of residency and qualifications for all owners, including spouses, when filing:
Florida Automobile Registration and Driver License
If registered to vote, your Pinellas County Voter ID card or number Permanent Resident Card or other evidence of permanent resident status (for non-US citizens)
Proper certification for a disability exemption
A death certificate or obituary notice for widow's/widower's exemption Social security numbers for all owners and spouses (required even if spouses are separated or if only one is on the deed)
NOTE: Disclosure of your social security number is mandatory. It is required by section 196.011(1), Florida Statutes. The social security number will be used to verify taxpayer information, homestead exemption information submitted to Property Appraisers.
Any widow or widower who is a permanent Florida resident may claim this exemption. If the widower or widow remarries he or she is no longer eligible. If the husband and wife were divorced before the death, the person is not considered a widow or widower. You will be asked to provide a death certificate when filing.
Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled Persons -Any real estate used and owned as a homestead less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes by any quadriplegic shall be exempt from taxation.
Any real estate used and owned as a homestead less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes by a paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person, as defined in Section 196.012(10), F.S., who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind, shall be exempt from taxation. A person entitled to the Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled Persons must be a permanent resident of the State of Florida as of January 1 of the year of assessment. Also, the prior year gross income of all persons residing in or upon the homestead shall not exceed a specified amount. Contact the Property Appraiser's office for the current year's amount. Gross income shall include Veterans Administration (if applicable) and any social security benefits paid to the persons. If filing for the first time a notarized statement of gross income and a certificate from two licensed Florida physicians or the Veterans Administration, stating the disability is total and permanent with mobility by wheelchair, must accompany the application..
Service-Connected Total and Permanent Disability Exemption
Any honorably discharged veteran with service-connected total and permanent disabilities is entitled to exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes.
Persons entitled to this exemption must have been a permanent resident of this state as of January 1 of the year of assessment.
Under certain circumstances the benefit of this exemption can carry over to the veteran's spouse in the event of his or her death. Consult the Personal Exemption Division at (727) 464-3294 for more details.
If filing for the first time, please bring proof of your service-connected disability, such as a letter from the U.S. Government or the United States Veterans' Administration.
$5000 Veteran's Disability
A $5000 exemption is available on property owned by an honorably discharged veteran with a service connected disability of 10% or greater. This is in addition to the $50,000 homestead exemption. The applicant is required to be a permanent and legal resident of Florida.
To qualify, the applicant must present a letter or certificate of disability from the United States Government or the United States Veteran’s Affairs that indicates that the person is an honorably discharged veteran with a service connected disability of 10% or greater as of January 1st of the year of application.
Exemption for Disability ($500)A $500 exemption is available on property owned by a 100% totally and permanently disabled person who does not use a wheelchair for mobility and/or whose income is over the statutory limit for total tax exemption. This is in addition to the $50,000 homestead exemption, resulting in a total exempt amount of $50,500. The exemption is available on any or all property owned by the applicant, and also applies to tangible personal property, such as mobile home attachments. The property owner is required to be a permanent and legal resident of Florida.
To qualify, the applicant must present a letter from his or her licensed Florida physician or the Social Security Administration stating that he or she has a 100% total and permanent disability. A letter from the Veteran's Administration is also acceptable if the letter states that the disability is non-service connected (A service connected disability is another type of exemption. See Veteran's Disability following). If needed the Department of Revenue form is available for the applicant to have signed by his or her doctor.
Exemption for Blind Persons - $500
A $500 exemption is available on property owned by a blind person whose income is over the statutory limit to qualify for total tax exemption. This is in addition to the $50,000 homestead exemption, resulting in a total exempt amount of $50,500. The property owner is required to be a permanent and legal resident of Florida. The applicant must present a letter from his or her licensed Florida Physician, the Veteran’s Administration, the Social Security Administration or the Division of Blind Services that he or she is legally blind. A blind person is defined as a person who is “certified by the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education or the Federal Social Security Administration or United States Department of Veterans Affairs to be blind. As used herein "blind person" shall mean an individual having central vision acuity 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses or a disqualifying field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter or visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than twenty degrees.”
Surviving Spouse of a Disabled Veteran
Can you answer YES to ALL of these questions?
- Did your spouse have a service-connected disability of 10% or greater?
- Was your spouse honorably discharged?
- Was your spouse a permanent resident of Florida at the time of death?
- Were you married to the Veteran for at least 5 years at the time of death?
If you have NOT remarried, and answered yes to all of the above, you may be eligible to receive an exemption of $5000 from the assessed value of your property. You must apply on or before March 1st and supply:
- A copy of the veteran's death certificate or obituary, AND
- Evidence of your marriage for at least the 5 years prior to the veteran's death, AND
- Evidence that the veteran was a permanent Florida resident at the time of death, AND
- A copy of the veteran's most current rating decision from the VA
Questions? Please call our Exemptions Department at (727) 464-3294.
You must apply ON OR BEFORE MARCH 1st!
Exemption for the Surviving Spouse of a Veteran who died on active dutyThe surviving spouse of a veteran who died of service-connected causes while on active duty is entitled to be exempt from taxes if:
- The veteran was a permanent resident of Florida on January 1st of the year he or she died, and
- The spouse continues to reside on the property as his or her permanent residence, and holds legal or beneficial title, and
- The spouse does not remarry
- The spouse applies for the exemption, producing a letter from the Veteran's Administration that attests to the service-connected death while on active duty
This benefit is transferable in the same manner as the benefits for the surviving spouse of a veteran with a service-connected total and permanent disability, but an important difference is that the veteran who died on active duty does not need to have owned the homestead property at the time of his or her death.
PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT FOR VETERANS WITH COMBAT RELATED DISABILITIES
This benefit provides a percentage discount in property taxes equal to the percentage of a veteran's partial or total permanent service connected disabilities as long as a portion of those disabilities are combat-related. For instance, a veteran who qualifies and has a 50% service connected disability rating would receive a 50% reduction in property taxes even if only 20% of those disabilities are combat related..
You may qualify if you can answer YES to ALL of the questions below:
- Do you currently receive a Homestead Exemption?
- Were you at least 65 years of age on January 1st?
- Do you have a partial or total permanent COMBAT RELATED disability?
- Were you honorably discharged upon separation from military service?
If you answered yes to all of the above, you must apply on or before March 1st and supply:
- A copy of your most current rating decision from the VA, including evidence that your disability is combat related, AND
- A copy of your DD-214
If you do not have your DD-214, please contact the Pinellas County Veteran's Service Office at (727) 464-8460 for assistance in obtaining a duplicate copy. If you are unable to provide a DD-214, you must supply the following:
- A copy of your most current rating decision from the VA, AND
- Evidence that your disability is combat related, AND
- Proof of your date of birth, AND
- Proof of your Honorable Discharge
An additional exemption for seniors is currently available to qualified residents in Twenty-three municipalities (all but Belleair Shore) plus Unincorporated Pinellas.
- At least one property owner is 65 years of age or older on January 1;
- The applicant qualifies for or is already receiving Homestead Exemption;
- Total household income for 2015 was $28,482 or less. Social Security Income is usually not included in that amount if a resident is NOT REQUIRED to file an income tax return.
- Applicant lives in a tax district offering the exemption.
FIRST-TIME APPLICANTS! WHEN YOU APPLY, BRING:
- Proof of age (Driver License, Florida ID, Voter ID, or Birth Certificate)
- If required to file a Federal Income Tax Return: bring Form 1040 or 1040A for 2015.
- If not required to file a Federal Income Tax Return: bring documentation such as end of year bank statements , pension summaries, or other documents that will show your total income for the year 2015.
ONLY 2015 INCOME INFORMATION CAN BE ACCEPTED.
We will automatically renew the exemption for the majority of the seniors who received this benefit last year. Florida Statute 196.075(5) authorizes our office to audit the eligibility of a random sample of applicants to ensure the accuracy of the household income reported. Those in the random audit, about 2000 seniors, will receive a letter letting them know they must reapply, along with the application, and information about how to renew if they wish to do so.
APPLICATION DEADLINE MARCH 1.
This exemption is based on income received in the prior year. If you do not have all of your income information and the March 1 deadline is near, apply anyway! The deadline to supply income information is JUNE 1.
The following taxing districts adopted the additional exemption:
TAX DISTRICT AMOUNT APPROX SAVINGS TAX DISTRICT AMOUNT APPROX SAVINGS Belleair $50,000 $ 296 Oldsmar $50,000 $203 Belleair Beach $25,000 $51 Pinellas Park $25,000 $140 Belleair Bluffs $25,000 $ 134 Redington Beach $25,000 $49 Clearwater $25,000 $129 Redington Shores $20,000 $40 Dunedin $50,000 $207 Safety Harbor $50,000 $202 Gulfport $25,000 $101 St. Pete Beach $25,000 $79 Indian Rocks Beach $50,000 $100 St. Petersburg $15,000 $102 Indian Shores $25,000 $47 Seminole $25,000 $62 Kenneth City $25,000 $119 South Pasadena $50,000 $163 Largo $25,000 $134 Tarpon Springs $25,000 $136 Madeira Beach $50,000 $110 Treasure Island $25,000 $83 N Redington Beach $50,000 $38 Pinellas County
$25,000 $52 APPLY BEFORE THE MARCH 1 DEADLINE!
Please call our office at 727-464-3294 for more information.
Click here for First Time Applicant Information
Click here for Renewal Applicaton Information
Additional Resources / Assistance for Seniors
ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION; LOW-INCOME SENIORS WHO MAINTAIN LONG-TERM RESIDENCY ON PROPERTY; EQUAL TO ASSESSED VALUE
This gives cities/counties the OPTION to adopt an additional exemption for seniors that would be effective based on the date the new exemption was adopted.
- Exempts 100% of the assessed value of the property if the just value is less than $250,000; the property has been the owner’s permanent residence for at least 25 years; the owner is 65; and the owner’s household income is less than the limit established for the low-income senior exemption.
To date, this exemption has only been adopted by North Redington Beach.
This exemption, which began for the 2011 tax year, created an additional property tax exemption for members of the active duty military or military reserves; the United States Coast Guard or its reserves; or the Florida National Guard, who have a homestead exemption, and who were deployed outside of the United States in support of certain military operations. This exemption was based on the number of days in the previous calendar year that the person was deployed on active duty in support of those operations. This exemption does not renew and must be applied for annually as the criteria will change each year.
Qualifications for 2016:
• A servicemember who currently receives a homestead exemption; AND
• Who was deployed during 2015 on active duty outside the US, Alaska or Hawaii; AND
• Who served in certain designated Operations. Call our office to see whether your designation Operation qualifies.
The statute requires a servicemember to make an application by March 1 annually. A servicemember's spouse or designee, or a representative of his or her estate, may file an application on behalf of the servicemember.
This new exemption is different from Homestead and other exemptions because there is not a set dollar amount to be exempted. Rather, the bill creates a prorated percentage to be exempt based on the amount of time the service-member was deployed during the previous year.
This is also called the “Fallen Heroes Family Tax Relief Act” and provides for a 100% exemption on the homestead property for the surviving spouse of:
- A military veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the US armed forces;
- A first responder (which includes a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic employed by the state or any political subdivision of the state) who died in the line of duty.
This amendment applies to the 2013 tax roll and is not retroactive to prior years. However, the benefit is available for the un-remarried surviving spouse of a first responder whose death occurred prior to the January 1, 2013 effective date, as long as the surviving spouse qualifies for homestead exemption as of January 1. The first responder and surviving spouse must have been permanent residents of Florida on January 1 of the year in which the death occurred.
The spouse must provide a letter from the first responder's employer (the state, or subdivision of the state) indicating that the first responder died in the line of duty.
If the spouse moves he or she may “port” a portion of the exemption. If the spouse remarries the exemption is removed.
THIS IS NOT AN ACTIVE EXEMPTION IN PINELLAS COUNTY.
In November of 2002, Florida voters approved an amendment to provide a local option reduction in the assessed value of homesteaded property for the purpose of providing living quarters for parents or grandparents of the property owner. The 2002 Legislature enacted an implementing bill effective January 7, 2003 (F.S. 193.703).
The exemption will only cover additions (or separate structures on the same property) built specifically for the purpose of housing parents or grandparents, after the exemption has been adopted. There will be no retroactive provision.
This exemption must be adopted by the Pinellas County Commission in order to be operative in Pinellas County. Pinellas County has not adopted this exemption.
In Pinellas County, property tax exemption can be granted only if an organization meets the specified criteria under Florida law.
Property must be owned by an exempt entity and used exclusively or predominantly for an exempt purpose as of January 1 of the year the organization requests an exemption. The organization must file an original application for exemption between January 1 and March 1, and must qualify according to the statutory definition under the exempt categories: religious, charitable, educational, literary, or scientific. Please contact the Institutional Exemption Division at 727-464-4349 for more information.
No land shall be classified as agriculture land unless an application is filed on or before March 1 of each year (F.S. 193.461(3)(a)). Only lands which are used primarily for bona fide agriculture purposes shall be classified agricultural. "Bona fide agricultural purposes" means good faith COMMERCIAL agricultural use of land.
The statutory assessment for property is January 1. Therefore the property must be in use on this date.
The approval or denial of a particular application for agricultural exemption is a decision made after analyzing the entirety of circumstances surrounding the viability of the particular agricultural operation as a commercial entity, rather than on a specific point. Click here for more information and for the application.
Conservation Land Classification or Exemption
New legislation for the 2010 tax year provides two avenues of property tax relief for conservation easements, environmentally endangered lands, and other conservation areas that retain the natural landscape and ecosystem. The first is a conservation land Classification. The second is a property tax Exemption.
The Classification provides that the value of land used for conservation purposes be assessed at its present use, much like the existing agricultural classification does for agricultural land. (Florida Statute 193.501).
To qualify for the conservation land Classification, the land must meet one of the following criteria:
- Must be a conservation easement, which retains land or water areas in their natural condition and limits dumping, removal of trees, dredging, construction of buildings, roads, etc. on the property. Conservation easements are often created through a deed restriction or condition.
- Land must be qualified and designated as environmentally endangered;
- Land must be designated as conservation land in a comprehensive municipal plan; or
- Land utilized for outdoor recreational or part purposes, such as land used for boating, camping, swimming, horseback riding, or scenic sites.
- AND the land must be conveyed for preservation of the land for not less than 10 years to the board of a public agency or charitable organization under Florida Statute s. 704.06. for preservation of the land for not less than 10 years.
The Exemption completely exempts from property taxes land that is dedicated in perpetuity and used exclusively for conservation purposes. (Florida Statute 196.26).
To qualify for the Exemption, the land must be comprised of at least 40 contiguous acres. If it is less than 40 acres, then you must provide documentation from the Department of State's Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) - indicating that the property fulfills a "clearly delineated state conservation policy" and yields a significant public benefit."
You must file an application with the Pinellas County Property Appraiser to receive either the exemption or classification. .
Florida Constitution Article VII Section 4(j) provides that properties designated as "Working Waterfronts" be assessed based on the current use of the property. Working Waterfronts include public marinas and drystacks, public access points to navigable waters, properties used for commercial fishing, and water dependent marine manufacturing, commercial fishing, and marine vessel construction/repair facilities.
If you believe that you own property that qualifies as Working Waterfront, please complete and provide our office with the Working Waterfront Classification Preliminary Questionnaire AND the Real Property Income and Expense Return by April 15. Both forms can be found under the "Forms / Applications" section of our website
In addition to your income and expense information, please provide the following, as applicable:
- If your property was purchased within the last 18 months, please enclose a copy of the closing statement detailing costs of sale. These costs are given favorable consideration when values are developed.
- If there is a new building on your property that was built in the last 2 years, please include the construction costs.
Florida Statutes require us to keep income, expense, and cost information you provide CONFIDENTIAL. It will not be treated as a public record.
Income-producing working waterfront parcels that qualify for this benefit will be assessed utilizing the income approach to value, which is based on adequate local data including market rental, expense, and vacancy rates.
For us to develop a value based on the income approach, we need accurate income and expense information for your property, including rental rates ($/square foot, $/slip, $/lineal foot, as applicable), number of slips/docks, high & dry storage, etc., expense rates, and vacancy rates. Your input is critical to the accurate valuation of your property.
If you have any questions about completing the working waterfront questionnaire or income and expense return, or to discuss your property value, please call our office at 727-464-3284.
Tangible personal property taxes apply only to certain property in Florida - typically business assets or attachments to mobile homes on rented land. The tax does not apply to homesteaded property.
In order to receive the $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property, those subject to the tax must file Form DR-405 by April 1.
If you received a Waiver of Tangible Personal Property (TPP) Return postcard (for the current year) from our office and have not added anything to increase the value to greater than $25,000 you do not need to file. If the value was greater than $25,000, you must complete Form DR-405, Tangible Personal Property Tax Return. For more information, visit the Florida Department of Revenue website.
When a new application for exemptions made by March 1 cannot be granted due to the failure of the property owner to meet the requirements, a notice of denial is sent to the applicant on or before July 1. This notice describes the exemption being denied, and is sent via registered mail or hand delivered. In cases where a person has applied for more than one exemption, the letter includes an approval of any exemptions that have been granted, along with the exemption being denied, e.g.: homestead is approved, but a disability exemption is denied due to lack of documentation.
When an existing exemption is found to be undeserved for any reason, including fraud, oversight or lack of knowledge, the exemption is immediately denied. A notice of intent to deny is mailed via certified mail to the person claiming the exemption, which states the reason for the denial and an explanation of any liens that may be placed on the property. If the notice of intent to deny is mailed after February 1, the property owner is allowed 28 days during which to file a new exemption application for that same year without being considered a late application.
Appeal of Exemption Denials & VAB
When a person has been notified by registered mail sent on July 1, he or she has 30 days to file a petition for appeal with the Value Adjustment Board. There is NO filing fee for applicants who have been denied an exemption UNLESS the denial is for a late file. If the petitioner is appealing a denial of an application that was filed late (after March 1), a $15 filing fee is due.
Applicants whose exemptions have been properly denied by July 1 must file their appeals within the 30 day filing period. They are not permitted to file an appeal based on notification by the Notice of Proposed Property Tax (TRIM). If a properly denied applicant misses his or her VAB filing deadline, their only recourse is to file suit in the circuit court.
When the Notice of Proposed Property Tax (TRIM) is mailed, this may alert a property owner that he or she has failed to file for exemptions. An exemption application may be filed at that time, but a petition for appeal to the Value Adjustment Board must also be filed, since the application is late and is automatically denied. A petitioner who has not previously been denied by certified mail has until 25 days after the mailing date of the TRIM to file a petition with the VAB. This deadline is printed on the TRIM notice.
A petitioner is given an appointment for a VAB hearing before a Special Magistrate who is an attorney not affiliated with either the Board of County Commissioners or the Property Appraiser. This person is an independent hearing officer, hired to hear appeals of exemption denials. At the hearings of the Value Adjustment Board, the petitioner or his or her representative must appear in person at the appointed time and place, and present evidence that demonstrates that he or she is entitled to the denied exemption. An exemption specialist from the Property Appraiser's office is also in attendance to present the documentation and statutory references upon which the denial was based. The Special Magistrate will consider all evidence presented and make a ruling to either grant or deny the exemption. The decision of the VAB is final, unless the petitioner files suit in the circuit court within 15 days of the ruling, or the Property Appraiser files suit within the appropriate time frame.
In the case of an exemption application that is filed late, the petitioner must present evidence and documentation that demonstrates extenuating circumstances beyond his or her control that precluded the applicant from filing by the March 1 deadline. Most of the late filed applications are due to the property owner simply not knowing about the March 1 deadline. Unfortunately, Special Magistrates will not usually accept this as an extenuating circumstance.
Rules of evidence for the Value Adjustment Board apply to petitions for exemption denials as well as petitions for valuation issues. At least 10 calendar days before the petitioner’s scheduled hearing, he or she must provide a list, summary of and copies of any evidence to be presented at the hearing. In turn, the Property Appraiser must provide the same information to the petitioner no later than 5 days after receiving the petitioner’s evidence. According to VAB procedures, any such evidence not submitted by the petitioner by these deadlines cannot be presented at the hearing.
Fraudulent or Undeserved Homestead Exemptions
Homestead exemption is a valuable benefit that can save a homeowner a minimum of about $500 per year. Over time, with the Save Our Homes assessment limitation, that minimum amount can increase to an overall tax savings of thousands of dollars every year. When someone receives an exemption to which they are not entitled, he or she is avoiding the payment of taxes that must then be paid by the rest of the property owners.
When an undeserved exemption is discovered, it can result in the assessment of a lien with very large penalties and interest.
The Pinellas County Property Appraiser is very serious about protecting the integrity of the exemption process for all citizens who are entitled, and pursuing the recovery of unpaid taxes due to improperly claimed exemptions. Our office has an investigations department that looks into claims of undeserved exemptions, particularly homestead exemption. Information of suspected cases of improperly claimed homestead exemptions comes from a variety of sources, including: anonymous calls or letters; information received from homeowners’ associations, tenants or neighbors; reports from taxing jurisdictions like other counties or states; reports from the Florida Department of Revenue; tips from field appraisers, exemption specialists and front counter staff; and information from utility companies, contractors, and inspectors.
If an investigation reveals that an exemption is undeserved at any time during the current or preceding 10 years, the property owner is sent by certified mail a “notice of intent” which states that a lien will be filed on his or her property to collect the unpaid taxes (including the Save Our Homes assessment difference), plus a 50% penalty, plus interest in the amount of 15% per year. If the undeserved exemption is due to clerical error or an omission by this office, no penalties or interest are assessed, but the base amount of taxes must still be recovered. The property owner is afforded 30 days in which to pay the taxes, penalties and interest before the lien is filed. The owner is also notified that he or she has 28 days in which to file a new application for exemption for the current year, if the denial is after February 1st (See F.S. 196.011(9)(c)).
On the 31st day, the lien is recorded into the public records and remains a valid lien until paid. The lien will expire at 20 years. If a property owner no longer owns the property, a lien can be filed on any property he or she owns in the State of Florida.
Anyone who would like to anonymously report a suspected case of undeserved or fraudulent homestead exemption may call (727) 464-3294.