Homestead Exemption is a benefit for Florida residents who own and occupy their property as their permanent and legal residence. Homestead and other Exemptions lower a property's taxable value and, ultimately, lower the taxes due on that property.
Exemption fraud occurs when someone claims a Homestead Exemption and/or other Exemptions, while maintaining a permanent, legal residence elsewhere; is not a Florida resident; is renting the home; or when the individual and/or spouse receives a residency based tax benefit elsewhere.
Florida Statute 196.131(2) provides that "any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming Homestead Exemption shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 (one) year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both."
Florida Statute 196.161(1)(b) further states that "upon determination by the Property Appraiser that for any year or years within the prior 10 years a person who was not entitled to a Homestead Exemption was granted a Homestead Exemption from ad valorem taxes, it shall be the duty of the Property Appraiser making such determination to serve upon the owner a notice of intent to record in the public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any property owned by that person in the county, and such property shall be identified in the notice of tax lien. Such property which is situated in this state shall be subject to the taxes exempted thereby, plus a penalty of 50 percent of the unpaid taxes for each year and 15 percent interest per annum."
Note: The exemption status of a property on January 1 each year is used to determine the exemption status for the entire year. That means if a homesteaded property owner sells his/her property after January 1, the exemption will remain on the property for the entire calendar year, and will be removed as of January 1 the next year.
HELP STOP EXEMPTION FRAUD
When someone receives an exemption to which he or she is not entitled, law-abiding property owners must make up the difference in lost tax revenue by paying higher taxes.
If you are aware of anyone who is claiming an exemption on a property that he or she is not entitled, we urge you to make a report to our office. It is extremely helpful to an investigation if we speak to you personally but in the end you may remain anonymous if you prefer. You can notify the Hernando County Property Appraiser’s Investigation Department at (352) 754-4190 (Press 8 for Investigations) or by selecting and completing the form link below. Each report will be investigated by this office. Where exemption fraud can be substantiated using the criteria set forth by Florida law, this office will take action.
Click here to report exemption fraud!