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Tips for Maximizing Your Homestead Exemption and Reducing Property Taxes

Posted by Kim G. Bosshardt | Jul 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

maximizing your homestead exemption and reducing property taxes

Navigating property taxes can be a bit like navigating a minefield-one wrong move, and you could end up with an unexpected explosion in your wallet. But if you're savvy, you can use the homestead exemption to reduce your tax burden and ensure you don't get caught off guard.

Florida's homestead exemption is one of the most valuable tools for managing property taxes. By taking advantage of it, you could get lower assessments on the value of your home, reduced interest rates on mortgages, and exemptions from certain local levies.

Understanding exactly how these different components work together is critical to maximizing their effectiveness-and ultimately saving money on your housing costs.

In this blog, we'll provide seven tips for maximizing your homestead exemption and reducing property taxes so you don't fall victim to a financial landmine.

1. Understand Your Local Homestead Exemption

To reduce property taxes on your primary residence, start by researching your local homestead exemption and any special exemptions available by looking at the county's property appraiser's website where the property is located.

Additional local government incentives, deductions, and credits may further reduce your tax burden. Take the time to explore all options before making decisions about lowering your property taxes. With careful consideration, you can take advantage of available programs and reduce your tax bill.

2. Analyze Your Property Tax Bill & Appeal

You will receive a TRIM notice from the tax collector every fall. You should analyze your tax bill and identify if there are any errors in the calculation. You should look at each line item on your property tax bill carefully, including all fees and assessments that have been applied.

If you disagree with the value of your property, you have the right to dispute the assessment and exemptions with the local value adjustment board.

Contact your county assessor's office to inquire about potential discrepancies in the amount due. Doing this could save you money by reducing your overall bill. Compile evidence for why your current assessment should be lowered, including recent sales data in your area or other documentation related to home improvements made over the past few years. Keep copies of every document related to taxes for future reference.

3. File for Homestead Exemption

If you own a home, condo, or manufactured home, maximizing your homestead exemption starts with filing for the Florida Homestead Exemption with your county assessor's office. While the amount of money you save depends on their specific state laws, it typically eliminates up to $50,000 of the home's assessed value from taxation for county taxes and $25,000 for school board taxes.

But remember, this isn't an automatic process. You have to apply for this exemption yourself, and it will be renewed every year so long as the mailing address of the property is the property. Be sure to check with your local assessor's office for details about how much of an exemption you're eligible for and what paperwork needs to be filled out before applying.

4. Change Your Home's Classification

Property taxes are determined by your property's assessed value, and changing its classification may help reduce this amount.

In most states, homeowners can classify their residence as an owner-occupied primary dwelling or an investment property such as:

  • Single-family homes
  • Duplexes/two-unit dwellings
  • Condominiums/townhouses
  • Mobile homes
  • Vacation properties
  • Multi-unit buildings

This is all the more important if you have multiple residences where you live part of the year because it helps determine where you should file your income tax return each year.

Additionally, many local governments offer additional exemptions for seniors and veterans that could lower your total bill.

5. Take Advantage of Tax Credits

Tax credits are a great way to reduce property taxes. Some tax credits apply to specific types of properties, and some are available for certain income levels only. Research what's available in your area to know exactly how much savings you can get from them.

If eligible, special credits or deductions may help lower your overall taxable assessment value, resulting in even more savings on your property taxes each year. You'll want to check with local authorities to see if programs exist where you live-it could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars saved annually.

6. Keep Up to Date on Property Tax Changes

Local taxes can be confusing, so it's worth taking the time to research and understand them. Knowing when rules change, or new programs are available can save you money in the long run. If a law recently passed that might affect your property tax rate, carefully review how it impacts you and take advantage of any opportunities for savings.

It's also beneficial to stay connected with local government offices so that you know about upcoming changes or new initiatives they may announce related to property taxes.

Are you looking to reduce your property taxes? Bosshardt Title Agency can help maximize your homestead exemption. Act now-contact us today to get started.

About the Author

Kim G. Bosshardt

Board Certified Real Estate Attorney

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