Homestead Deadlines

It’s that time of year where some contracts are still closing in 2017 and some are pushing into the new year.  It is important for Buyers that are on the cusp to be aware of the January 1st and March 1st deadlines for the Florida homestead exemption.

In order to receive homestead exemption, a Buyer must both own and occupy a property as their primary residence on January 1, 2018.  If a Buyer is closing the morning of Monday, January 1, 2018 and moving right into the property intending to make it their permanent residence, then that Buyer has made it in time.  However, if a Buyer’s closing occurs on January 2, 2018, then they have not made the deadline and they will not be able to claim homestead in the 2018 tax year.  Additionally, if the Buyer’s closing occurred on or before January 1, 2018, but they were unable to move into the property, then they have not made the deadline and they will not be able to claim homestead in the 2018 tax year.

What about the March 1st deadline?   It is important to distinguish between the January 1st and the March 1st homestead deadlines.   The March 1st deadline is the deadline to complete the application for homestead exemption form, not the deadline to make the property a Buyer’s personal residence.  It is still a very important deadline to remember, as homestead exemption is not granted automatically (except in subsequent years once it has been established on a particular property).

If a Buyer is porting their homestead from one home to another, then they must also pay attention to the January 1st deadline.  They must establish their new homestead within two (2) assessment years of abandoning their previous homestead.  So, if they abandoned their previous homestead in 2015, they must be approved for their new homestead by January 1st of either 2016 or 2017 in order to qualify for portability.

If you have any questions about homestead, deadlines or portability, be sure to contact your local real estate attorney.



Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by Jessica Featherstone, Esq.

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

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