What is Homestead Fraud?
Homestead fraud occurs when a person who has filed for homestead exemption
or is currently receiving homestead exemption is determined not to be a permanent
resident of Monroe County, or who is not in good faith residing on the property on
which he or she filed.
What does the law say?
Pursuant to Sections
193.155 (9) and
196.161 of the
Florida Statutes, property owners who intentionally cheat on their homestead exemption
will have a tax lien placed against their properties, be back taxed for up to 10 years
(as applicable), be required to pay a sizable penalty (50% of the unpaid taxes for each
year), and pay interest at a rate of 15% per year.
The Top 5 Reasons For Losing Your Homestead:
- Renting your property.
- Maintaining or obtaining an out-of-state residency-based tax exemption, reduction, benefit, credit, etc., on another property you own such as STAR in NY, Principal Residency in Michigan, 2.5% Ohio reduction, etc.
- Maintaining or obtaining a driver's license in any other state. A driver's license is residency based.
- Not registering your vehicle in Florida if you drive it here.
- Registering to vote elsewhere.
How does this affect me?
Fraudulent homestead exemptions remove funds from our law enforcement, our schools,
and our fire and EMS service and can lower our quality of life in Monroe County. Those
tax dollars have to be made up somewhere, and the honest tax payers get stuck making
up the difference.
What can I do to help?
The Monroe County Property Appraiser investigates homestead fraud very aggressively.
If you know or suspect homestead fraud is taking place, let us know about it. You
can do it by filling out the form below or by contacting the Monroe County Property
Appraiser at 1-800-448-3004. All information submitted is CONFIDENTIAL
unless you wish to be contacted and provide contact information.
*Please note: Whoever knowingly makes a false statement in writing with the intent to mislead a public
servant in the performance of his or her official duty shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree,
punishable as provided in FS 775.082 or FS 775.083.
May part of a homestead be rented?
Yes, as long as it is recorded in the property appraisers records. Rented area is excluded from Homestead
Exemption and Save Our Home protection.
Is Homestead Exemption removed when the property is sold?
Homestead Exemption stays on the property the year of the sale but is removed the following tax year.
The new owner must apply for the exemption no later than March 1 of the next tax year.