REPORTING HOMESTEAD FRAUD!IMPROPER HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION (Florida Statute 196.161)This office investigates those who may have received a homestead exemption improperly. Ineligibility for homestead is caused by one of several reasons such as renting homesteaded property; having a homestead benefit in another county or state; not using the homestead property as their primary residence or other reason which should preclude that property from receiving a homestead exemption. In accordance with Florida Statutes, an improper homestead will cause this office to file a lien against the property for those years the property was ineligible for the exemption, up to ten years. Also, there will be a penalty of 50% of the tax due on each year the exemption was received and interest rate of 15% per annum will be applied. How does this affect me?Fraudulent homestead exemptions steal from our law enforcement, our schools, our libraries, and lower our quality of life in Gulf County. Those tax dollars have to be made up somewhere, and the honest taxpayers are the ones that make up the difference. What can I do to help?If you think you should not be receiving a homestead exemption, please contact this office. If you know or suspect homestead fraud is taking place, let us know about it. Any information you provide this office will be CONFIDENTIAL. You can call us at (850) 229-6115.