WHEN TO FILE: Section 196.011, F.S.
An application for ALL exemptions must be filed, on or before March 1 of each year. Failure to make application, when required, shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year. However, any applicant who fails to file an application by March 1 may file a late-filed application. Applicants must provide a written explanation of the extenuating circumstances as to why they were unable to apply by the deadline. Applications are taken on a walk-in only basis.

HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION up to $50,000: Section 196.031, F.S.

All applicants must file an application in-office for homestead exemption.

A person who, on January 1, has legal title or beneficial title in equity to real property in the State of Florida and who in good faith makes the property his or her permanent residence is eligible. The deed or instrument granting ownership to the property must be recorded in the official records of Okaloosa County. Property owners must apply for the Homestead and other selected tax exemptions in person.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office Homestead application:

  • Recorded with the Clerk of Circuit Court evidence of ownership i.e., deed, contract, etc…
  • Proof of social security numbers for all owners, e.g. social security card, W-2, tax return
  • Valid Florida Driver’s License or Florida Identification Card with updated address
  • All current State of Florida Vehicle Registrations with updated address

 

Additional proof of residency can be:

  • Voter Registration Card or Declaration of Domicile

 

In addition to the information above, be prepared to answer and provide proof for the following:

  • What is the physical address of the property?
  • Did you have legal or beneficial title to the property on January 1?
  • What date did you begin to claim the property as your primary residence?
  • Do you have a valid Florida Driver’s License or Florida Identification Card and an additional proof of residency with the property address?
  • What is your Citizenship status? Are you a US Citizen? If you are not a US Citizen, please provide a copy of your unexpired Permanent Resident Card.
  • What is your social security number? What is your spouse’s social security number?
  • Did you have a homestead exemption, in the State of Florida, anytime during the 2 previous tax years?

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TRANSFER OF HOMESTEAD ASSESSMENT DIFFERENCE – PORTABILITY: Section 193.155, F.S.

Homestead Exemption cannot be transferred. Applicants must file an original Homestead application in office to apply for the homestead exemption on the new homestead.

Homestead property owners are able to transfer their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit (up to $500,000) to a new homestead within two years of giving up their previous homestead exemption. This is called Portability. If the just value of the new homestead is more than the previous home’s just value, the entire Save Our Homes cap value can be transferred. If the new homestead has a lower just value, the percentage of the accumulated benefit may be transferred to the new homestead.

A Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference application will be completed at the time you apply for Homestead on your new property in the county in which your new home is located. This form requires information about the previous homestead property. Applicants will need to know: the address, parcel ID number, county of previous homestead property, the date sold or no longer used as their homestead, all other owners of the previous homestead, and if any owners still reside there or if they are filing a new homestead.

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(SENIOR EXEMPTION) ADDITIONAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR PERSONS 65 AND OLDER WITH LIMITED INCOME: Section 196.075(2)(a), F.S.

Current Income Limitation Amounts

Additional $50,000 Homestead Exemption for Persons 65 and Over.

SENIOR EXEMPTION: Renewal application required annually.

  • The applicant must qualify for and have filed for Homestead Exemption.
  • The applicant must be 65 years of age or older on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is claimed.
  • The applicant must have a household* income** that does not exceed the annual limitation amount set by the Department of Revenue. The income limitation is adjusted annually by the percentage change in the average cost of living index.
  • * “Household” means a person or group of persons living together in a room or group of rooms as a housing unit, but the term does not include persons boarding in or renting a portion of the dwelling.
  • **“Household income” means the adjusted gross income, as defined in s. 62 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, of all members of a household.
  • The applicant must submit a sworn statement of household income to the property appraiser no later than March 1 each year.

 

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

  • Proof of age as of January 1 of the application year (Driver’s License/Identification Card)
  • Proof of household’s annual income (Tax return, Social Security Form1099, etc…)

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$500 WIDOW/WIDOWER EXEMPTION: Section 196.202, F.S.

Widow and widowers who are permanent residents of Florida and who have not remarried are eligible. If a husband and wife are divorced and one of them dies, the survivor is not eligible.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

  • Death certificate

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$500 EXEMPTION FOR BLIND PERSONS: Section 196.202, F.S.

Form DR-416B – Optometrist’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability

Florida residents who are blind are eligible. 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.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

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$500 DISABILITY EXEMPTION: Section 196.202, F.S.

Form DR-416 – Physician’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability

Florida residents with a total and permanent disability are eligible. As used in this section, the term “totally and permanently disabled person” means a person who is currently certified by a physician licensed in this state, or by the Social Security Administration to be totally and permanently disabled.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

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EXEMPTION FOR TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED PERSONS: Section 196.101, F.S.

Form DR-501A – Statement of Gross Income
Form DR-416 – Physician’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability
Form DR-416B – Optometrist’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability

(1) Any real estate used and owned as a homestead by any quadriplegic is exempt from taxation. Section 196.101(1), F.S.

The following documentation for proof of disability is required, along with the in-office application:

 

(2) Any real estate used and owned as a homestead by a paraplegic, hemiplegic, or other totally and permanently disabled person, as defined in s. 196.012(11), F.S. who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind; and does not exceed the gross income limitation, is exempt from taxation. Section 196.101(2), F.S.

The following documentation for proof of disability and income is required, along with the in-office application. Renewal application required annually.

Certification of disability:

 

For a legally blind person, certificate of disability:

 

Verification of household gross income*:

Applicants will have to submit the prior year gross income of all persons residing in or upon the homestead and shall not exceed the amount of income, set forth in section 196.101(4), F.S., adjusted annually by the percentage change of the average Cost of Living Index issued by the United States Department of Labor. Current Income Limitation Amounts

*Gross income is all income, including United States Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and any social security benefits paid to the person.

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$5,000 EXEMPTION FOR DISABLED EX-SERVICEMEMBER OR SURVIVING SPOUSE; EVIDENCE OF DISABILITY: Section 196.24, F.S.

Any ex-servicemember, as defined in s. 196.012, F.S. who is a bona fide resident of the state, who was discharged under honorable conditions, and who has been disabled to a degree of 10 percent or more while serving during a period of wartime service as defined in s. 1.01(14), F.S. or by misfortune, is entitled to the exemption from taxation provided for in s. 3(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution as provided in this section.

The un-remarried surviving spouse of such a disabled ex-servicemember who, on the date of the disabled ex-service member’s death is also entitled to the exemption.

The following documentation is required, along with in-office application:

  • A certificate of disability (e.g. rating decision letter, summary of benefits letter) from the United States Government or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor.
  • A surviving spouse of the veteran must produce evidence of the date of marriage (e.g. marriage certificate) and the death certificate.

An applicant may apply for the exemption before receiving the necessary documentation. Upon receipt of the documentation, the exemption shall be granted as of the date of the original application, and the excess taxes paid during the 4-year period of limitation set forth in s. 197.182(1)(e), F.S. shall be refunded.

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EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED VETERANS AND FOR SURVIVING SPOUSES OF VETERANS: Section 196.081, F.S.

Any real estate that is owned and used as a homestead by a veteran who was honorably discharged with a service-connected total and permanent disability, and for whom a letter from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor has been issued certifying that the veteran is totally and permanently disabled is exempt from taxation, if the veteran is a permanent resident of this state on January 1 of the tax year for which exemption is being claimed or was a permanent resident of this state on January 1 of the year the veteran died.

If the totally and permanently disabled veteran predeceases his or her spouse and if, upon the death of the veteran, the spouse holds the legal and beneficial title to the homestead and permanently resides on the property the exemption from taxation carries over to benefit of the veteran’s spouse until the spouse remarries or disposes of the property. If the spouse sells the property, an exemption not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the new residence as long as it is his or her permanent residence and he or she does not remarry.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

  • A certificate (e.g. rating decision letter, summary of benefits letter) from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs as your proof of a total and permanent service-connected disability. The surviving spouse must bring a copy of the veteran’s death certificate.

 

An applicant may apply for the exemption before receiving the necessary documentation. Upon receipt of the documentation, the exemption shall be granted as of the date of the original application, and the excess taxes paid during the 4-year period of limitation set forth in s. 197.182(1)(e), F.S. shall be refunded.

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EXEMPTION FOR DISABLED VETERANS CONFINED TO WHEELCHAIRS; SURVIVING SPOUSE CARRYOVER: Section 196.091, F.S.

Any real estate used and owned as a homestead by an ex-servicemember who has been honorably discharged with a service-connected total disability, and who has a certificate from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor, or its successors, certifying that the ex-servicemember is receiving or has received special pecuniary assistance due to disability requiring specially adapted housing and required to use a wheelchair for his or her transportation is exempt from taxation.

A surviving spouse that held title to the homestead property, with the veteran as an estate by the entirety, shall continue to benefit from the exemption provided the spouse continues to reside on the property or until he or she remarries, sells or otherwise disposes of the property.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

  • A certificate of disability from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs that satisfies the requirements of pecuniary assistance for specially adapted housing and the, as stated in s. 196.091, F.S.

An applicant may apply for the exemption before receiving the necessary documentation. Upon receipt of the documentation, the exemption shall be granted as of the date of the original application, and the excess taxes paid during the 4-year period of limitation set forth in s. 197.182(1)(e), F.S. shall be refunded.

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SURVIVING SPOUSE OF VETERAN WHO DIED FROM SERVICE-CONNECTED CAUSES WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY: Section 196.081, F.S.

Any real estate that is owned and used as a homestead by the surviving spouse of a veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces and for whom a letter from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor has been issued certifying that the veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty is exempt from taxation if the veteran was a permanent resident of this state on January 1 of the year in which the veteran died.

A surviving spouse that holds legal or beneficial title to the homestead property shall continue to benefit from the exemption, provided the spouse continues to reside on the property or until he or she remarries. If the surviving spouse sells the property, an exemption not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the new residence as long as it is his or her permanent residence and he or she does not remarry.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

  • A letter from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs that attests to the veteran’s death while on active duty.

 

An applicant may apply for the exemption before receiving the necessary documentation. Upon receipt of the documentation, the exemption shall be granted as of the date of the original application, and the excess taxes paid during the 4-year period of limitation set forth in s. 197.182(1)(e), F.S. shall be refunded.

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SURVIVING SPOUSE OF A FIRST RESPONDER WHO DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY: Section 196.081, F.S.

Any real estate that is owned (legal or beneficial title) and used as a homestead by the surviving spouse of a first responder* who died in the line of duty** while employed by the state or any political subdivision of the state, including authorities and special districts, and for whom a letter from the state or appropriate political subdivision of the state, or other authority or special district, has been issued which legally recognizes and certifies that the first responder died in the line of duty while employed as a first responder is exempt from taxation if the first responder and his or her surviving spouse were permanent residents of this state on January 1 of the year in which the first responder died. If the surviving spouse sells the property, an exemption not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the new residence as long as it is his or her permanent residence and he or she does not remarry.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

  • A letter that attests to the first responder’s death in the line of duty.

 

*“First responder” means a law enforcement officer or correctional officer as defined in s. 943.10, F.S. a firefighter as defined in s. 633.102, F.S. or an emergency medical technician or paramedic as defined in s. 401.23, F.S. who is a full-time paid employee, part-time paid employee, or unpaid volunteer.
**“In the line of duty” means: while engaging in law enforcement; performing an activity relating to fire suppression and prevention; responding to a hazardous material emergency; rescue activity; providing emergency medical services; performing disaster relief activity; otherwise engaging in emergency response activity; or engaging in a training exercise related to any of the events or activities if the training has been authorized by the employing entity.

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EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED FIRST RESPONDERS; SURVIVING SPOUSE CARRYOVER: Section 196.102, F.S.

First Responder’s Employer Certification of Injury
First Responder’s Physician Certificate of Total and Permanent Disability
Form DR-416 – Physician’s Certification of Total and Permanent Disability

Any real estate that is owned and used as a homestead by a person who has a total and permanent disability as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the line of duty while serving as a first responder in this state or during an operation in another state or country authorized by this state or a political subdivision of this state is exempt from taxation if the first responder is a permanent resident of this state on January 1 of the year for which the exemption is being claimed.

A surviving spouse that holds legal or beneficial title to the homestead property shall continue to benefit from the exemption, provided the spouse continues to reside on the property or until he or she remarries. If the surviving spouse sells the property, an exemption not to exceed the amount granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be transferred to the new residence as long as it is his or her permanent residence and he or she does not remarry.

The following documentation is required, along with the in-office application:

 

Option 1:
a. Documentation from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that you are totally and permanently disabled – must be submitted to our office within 3 months after issuance, and
b. One (1) First Responder’s Physician Certificate of Total and Permanent Disability.

Option 2:
a. Documentation from the SSA that you are not eligible to receive a medical status determination due to your ineligibility for Social Security or Medicare benefits, and
b. Two (2) First Responder’s Physician Certificate of Total and Permanent Disability (from professionally unrelated physicians).

An applicant may apply for the exemption before receiving the necessary documentation. Upon receipt of the documentation, the exemption shall be granted as of the date of the original application, and the excess taxes paid during the 4-year period of limitation set forth in s. 197.182(1)(e), F.S. shall be refunded.

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HOMESTEAD PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT FOR VETERANS AGE 65 AND OLDER WITH COMBAT RELATED DISABILITY: Section 196.082, F.S.

Each honorably discharged veteran who is age 65 or older and has a partial or total and permanent disability that was combat-related shall receive a discount from the amount of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property that the veteran owns and resides in. The discount is proportional to their percentage of disability.

The following documentation is required, along with in-office application:

  • Copy of honorable discharge papers. (DD Form 214)
  • Copy of the rating decision letter from the US Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Evidence from the US Department of Veterans Affairs or military branch identifying the portion of the disability that is combat-related, if not included in the rating decision letter.
  • Proof of age 65 (or older) as of January 1 of the current tax year.

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EXEMPTION FOR DEPLOYED SERVICEMEMBERS: Section 196.173, F.S.

Form DR-501M –Deployed Military Exemption Application

A servicemember who receives a homestead exemption may receive an additional ad valorem tax exemption on that homestead property if he/she was deployed during the preceding calendar year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of designated military operations. The Department of Revenue will notify the property appraisers of the designated military operations each year. Current List of Designated Operation Names.

The following documentation is required, along with the Form DR-501M –Deployed Military Exemption Application:

DEPLOYMENT ORDERS (NATO Orders cannot be used)

The most common two forms are listed below. However, other formats are acceptable (other than NATO orders). Please go ahead and submit them, along with the remaining documents needed.

  • DD Form 1610 “Request and Authorization for TDY Travel of DOD Personnel” NOTE: Operation name MAY be listed on 2nd If so, be sure to provide BOTH pages of the 1610.
  • “CED” Orders Please REDACT any other service members’ information that may be on the back page, if needed. Copy of front AND back pages of the CED orders will be needed. “DATA MASKED” CED orders are considered unclassified but they will not have the operation name listed.

 

FINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER  (usually obtained from DTS website)

An acceptable form MUST show the exact arrival / departure flight dates & locations. The 2 most common formats of vouchers received are listed below and both say “TRAVEL VOUCHER” on the forms.

  • DD Form 1351-2 – It does not have to be a copy of a final “paid” voucher, as long as it reflects exact flight dates.
  • Long form on DTS (no form #)– This format includes your daily per diem pay for the duration of your deployment is usually several pages in length. If submitting this format, only the first 2 pages are needed.
  • Flight Itineraries or Travel Authorizations cannot be accepted. Be sure your form says “voucher”.

 

VERIFICATION OF OPERATION

If your deployment orders do NOT state the operation name, then you will be required to also provide one of the three documents listed below to serve as verification of the operation name.

  • MEMO FOR RECORD (“MFR”)- Must be on military letterhead, signed by either a commanding officer, UDM/Coordinator, or other authorized military personnel (cannot be signed by applicant), and it must state the deployment dates and specific operation name.
  • LETTER OF EVALUATION (“LOE”) –Must reflect operation name in box 6 or in “Comments” section.
  • COMMENDATION MEDAL/CERTIFICATE– Must state operation name and include the dates for entire deployment, not just a portion of the days.

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RELIGIOUS, LITERARY, SCIENTIFIC OR CHARITABLE EXEMPTION: Sections 196.195, 196.196, 196.197, 196.198, 196.2001, and 196.2002, F.S.

DR-504 – Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Application and Return

Property owned by an exempt organization that is used for a religious, literary, scientific, or charitable purpose may qualify for exempt status if it meets certain criteria. For a complete description of the criteria and the associated determining factors, please see the referenced Florida Statutes.

The following documentation is required, along with the DR-504 – Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Application and Return:

  • 501(C)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service,
  • Articles of Incorporation, and
  • Sales Tax exemption certificate.

Additional documentation may be requested to determine eligibility for exempt status.

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HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES AND HOMES FOR SPECIAL SERVICES: Section 196.197, F.S.

DR-504 – Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Application and Return

Additional provisions for exempting property used by hospitals, nursing homes, and homes for special services that meet the following criteria:

(1) The applicant must be a Florida corporation not for profit that has been exempt as of January 1 of the year for which exemption from ad valorem property taxes is requested from federal income taxation by having qualified as an exempt organization under the provisions of s.501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(2) In determining the extent of exemption to be granted to institutions licensed as hospitals, nursing homes, and homes for special services, portions of the property leased as parking lots or garages operated by private enterprise shall not be deemed to be serving an exempt purpose and shall not be exempt from taxation. Property or facilities which are leased to a nonprofit corporation which provides direct medical services to patients in a nonprofit or public hospital and qualifies under s. 196.196, F.S. of this chapter are excluded and shall be exempt from taxation.

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CHARTER SCHOOL FACILITIES EXEMPTION: Section 196.1983, F.S.

DR-504CS – Charter School Facilities

Any facility, or portion thereof, used to house a charter school whose charter has been approved by the sponsor and the governing board pursuant to s. 1002.33(7), F.S. shall be exempt from ad valorem taxes. For leasehold properties, the landlord must certify by affidavit to the charter school that the lease payments shall be reduced to the extent of the exemption received. The owner of the property shall disclose to a charter school the full amount of the benefit derived from the exemption and the method for ensuring that the charter school receives such benefit. The charter school shall receive the full benefit derived from the exemption through either an annual or a monthly credit to the charter school’s lease payments.

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HOMES FOR THE AGED EXEMPTION: Section 196.1975, F.S. 

Renewal application required annually.

DR-504HA – Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Application and Return Homes for the Aged
DR-504S – Individual Affidavit for Ad Valorem Tax Exemption Homes for the Aged

Nonprofit homes for the aged are exempt to the extent that they meet the following criteria:

(1) The applicant must be a corporation not for profit pursuant to Chapter 617 and qualified as an exempt charitable organization under the provisions of s. 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

(2) Have at least 75% of the occupants who are over the age of 62 years or totally and permanently disabled.

(3) Those portions of the homes for the aged, which are devoted exclusively to the conduct of religious services or rendering of nursing or medical services, are exempt from ad valorem taxation.

(4) After removing the assessed value exempted in subsection (3), units or apartments in homes for the aged shall be exempt only to the extent that residency in the existing unit or apartment of the applicant home is reserved for or restricted to or the unit or apartment is occupied by persons who have resided in the applicant home and in good faith made this state their permanent residence as of January 1 of the year in which exemption is claimed and who also meet the age and income requirements.

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