As discussed in the last two blogs, the Florida Constitution allows resident homeowners to receive generous homestead exemptions if they qualify for a homestead exemption or reduction through the Florida Department of Revenue. In addition to the homestead programs available for veterans, the disabled, widows and widowers and to all other homeowners, the Florida Constitution allows local government municipalities to enact ordinances allowing their residents to receive additional homestead exemptions of up to an additional $50,000.
The extended homestead program is available to homeowners age 65 or older who permanently reside in their homes. The program sets forth income caps, which are subject to change annually based on consumer price indexes and cost-of-living increases.
Even if your local government does not offer an expanded or additional program or you do not qualify for it, you may be able to qualify for other state tax relief programs, including the Deployed Military Exemption program. This program is available to all actively deployed military service members who own property in Florida. Eligible service members receive property tax discounts based on the length of their military deployments.
Because of the different homestead tax programs offered by local Florida governments and the Florida Department of Revenue, you may want to contact an estate planning attorney to discuss the effects of placing property in trust while benefiting from this program.