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Homestead Exemption


The Sarasota homestead exemption entitles most homeowners to a reduction of their property’s assessed taxable value, which can result in several hundred dollars in tax savings. 


Once you establish your right to a basic homestead exemption on your Sarasota property, you may also qualify for additional homestead exemptions if you are over 65 years old or have a disability.


Another important benefit of the receipt of a homestead exemption means that, pursuant to the Save Our Homes Amendment to the Florida Constitution, the assessed value of your homestead property cannot increase more than 3% per year or the percent change in the Consumer Price Index.  


In many cases, this tax savings can be transferred to a new Florida residence if you move.  While the basic Sarasota homestead exemption may only save you a few hundred dollars per year, the rights that come with a homestead exemption can be extremely valuable.


The homestead exemption is applied from the first day of the tax year for which the exemption is sought.  In order to receive a 2015 homestead exemption, you must apply by March 1, 2015 if you obtained or occupied your home in 2014.  


If you acquire or move into your new home after January 1, 2014, you would not qualify for a 2014 homestead exemption, but you can go ahead and apply now for 2015.  If you already have a homestead exemption, you probably do not need to re-apply, as most counties use an automatic renewal process, whereby you only need to notify the Property Appraiser if you are no longer entitled to the exemption.


You can apply online with the local county tax appraiser.


For the tax year in question, you must have either legal or beneficial title to the Sarasota property for which you are seeking an exemption, and the property must be the permanent residence ofTherefore, the property can be owned by a trust, as long as the applicant retains beneficial title and a possessory interest in the property.  However, the homestead exemption may not be claimed by a corporation.


You do not have to be a United States citizen to qualify.  A taxpayer cannot claim more than one property for the Homestead Exemption.


The Sarasota property must also be you or your natural dependent’s “permanent residence,” which is defined by Fla. Stat. 196.012(18) 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.”  


In determining whether the property is your permanent residence, the Property Appraiser may consider a number of 

statutory factors, including but not limited to the existence of a formal declaration of domicile, where your children are registered for school, your place of employment, residency in another state, the address where you are registered to vote, the address on your driver’s license or identification card, vehicle registration, the address on your federal income tax returns, the address on your bank statements, and proof of payment for utilities at the subject property.



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