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How Marriage Impacts the Florida Homestead Property Tax Exemption

Marriage is almost always followed by homeownership, which is why married couples in Florida (including since January 6, same-sex couples) enjoy special privileged in this regard – namely the unique legal status of Tenants By The Entirety (TBTE). Granted automatically when couples become Grantees of a deed, TBTE gives each spouse overlapping, 100 percent interest in their Homestead Property Tax Exemption and in the rights of inheritance for the surviving spouse.

TBTE only applies when a married couple takes ownership of a home; thus, if you move into a home shortly before legal marriage and then wish to continue living there after you tie the knot, you will need to change the ownership type from couple to married couple and have this recorded in Public Record – otherwise you miss out on the benefits. Consult with your attorney when making this decision.

Keep in mind that Florida permits only one Homestead Property Tax Exemption per married couple; before Jan. 6, same-sex couples married outside of Florida could maintain up to two permanent, residency-based property tax exemptions, since their legal status was not recognized in the state. But now the limitation applies to same-sex couples as it does any married couple.

So if either spouse is claiming a permanent residency-based property tax exemption anywhere else in the world, starting on the 2016 tax year, they will not only lose their Florida Tax Exemption, but will be subject to back assessment liens, penalties, and interest if found making a claim anywhere else. So married couples must determine which Homestead Exemption / permanent residency-based exemptions they want to surrender and inform the Property Appraiser’s Office of the change as soon as possible.

Beyond the Florida Tax Exemption, the importance of having a Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney cannot be understated for a married couple. An experienced and professional Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Lawyer can help mitigate this difficult