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IF the property was his residence (and continues to be his permanent residence) prior to incarceration, then he could. But actual residence at the time of applying for the exemption is required. Ultimately, all that is required to make the claim is that the property owner reside on the property and in good faith make the same his permanent home. Colwell, 226 B.R. at 719; see also Judd v. Schooley, 158 So.2d 514, 516 (Fla. 1963).
1. In order to meet the qualification deadline for the exemption you must be a Florida resident and own and occupy the property as your permanent residence on January 1st of the year you claim the exemption. You may also qualify for the exemption if you have a beneficial interest in the property under a 98 year lease or a life estate.
2. In order to meet the application deadline you must apply by March 1st of the year for which you are claiming the exemption.
So it sounds like he couldn't file for this year, nor next year if he's still incarcerated as of January 1. He actually has to reside at the property at the time of the application. But once he does, he can file for homestead exemptions, even though he's a partial owner. Partial ownership won't change that fact. Also, the fact that he's "involuntarily absent" from the property (incarcerated) doesn't mean he couldn't have those exemptions if he otherwise qualified. That is, if he had those exemptions and THEN went to prison, they'd still be there. But to get the exemptions in the first place, he has to actually reside at the property.
I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.
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