Whether you need to know how to pay your property taxes, are researching buying a home, or need to know what to do if you can’t pay your property taxes, this guide is for you.
Table of Contents
What is the Florida property tax or real estate tax?
Florida property owners have to pay property taxes each year based on the value of their property. Property taxes apply to both homes and businesses.
The average property tax rate in Florida is 0.83%. Each county sets its own tax rate.
There are also special tax districts such as schools and water management districts that have a separate property tax rate. These can include fixed-amount non-ad valorem assessments.
You can see tax rates by county either summarized on the Florida CFO page or by finding the website for your county’s tax collector.
Agricultural properties typically have lower taxes, and many people apply for the agricultural classification for a portion of their property to reduce their property tax bill.
How do property taxes work for condos?
Condo owners pay property taxes based on the assessed value of their condo. While the factors that affect what a condo is worth may differ from a single-family home, the tax procedures and benefits work the same.
What if you own multiple lots?
Some homes are sold as multiple lots or parcels. For example, two half-acre properties may be combined into a single acre that’s bought and sold together.
Multiple lots and parcels are treated as one property for property tax and Homestead Exemption purposes as long as they’re next to each other and you use them as if they’re a single property.
Are there limits on property taxes?
Florida has very strong limits on property tax increases for existing property owners. The Homestead Exemption also exempts property values up to a certain amount from property taxes.
Florida Homestead Exemption
You can qualify for the homestead exemption on your permanent, primary residence. There are two levels of the homestead exemption.
- The first $25,000 of your home’s value is not subject to property taxes.
- An additional $25,000 applies to the amount of your home’s value that is over $50,000 and up to $75,000. This exemption does not apply to school district taxes.
When you buy a property you’re making your permanent residence, apply for the Homestead Exemption at your local tax collector’s office. You do not need to reapply each year unless you move.
Florida Save Our Homes
Florida Save Our Homes is a Constitutional amendment and related laws that limits how much the assessed value of your primary residence can increase. To qualify, you must receive the Homestead Exemption.
Under Save Our Homes, the assessed value of your property can’t increase by more than the lower of 3% or the change in the Consumer Price Index. The assessed value is the amount you pay taxes on.
|Year You Own Your Home||Market Value||Assessed Value||Explanation|
|1||$100,000||$100,000||The first year you own a home, the market value equals the assessed value|
|2||$110,000||$103,000||Your assessed value can’t increase by more than 3% (or lower if the CPI is lower in that year)|
|3||$110,000||$106,090||Even though market values didn’t increase, your assessed value still increases by 3%|
|4||$108,000||$108,000||Market values fell but you were still not caught up to the market value. This is known as recapture.|
|5||$105,000||$105,000||Your assessed value can’t be higher than the market value.|
Florida Save Our Homes Portability
When you move to a new home in Florida, you can bring your Save Our Homes benefit with you. For example, say when you sold your home, the just value for property taxes was $150,000, and the assessed value was $100,000. You can bring $50,000 with you. If the just value of your next home is $250,000, your assessed value starts at $200,000.
The maximum amount you can transfer to a new home is $500,000. You have 3 years to buy a new home to avoid losing your benefit.
If you downsize, you can only bring a portion of the benefit based on the just or market value of each home. For example, if you had a $50,000 benefit on a home with a $150,000 market value and move to a home with a $75,000 market value, you can keep $25,000 of your benefit (75/150 = 50% x $50,000 = $25,000).
What if you improve the property?
If you make improvements or additions to your home, the value of those improvements are assessed at market value and added to your assessed value. There is no cap on the increase in your assessed value because of improvements.
For example, if you make $50,000 in improvements to a $100,000 home, your assessed value increases by the full $50,000. Once your assessed value is adjusted, the cap applies to your full assessed value in future years.
The Non-Homestead Cap works similarly to Save Our Homes. The difference is that it applies to properties, including businesses, that are not homesteads.
The cap is no more than a 10% increase in the assessed value of the property per year.
Other Property Tax Exemptions
Florida also has property tax benefits for several categories of people. Contact your local tax collector to confirm your eligibility and to apply.
- Quadriplegic person: Exempt from all ad valorem taxation
- Paraplegic, hemiplegic, or other totally and permanently disabled person who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legal blind may be exempt from taxation subject to income limits
- Every widow, widower, blind person, or other totally and permanently disabled person who is a resident of Florida receives an additional $500 exemption
- The homestead of a surviving spouse of a first responded who died in the line of duty is exempt from taxation
- Senior citizens who are over 65 are eligible for an additional $50,000 homestead exemption if they have owned the home at least 25 years, it is worth up to $250,000, and they meet income requirements
- Exemptions for veterans
- Honorably discharged service members with a 10% disaiblity receive a $5,000 reduction in their property’s assessed value
- 100% disabled veterans are exempt from property taxes
- Disabled veterans age 65 or older receive a discount on the assessed value of their property based on their disability rating
- Granny flats (adding living quarters for a parent or grandparent)
What happens when you buy a property?
When you buy a property, all property tax benefits reset on that property. The next owner will pay property taxes based on the current market value.
When buying a home in Florida, it is common for property taxes to increase substantially over what the previous owner was paying, even if their property wasn’t a homestead property. Most local tax collectors have a tool on their website to estimate what you will pay if you buy the property.
You must apply for the homestead exemption on your new home even if you had it on your prior home.
How do you look up a home’s appraisal or just value?
Nearly all county tax collectors have a public website where you can look up a home’s just value and tax history. These numbers are generally accurate. It’s the assessed value and property tax bill that usually change the most when a home is sold.
When are Florida property taxes due?
Florida property tax bills are typically sent on November 1st and late on April 1st. There are typically discounts according to the month you pay.
- November: 4%
- December: 3%
- January: 2%
- February: 1%
- March: 0%
If you don’t pay your taxes by April 1st, a 3% penalty applies. If you don’t pay your taxes by April 30th, the tax collector may sell a tax certificate on your home.
A tax certificate is a tax lien. After two years, the tax certificate holder may file for a tax deed application. The certificate holder doesn’t receive the deed for your home, but your home is put up for auction, with the proceeds first going to pay off any tax certificates.
Where can you find your property tax bill?
The tax collector typically mails your property tax bill to the property address unless you provided another mailing address. Most tax collectors make property tax bills and payment histories publicly available online.
You should also get a TRIM Notice in August. A TRIM Notice isn’t your bill, but it contains your estimated property taxes and other legal inforrmation.
Can you pay your property taxes online?
Most tax collectors have an online payments system. Convenience fees may apply.
What can you do if you disagree with the assessed value of your home or your denial of the Homestead Exemption or other special classifications?
Each county has a Value Adjustment Board that handles appeals of assessed values and other property tax issues (other than non-payment). The typical process is to send a written complaint and then attend a hearing.
Contact your local Value Adjustment Board for their procedures. If your Value Adjustment Board doesn’t have a website or you can’t find their information, contact the Clerk of Court for your county.
Can you deduct property taxes on your federal tax return?
Yes, you can generally deduct property taxes on your federal income tax return if you itemize your deductions.