To qualify for the Florida homestead exemption, you must show that you are the legal owner of a residential property and that you are a permanent Florida resident. You also must live in the property as of Jan. 1 of the year that you claim the exemption. The deadline to file for a Florida homestead exemption is March 1, according to the Sarasota County Property Appraiser.
To prove that you own the property, make a copy of the deed or the tax bill. You must show multiple documents to prove that you are a permanent Florida resident, notes the Sarasota County Property Appraiser. First, you must show a valid Florida driver’s license or identification card. If you also have either a Florida vehicle registration or a voter registration card, your proof of residency is complete. If not, you must show at least two other documents, including employment pay stubs, utility bills or federal income tax returns that show the Florida address.
Although you must show permanent Florida residency to qualify for the homestead exemption, you don’t have to live in the property for a minimum number of days, explains the Sarasota County Property Appraiser. Homeowners who travel for much of the year are still Florida residents if they have the required documents.