Understanding Exemptions, Discounts and Classifications

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What are the available exemptions?

Additional forms can be found here.

What is Homestead Exemption?

Every person who owns and resides on real property in Florida on January 1, makes the property their permanent residence, and files a timely application, may receive a property tax exemption up to $50,000 of the assessed value. The first $25,000 applies to all property taxes. The added $25,000 applies to assessed value over $50,000 and only to non-school taxes.

What are the requirements and documentation needed to file for Homestead Exemption?

  • Valid Florida Drivers license (or valid Florida State issued ID)
  • Social security numbers for both you and your spouse
  • If you are not a US citizen, proof of permanent residency
  • Voter registration information
  • Proof of January 1st occupancy

You must file on or before March 1st of the year of the application.

  • You may obtain an application on our website click here and either mail it to us or file in person at the Alachua County Property Appraiser Office – 515 North Main St Suite 200 Gainesville, FL 32641
  • You may file in person at our office
  • Upon request, an application can be mailed

The Property Appraiser’s office will determine whether you are eligible.

Your exemption will be renewed automatically if you received a Homestead Exemption last year, have not changed the title and still occupy the residence with the intention of making it your permanent home. A receipt will be mailed to you in early January. It is your responsibility to notify the Property Appraiser if your qualification for the Homestead exemption has changed.

Can my Homestead exemption be transferred?

No. The Homestead exemption stays with the property only for the remainder of the tax year. You must make a new application if you received an exemption last year but established a new residence before January 1st. Title and residency as of January 1 determine your qualification for Homestead exemption.

What is Amendment 10 ‘Save Our Homes’?

In November 1992, voters approved an amendment to the Florida Constitution that limits the size of the annual increase in the assessed values of properties that have Homestead Exemption. Under Amendment 10, increases in the annual value assessment of homestead property shall not exceed the lower of three percent (3%) or the percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Amendment 10 provides that, when you sell your property, the property will be assessed at Just or Market value as of January 1st of the year after the sale.

What is Portability of the ‘Save Our Homes’ benefit?

The Florida Homestead exemption ‘Save Our Homes’ benefit is now ‘portable’ due to the passage of constitutional Amendment 1 on January 29, 2008. The ‘Save Our Homes’ benefit is the difference between the assessed value and the market value of a Homestead property due to the annual limit on increases in assessed value. Portability means that, from now on, you can transfer some or all of your prior home’s ‘Save Our Homes’ benefit to your new homestead property. You must complete a DR-501-T (transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference) form with your Homestead application by March 1st of your application year.

What are the additional exemptions?

Click the chart to enlarge.

You may make application with your Homestead application or at such time you become qualified. For applications, click here.

Agriculture Classification, Guidelines and Requirements

An agriculture classification is the designation of land by the Property Appraiser, pursuant to F.S. 193.461, in which the assessment is based on agricultural use value.

To qualify for Agricultural classification, a return must be filed with the Property Appraiser between January 1 – March 1 of the tax year. Only the land that is used for a bona fide agricultural purpose shall be classified agricultural. “Bona Fide Agricultural Purposes” means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land.
The Property Appraiser, prior to classifying such lands, may require the taxpayer or the taxpayers representative to furnish such information as may reasonably be required to establish such lands are actually used for a bona fide agricultural purpose.

Application must be made between January 1 and March 1 While an agricultural operation must operate with the expectation of a profit, it does not have to be operated at a profit every year to be bona fide, but evidence of income which the property is producing and of the care given and procedure used in caring for the land is relevant. In other words, what management practices have been carried out on this land?

Factual Determinations to Consider

  1. Has the operation been continuous?
  2. Is there evidence that establishes a bona fide effort by the property owner to sufficiently and adequately care for the land in a commercial agricultural manner?
  3. Has there been a true effort to have the property contribute to the agricultural economy of the county on either a short or long term basis, proportionate to the size of the property.
  4. What portion of the property is being used for agriculture?
  5. Has a “Tangible Personal Property” return been filed on all equipment that is involved in the farming operation by April 1 of each year?
  6. Is the application(s) accompanied by a farm or forestry plan or written lease?
  7. How do your practices and plan compare to reasonable, typical management practices for similar operations?
Pasture-Livestock (approximate) stocking rates
10 Cows Breeding age females or equivalent animal units
30 Goats or Sheep Breeding, females or equivalent animal units
3 Horses Breeding, boarding and training
10 Hogs Breeding age sows or equivalent animal units
Feed Lot Individual basis
Field Crops
Row Crops Peanuts, corn, grain sorghum, soybeans, cotton, etc.
Vegetable Crops Squash, okra, tomatoes, peas, etc.
Hay Commercial varieties, minimum of two cuttings, fertilized,
Timber
Planted Pines Planting rate – 600 per acre
Natural Pine Individual basis
Christmas Trees Planting rate – 1100 per acre
Orchards and Groves
Example of spacing on all grove and specialty crops:
Pecans 60 x 60 spacing, approx. 12 trees per acre
Chestnuts 20 x 20 spacing, approx. 105 trees per acre
Persimmons 10 x 15 spacing, approx. 170 trees per acre
Apples, Peaches, 15 x 20 spacing, approx. 140 trees per acre
Pears
Specialty Crops
Blueberries 6 x 12 spacing, approx. 600 bushes per acre
Blackberries 5 x 12 spacing, approx. 720 bushes per acre
Grapes 15 x 10 spacing, approx. 170 plants per acre
Strawberries
Tree Farm Planting rate – 300 to 1000, depending on species
Green House/Nursery (individual basis)
Poultry, Ostrich, Emu, Rhea, Fish, Other (individual basis)
Note: All applications for timber require a forestry plan. Farm plans require a lease when applicable, along with other documentation depending on the intended commercial usage.

Factual Determinations to consider when applying for agricultural classification.

  1. Has the operation been continuous?
  2. Is there evidence that establishes a bona fide effort by the property owner to sufficiently and adequately care for the land in a commercial agricultural manner?
  3. Has there been a true effort to have the property contribute to the agricultural economy of the county on either a short or long term basis, proportionate to the size of the property.
  4. What portion of the property is being used for agriculture?
  5. Has a “Tangible Personal Property” return been filed on all equipment that is involved in the farming operation by April 1 of each year?
  6. Is the application(s) accompanied by a farm or forestry plan or written lease?
  7. How do your practices and plan compare to reasonable, typical management practices for similar operations?

What are Conservation Lands?

Florida Statutes provide two avenues of property tax relief for conservation easements, environmentally endangered lands, and other conservation areas that retain the natural landscape and ecosystem. The first is a conservation land classification. The second is a property tax exemption. To qualify for either the classification or exemption, an application must be filed with the Property Appraiser between January 1 – March 1 of the tax year.

What is an Institutional Exemption?

Organizations that are organized and operated for one or more of the following purpose(s): Religious, Charitable, Literary, Scientific, Sewer Water/Wastewater Systems, Educational, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, or Homes for the Special Services and wish to apply for exempt status under Chapter 196 of the Florida Statue’s must provide copies of the following information in addition to a completed application. View all forms.

  • An income and expense statement covering the last 12 months of operation.
  • A complete copy of the Organization’s most recent Federal tax return.
  • A copy of a valid 501(c)(3) Internal Revenue Service determination.
  • A copy of a valid Consumer Certificate of Exemption from the Florida Department of Revenue issued pursuant to CHAPTER 212 Florida Statutes (a/k/a sales tax exemption certificate).
  • A copy of the Organization’s Articles of Incorporation
  • Copy of any Operating Agreements
  • A copy of Organization’s By-Laws
  • Please include a list or inventory of tangible personal property (include value), i.e. Equipment and items other than real estate and licensed vehicles.
  • Applicable licenses for operation
  • Copy of current lease
  • If parcel is zoned residential , a letter from the city or county zoning department approving the use type
  • Religious Exemption also will require a copy of the Church Charter
  • Religious Exemption on vacant land – documented proof of “affirmative steps” to prepare the property for use as a house of public worship.
  • Educational Exemption requires Accreditation eligibility from Florida Counsel of Independent Schools or Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • A Child Care Facility requesting Educational Exemption must provide a copy of the Gold Seal Certificate
  • Homes for the Aged are required to have licensing by the Agency for Healthcare Administration if medical facilities or nursing services are provided

What is the Tangible Personal Property Exemption?

In order to qualify for the Tangible Personal Property (TPP) Exemption of $25,000, you must file a timely TPP return (DR-405).
For additional information you may contact our Tangible Department at (352) 374-5234.