It’s Homestead Application Time Again in Florida

All legal Florida residents are eligible for Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify.

A Florida resident is entitled to receive Homestead Exemption on a property if, as of January 1st, that property is the resident’s permanent home. Permanent residence is determined by January 1 of each year.

The timely filing period for Homestead Exemption for 2017 ends on March 1, 2017. The absolute deadline for late filing for any 2017 exemption (if you miss the March 1 timely filing deadline) is September 18, 2017. State law (Sec. 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadline.

Below is the information you will need when filing for Homestead Exemption:

1. Proof of Ownership: In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. If the property is held in a trust, a copy of the trust agreement or certificate of trust is required.

2. Proof of Permanent Florida Residence — preferably dated prior to January 1 of the tax year for which you are filing — is established in the form of:

A. Florida’s Driver’s License (or — for non-drivers only — a Florida I.D. Card) is REQUIRED. You MUST also have either of the following:

1. Florida Voter’s Registration; or

2. Recorded Declaration of Domicile.

B. FOR NON-US CITIZENS, you MUST have the items listed above AND proof of permanent residency, asylum/parolee status (or other “PRUCOL” status); OR proof you are the parent of a US-born (US Citizen) minor child who resides with you.

A property with Homestead Exemption receives a reduced value for real estate property taxes. In addition, the constitutional homestead protections afford the owner protection from forced sale to meet the demands of creditors. There are however some exceptions to the constitutional homestead protections, such as parties to whom the property was pledged as collateral for a mortgage.

In Broward County, you may file online https://bcpasecure.net/homesteadonline/web/index.aspx.

In Miami-Dade County, you may file online https://www8.miamidade.gov/Apps/PA/PAOnlineTools/AutoOnlineFile/ExemptionOnlineMainMenu.aspx

Are you Subject to a FinCEN Targeting Order?

A FinCEN Targeting Order has Been Extended to Cash Purchases of Residential Property in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties for $1,000,000 or more by a Legal Entity

In January of this year the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), issued a Geographic Targeting Order (“GTO”) which requires offices and agents of various title insurance underwriters to collect and report information regarding certain purchases/sales of residential property. The GTO applies to residential properties located in Miami-Dade County with a sales price of $1,000,000 or more that closed on or after March 1, 2016 through August 27, 2016.  Additionally, the information applies to a purchase made without a bank loan where the buyer is a legal entity such as a limited liability company, corporation, partnership or similar business entity, but not a trust.

July 2016 GTO extends into Palm Beach and Broward Counties

On July 22, 2016, FinCEN issued another GTO, (“July 2016 GTO”). Starting August 28, 2016, the July 2016 GTO will include properties in Palm Beach and Broward Counties that meet the reporting criteria.

July 2016 GTO Expands Criteria to Include Personal & Business Checks

The original GTO requires reporting if the purchase price is paid in cash, a cashier’s check, a certified check, a traveler’s check, or a money order in any form. The original GTO did not require reporting if the purchase price was paid by a personal or business check. In addition to expanding the counties regulated and the timeframe through February 23, 2017, the July 2016 GTO adds personal and business checks to the list.

What does this mean to you?

Closing agents are required to collect and report information regarding real property purchases which meet ALL of the following:

  • The purchase of the residential property is located in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach or Broward County.
  • The purchase is completed on or after August 28, 2016, through February 23, 2017.
  • The purchase price is $1,000,000 or more.
  • The buyer is a legal entity, (e.g., limited liability company, corporation, partnership or similar business entity, but not a trust).
  • Purchase is made without a bank loan or other similar form of external financing (financing by a financial institution that is required to have an anti-money laundering policy).
  • Purchase price is paid, in whole or in part, with cash, cashier check, certified check, travelers check, money order in any form, personal or business check.  This does NOT include a sale where the purchase price is paid entirely by a wire transfer.

If You Are a Home-Buyer, You Will Want to Know These Important Steps

Read this resource for a comprehensive list of steps that home-buyers must work through in order to purchase their home.

How Does the Closing Process Work?

Read for an outline of the closing process, which can be used as a starting point for further inquiry and exploration.

Before Purchasing a Home, What You Need to Know About Title Services

When purchasing a property, you and your lender want to be certain your ownership rights are never questioned.