Can separated couple claim two homestead exemptions?
Married couples are only entitled to one homestead exemption for real estate taxes in Florida. There may be an exception for separated couples who file separate tax returns.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Kelly, you're on news 96.5, go ahead.
Kelly: Hi, I am recently separated after a 30-year marriage. Nothing legal, no legal separation, we just went our separate ways for now. My husband is in South Florida, and he's claimed homestead exemption on the house down there, and me as well, when I lived down there. Now I've moved to North Florida and bought a home and property in North Florida. I want to know what the problem would be with me claiming homestead exemption in North Florida, for my home there.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Kelly, in the state of Florida, a married couple can only claim one homestead exemption. Now, Kelly, back in the day, one of the property appraisers told me that a married couple could claim two homestead exemptions, but only if they were filing separate tax returns. Kelly, that may be the only thing, as far as I know, that would qualify you to file two homestead exemptions, and even if you said, "Tom, we're doing separate tax returns." I'd want you to double-check me on this.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Kelly, these counties are cross-checking each other, looking for married couples who are cheating, you might say, and when they catch you, they will charge you back taxes, interest, and penalties. Kelly, you might think, "Oh, why not. We're living separate and apart. We've got two different homesteads." No, it doesn't work that way, Kelly.