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 Okeechobee 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
, 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.
How does this affect me?
Fraudulent homestead exemptions steal from our law enforcement, our schools, and our fire and EMS service and can lower our quality of life in Okeechobee 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?
If you know or suspect homestead fraud is taking place, let us know about it. You can do it CONFIDENTIALLY by filling out the form below or by contacting Okeechobee County Property Appraiser at 863-763-4422.
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 year. The new owner must apply for the exemption no later than March 1 of the next year.