There are several Florida property tax benefits that disabled veterans may qualify for. These include benefits specifically for veterans as well as general benefits for all people with disabilities.
Exemption for Permanent and Totally Disabled Veterans
An honorably discharged veteran with a permanent and total service connected disability is exempt from Florida property taxes. See Florida Statute 196.081.
To qualify, the veteran must be a permanent resident of Florida and receive the Homestead Exemption on the property in question. If a portion of the property is used for commecial purposes, the exemption may not apply to that portion of the property.
While property taxes are typically determined as of January 1st, a veteran with a service-connected total and permanent disability who buys a property between January 1st and November 1st may be able to request a prorated refund of ad valorem taxes to reflect this exemption.
Otherwise, you generally need to apply for property taxes by March 1st for the upcoming tax year.
The exemption for veterans with a permanent service-connected disability will generally transfer to their surviving spouse.
A spouse who does not remarry may transfer the last exemption amount received to a new homestead (i.e., if the new property is worth more, it is not totally exempt — the exemption is the same amount as the old property.).
Eligible veterans will be required to provide proof of their disability and military service from the Veterans’ Administration, such as a 27-333 letter.
Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Veterans who are at least 10% disabled from wartime service or misfortune and who were honorably discharged are generally eligible for an additional $5,000 property tax exemption. See Florida Statute 196.24.
Eligible resident veterans must provide proof from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
A veteran who applies for the exemption before receiving documentation from the VA may be able to have the exemption backdated to the date of his application and receive a refund of property taxes.
A surviving spouse of an eligible veteran can generally keep the benefit until she remarries.
Property Tax Discount for Disabled Veterans Age 65+
Honorably discharged veterans age 65+ with a combat disability can generally receive a discount on ad valorem property taxes equal to their disability rating. See Florida Consitution Article VII, Section 6(e). The discount generally doesn’t apply to non-ad valorem taxes.
This benefit is a discount on the property tax bill not an exemption based on the property’s assessed value. For example, a 50% disability rating equals $500 off of a $1,000 ad valorem property tax bill.
A surviving spouse who does not remarry can generally keep the benefit.
If the surviving spouse moves to a new homestead, the discount generally carries over to the new homestead but can’t be more than the dollar amount of the discount on the old homestead.
Documentation from the VA is required to apply.
Other Potential Property Tax Benefits
Florida has general property tax benefits for the blind, people with physical disabilities, and the elderly. Some are based on income, while others are available regardless of income.
These benefits frequently stack on top of benefits for veterans and can provide an even greater discount on homestead property taxes.
Where do you apply for property tax benefits?
You generally apply for all property tax benefits through the county property appraiser’s office. Many counties allow you to apply online, although you can also get in-person assistance at a local office.
The property appraiser is an elected position, and most focus on good customer service including helping veterans and others receive all of the property tax benefits they may be entitled to.
If you aren’t sure what benefits you might qualify for, what the requirements are, or what you need to apply, your first step should be scheduling an appointment at your property appraiser’s office.