the following information is from the Okaloosa County Property Appraiser website: www.okaloosapa.com
- Homestead Exemption
- Military Homestead Exemption
- Senior Exemption
- Widow/Widower Exemption
- Non-Service Connected Total & Permanent Disability Exemption
- Non Service-Connected Disability Exemptions
- Veterans Disability Exemptions
- Report Exemption Abuse
What is the Homestead Exemption? Every person who owns and resides on real property in Okaloosa, Florida on January 1 and makes the property their permanent residence is eligible to receive a homestead exemption up to $50,000. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes including school district taxes. The additional exemption up to $25,000, applies to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and only to non-school taxes. This represents a substantial savings on the taxes levied against your property by the various taxing authorities.Pursuant to the Florida Constitution Section # 6 (b), Florida Statutes 196.031 (6) & Florida Administrative Code 12D7.012 (1,2 & 3) You as an individual & family unit are only entitled to one homestead tax exemption unless a separate family unit has been established under the law. To insure that you have all of the required documents for filing an exemption, please click here to print the Homestead Checklist or go under the Forms Download tab on our homepage and print out the checklist.
Why file? Homestead exemption can save you approximately $600 to $650 per year on your annual ad valorem taxes. An additional benefit to the homestead exemption is Amendment 10 (Save Our Homes), which will “cap” your property’s assessed value the year following your established first year of homestead exemption.
Who May File: Every person who has legal or equitable title to real property in Florida and who has recorded the title instrument in the public records of the county where application is made. The applicant must reside on the property as of January 1st and must in good faith, make it their permanent residence to be eligible.
When to File: Exemption applications must be made no later than March 1st for the tax year applied for. Failure to make application by March 1st of the tax year shall constitute a waiver of the exemption privilege for that year. The Property Appraiser will accept the filing of Homestead exemption applications after March 1st, but only with extenuating circumstances presented at the time of application.
Where to Apply: Property Appraiser’s Office, 73 Eglin Parkway NE Suite 202, Fort Walton Beach; or Property Appraiser’s Office, Okaloosa County Courthouse, 101 E. James Lee Blvd., Room 104, Crestview.
First Time Applicants: First-time applicants must come in person to file their application and bring ALL supporting documentation in order to start the application. However, the application and required supporting documentation must be brought to one of the two above listed locations. Only one signature is required for joint owners who are married with the same last name; however, all documentation listed below must be provided on all applications. All signatures are necessary if owners who occupy the home have different last names.
**DOCUMENTS REQUIRED to apply for ANY exemption: (click here for full checklist) :
1. One of the following: recorded warranty deed, last tax bill, printout from our website of your property, closing documentation.
2. Florida Driver License reflecting current Florida residential address (change of address must be made on or before January 1st): all joint owners who reside on the property need Florida Driver Licenses. (VALID IN FLORIDA ONLY LICENSES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT).
3. Florida Vehicle Registrations reflecting current Florida residential address (change of address must be made on or before January 1st). All vehicles owned by the applicants must have resident Florida registrations. Leased vehicles and nonresident registrations CANNOT be accepted. NOTE: Non-resident military registrations MUST be switched to FL resident registrations, as military members must also comply with the residency requirements for exemption purposes.
4. Social Security numbers are required for all owners listed on the deed. Owners must bring in something that verifies their number; social security card, medicare card, military ID card or most recent Income tax return filed with IRS or completed form 1040 (even if you don’t file a tax return with the IRS)..
5. A Recorded Florida Declaration of Domicile or Florida Voter Registration Card reflecting current residential address. If an owner does not have a car registered in their name, one of these documents will be required as proof of residency.
Please read the instructions carefully and be sure to comply with deadlines.
If I buy a property, which currently has a homestead exemption, do I get the benefit of that exemption for the remainder of the year?
If the seller had homestead exemption, the buyer may have the advantage of the seller’s homestead exemption for the remainder of the sale year. However, the “carried over” homestead exemption will be removed as of December 31st of the sale year. The new owner must apply by the deadline for homestead exemption in their name for the following year.
Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?
Citizenship is not a requirement to file for homestead exemption. However, an applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must prove that they have permanent residency status when they apply. Please bring your INS issued permanent residency photo ID card when filing an applicationfor exemption, ALONG with a copy of a recorded Florida Declaration of Domicile plus the **Required Documents shown above.Pursuant to the Florida Administrative Code 12D-7.007 (3) A person in this country under a temporary visa cannot meet the requirement of permanent residence or home and, therefore, cannot claim homestead exemption.
What if the property is in a trust?
The applicant must furnish this office with a copy of the trust agreement. Florida law specifies those situations under which the resident may obtain homestead exemption. The Florida Constitution requires that the homestead claimant have legal title or beneficial title in equity to the property.
Can I get a homestead exemption on a mobile home?
Yes, if you possess a mobile home Real Property (RP) decal and own the land. When applying, you must bring in the title or registration to the mobile home.
In order to change the mailing address on your property in Okaloosa County, you will need to complete the “Address Change Request Form”. This form is found under the Forms Download tab on our homepage or you can access it by clicking here, “Address Change Request Form”
SENIOR EXEMPTION (click here for full checklist)
Who may Apply? Florida residents who have a homestead exemption may qualify for an additional $50,000 of homestead exemption if they meet the following criteria:
1. Been approved for the $50,000 homestead exemption previously on same parcel.
2. Be at least 65 years of age as of January the 1st of the year they want to file.
3. Have a total household adjusted gross income that does not exceed the limit announced by the State of Florida each January. VIEW THE CURRENT YEAR’S INCOME LIMITATIONS
4. You must bring in a completed (signed) form 1040, even if you do not file an income tax return with the IRS. This 1040 form will show the proof of your income. You will need to bring in copies of any other person residing in the home’s income along with your 1040 form in order to start an application for this exemption. ALSO; Documents Required, as shown above.
Household: A “Household” is a person or group of persons living together in a room or groups of rooms as a housing unit but does not include those person(s) boarding in or renting a portion of the dwelling.F.S. 196.075 (a)
Household Adjusted Gross Income: The sum of income for all members of the household. For the purposes of applying for this exemption, it is the adjusted gross income figure that is calculated and reported on the Federal Income Tax return of all household members. As defined in s. 62 of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
This exemption only applies to the county and to those municipalities who pass an ordinance authorizing this exemption. This exemption does not apply to agencies such as fire districts, water management and the school district. Listed below are the municipalities allowing the Senior exemption:
Fort Walton Beach
IMPORTANT NOTE: You must apply for the Senior Exemption in person. Bring with you proof of your age, and copies of any federal income tax returns, and any wage and earning documents for each member of the household.
WIDOW/ WIDOWER EXEMPTION (click here for full checklist)
$500 Widow/Widower Exemption: Any widow/widower who is a permanent Florida resident may claim this exemption. If remarried, then the owner is no longer eligible for this exemption. If the husband and wife were divorced prior to the spouse passing away, then the surviving spouse is NOT eligible. You will be required to produce a death certificate when filing for the first time. You must file your application in person at one of the two Property Appraiser’s Office locations.ALSO; Documents Required, as shown above.
MILITARY HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION (click here for the Military Information Sheet)
Active-duty military members may retain their homestead exemption when stationed out of the area on official PCS orders. In order to qualify, applicants must provide a copy of their orders PRIOR to moving, currently receiving Homestead Exemption, maintain Florida residency, maintain a valid Florida driver license, and respond annually to the application that will be sent by our office. A NON-REG (non resident) vehicle registration in the State of Florida is not allowed when filing for homestead.
Military Member currently receiving homestead exemption leaving on PCS
If you are active duty military, currently receiving homestead exemption in Okaloosa County and received PCS orders, in order to maintain your exemption while away, you need to call or visit our office at (850)651-7240 (FWB) or (850) 689-5900 (Crestview).
DEPLOYED MILITARY DISCOUNT (click here for full checklist)
In November 2010, Florida voters approved a property tax discount that benefits certain deployed military service members. A service member who currently receives a homestead discount on their residence may receive additional savings on their property taxes. The new exemption is available to service members who were deployed during the preceding calendar year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of:
•Operation Enduring Freedom
•Operation Iraqi Freedom
•Operation New Dawn
•Operation Noble Eagle
•Operation Odessy Dawn
This exemption is equal to a percentage of the taxable value of your homestead property. The applicable percentage will be calculated as the number of days during the preceding calendar year that you were deployed.
To apply for the Deployed Military Exemption, you will be required to complete and return a DR-501M Deployed Military Exemption Application, along with a copy of your deployment orders and travel vouchers, to our office no later than March 1st of each year. An MFR from your Squadron Commander may be required if your travel orders do not provide the “operation”. A Medal, Citation or Commendation may be provided in lieu of MFR only if the citation names the specific operation and corresponding dates.
SERVICE CONNECTED TOTAL & PERMANENT DISABILITY EXEMPTION (click here for full checklist)
ANY honorably discharged veteran with a service connected total and permanent disability, surviving spouses of qualifying veterans and spouses of Florida resident veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the United States Armed forces are entitled to an exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes.
Persons entitled to this exemption must have been a permanent resident of this state as of January 1st of the year of assessment.
Under certain circumstances the benefit of this exemption can carry over to the veteran’s spouse in the event of the veteran’s death. Consult our office for further details.
When filing, please bring a certificate from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs as your proof of a service-connected disability or death of your spouse while on active duty. This letter must indicate the % of your disability that is service-connected.
EXEMPTION FOR TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED PERSONS (CIVILLIAN) (click here for full checklist)
- Any real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes by any quadriplegic shall be exempt from taxation.
- Any real estate used and owned as a homestead, less any portion thereof used for commercial purposes, by a paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person, as defined in Florida Statutes, section 196.012 (11), who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind, shall be exempt from taxation.
Persons entitled to the exemption under number two (2) above, must be a permanent resident of the State of Florida as of January 1st of the year of assessment. Also, the prior year gross income of all persons residing in or upon the homestead shall not exceed the amount of income, set forth in Florida Statutes section 196.101 (4), adjusted annually by the percentage change of the average cost of living index issued by the United States Department of Labor Gross income shall include United States Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and any social security benefits paid to the person. A statement of gross income must accompany the application. VIEW THE CURRENT YEAR’S INCOME LIMITATIONS
If filing for the first time, please bring a certificate from two (2) licensed doctors of this state (for the legally blind, one of the two certificates may be from a licensed optometrist of this state) or a certificate (per F.S. 196.091) from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
OTHER DISABILITY EXEMPTIONS (NON-MILITARY) (click here for full checklist)
1. $500 Disability Exemption: Applicants must submit a statement a statement of disability from one licensed, Florida physician on the state required form or letter issued by Social Security Administration. See the ”Forms” section of this website. You must file your application in person at one of the two Property Appraiser’s Office locations.
2. $500 Blind Exemption: Every Florida resident who is blind qualifies for this exemption. To claim this exemption you must bring in either:
a. A certificate from the Division of Blind Services of the Department of Education or the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or
b. Letter issued by Social Security Administration or
c. A DR416 form from one Florida physician certifying the applicant to be blind. See the “Forms” section of this website. “Blind person” is defined as an individual having central visual 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 20 degrees.
**Note: The above information is pursuant to the Florida Statutes 196.202. Property of widows, widowers, blind persons, and persons totally and permanently disabled.-Property to the value of $500 of every widow, widower, blind person, or totally and permanently disabled person who is a bona fide resident of this state shall be exempt from taxation. 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, by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor, or by the Social Security Administration to be totally and permanently disabled.
VETERANS DISABILITY EXEMPTION (click here for full checklist)
$5000 Veterans Disability Exemption: Any honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected disability, less than total and permanent, is entitled to this exemption. If filing for the first time, present a certificate from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. This certificate must prove your disability compensation of 10 percent to 100 percent related to wartime or service-connected disability. You must file your application in person at one of the two Property Appraiser’s Office locations.
Under certain circumstances, the benefit of the exemption can carry over to the veteran’s spouse in the event of the veteran’s death. Contact us for details. If filing for the first time, please bring a certificate from the United States Government or United States Department of Veterans Affairs as your proof of a service-connected disability or death of your spouse while on active duty. You must file your application in person at one of the two Property Appraiser’s Office locations.