Homestead Tax Deferral Program
The program is designed to assist homestead tax exempt taxpayers to defer a portion of their property taxes. The amount that can be deferred is based on age and the adjusted gross income of all members of the household:
- If the last year’s adjusted gross income for all members of the household was less than $10,000.
- If taxes and assessments are more than 5% of the adjusted income of all members of the household.
- If the applicant is younger than 65 years old – Taxes must exceed 5% of the applicant’s household income.
- If the applicant is 65 or older- Taxes must exceed 3% of the applicant’s household income.
The deferred portion becomes a first Lien on the property with interest, which accrues until the taxes are paid, and cannot exceed 7 percent.
All deferred taxes plus interest constitute a prior lien on the homestead per FL Statute 197.262 and are due and payable with any changes in:
- Property use
- Homestead exemption eligibility
- Change in ownership
- Failure to maintain the required Fire and Extended Insurance coverage.
Eligibility Requirements for the Homestead Tax Deferral Program
- Must be entitled to claim homestead tax exemption. To qualify for the homestead tax exemption, contact the Highlands County Property Appraiser’s Office at (863)402-6659 or their website here.
- Proof of fire and extended home insurance coverage in an amount at least equal to the total of all outstanding liens, including a lien for deferred taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, and interest, with a loss payable clause to the Tax Collector. A clause obligating the Insurance carrier to notify the Tax Collector of cancellation or non-renewal.
- Provide proof of income – Federal Income Tax return or Social Security Form
- Required to submit an annual application for tax deferral with the Tax Collector on or before March 31st, following the year in which the taxes and non-ad valorem assessments are assessed.