The homestead application filing deadline of March 1 is approaching quickly. Below is a snapshot of eligibility and documentation requirements for real property owned in Lee County, Florida.
What is the Homestead Exemption?
The homestead exemption is a constitutional benefit of up to a $50,000 exemption deducted from the assessed value of the property.
Who Is Eligible to File for an Exemption?
Individuals whose names appear on the deed, who reside on the property as of January 1, and who are bona fide Florida residents as of January 1 are eligible to file. To be eligible for the exemption this tax year, an owner must file an Application for Homestead and related documents with the County Property Appraiser no later than March 1, 2015. Only new applicants or those who had a change of residence are required to apply. For individuals who have previously filed for and been approved for the homestead exemption, notices of automatic renewals should be received from the Lee County Property Appraiser in January of each year.
Lee County’s Application Requirements
In Lee County, owners may apply for the homestead exemption by mail, in person, or online. To complete the application by mail or in person, go to: https://leepa.org/Exemption/hxinfo.aspx. To complete the application on-line, visit: https://leepa.org/Membership/Actions/HomesteadOnline/Default.aspx.
All applicants must have the following documentation:
- A valid Florida Driver’s License.
- Florida vehicle license plate number is required. If an applicant owns multiple vehicles, at least one must be registered in Florida.
- Lee County, Florida Voter Registration Card (if a U.S. citizen). The address on the voter registration card must match the property address for the homestead application. If an applicant does not vote, then a Declaration of Domicile must be completed, which can be obtained at the property appraiser’s office.
- Social Security Number for all applicants and the spouse of all applicants, regardless of whether the spouse is an owner of the property.
- Date of birth.
- Proof of ownership. A copy of the Lee County tax bill or the recorded deed will suffice. If the property is owned in a trust, then additional documentation is required, and can be found at: http://www.leepa.org/exemption/generalexemptioninfo.aspx.
- Along with the signed Application for Homestead, owners must sign an affidavit (which is provided with the application) attesting that neither the owner nor the owner’s spouse receive a residency based exemption in another state. If an owner does receive an exemption, the owner must submit a form authorizing removal of the out-of-state property exemption.
If you are applying for a homestead exemption for property owned outside of Lee County, please verify with your county property appraiser the documents necessary to submit a complete application. If you divide time between multiple dwellings or have properties titled in in a trust, you should contact a qualified real estate attorney to discuss your options.