On January 29, Floridians went to the polls and voted for a Constitutional Amendment which significantly impacts both homestead and non-homestead properties. I’ve received a lot of questions about these changes, and with the homestead exemption application deadline fast approaching on March 1, I’m reprinting here a well-written set of FAQs on the Amendment compiled by the Florida Association of Realtors to address concerns you may have. For ongoing, up-to-date info, check out the Amendment info page on the Florida Department of Revenue’s website.
Q: When will the changes from Amendment 1 show up on tax bills?
A: For those who are eligible, benefits from portability, the additional homestead exemption and the $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property will show up on 2008 tax bills.
Q: How does a person apply for portability?
A: The homesteaded property owner should turn in a completed application to the office of the property appraiser in the county where the new homestead is located. The application from the Department of Revenue.
Q: Who’s eligible for portability this year?
A: A person who establishes a new Florida homestead for 2008 and filed to give up the previous homestead sometime after Jan. 1, 2007. In other words, a person who relocated from a homestead last year and is claiming a new homestead for 2008 is eligible. The deadline for 2008 homestead and portability applications is March 1. The portability benefit would show up on the 2008 tax bill.
Q: Who’s eligible for portability after that?
A: Any Florida homesteaded property owner who establishes a new homestead for 2009 or any subsequent year as long as the person had another valid homestead within two years of establishing the new one.
Q: How much is the portability benefit worth?
A: A homesteaded property owner can transfer up to $500,000 of portability benefit to a new homestead. A person moving to a more expensive home transfers the dollar amount. A person moving to a less expensive home transfers the percentage value.
Q: I don’t plan to move. What happens to the 3 percent cap on property tax assessments I got every year under Save Our Homes?
A: You’re still protected. Save Our Homes doesn’t go away.
Q: Is there an application for the additional homestead exemption?
A: No. The additional exemption will be granted automatically to anyone qualifying for a base $25,000 homestead exemption. It applies only if a property’s assessed value exceeds $50,000.
Q: How much is the additional exemption?
A: The exemption is $25,000, but it does not apply to property taxes assessed for local schools. In other words, no additional exemption will be applied to a property’s assessed value for the purposes of levying school taxes.
Q: Do business owners and mobile-home owners with tangible personal property have to apply for the exemption?
A: To receive the exemption, they must file their 2008 returns. If the value of tangible personal property is under $25,000, they will not have to file again the following year.
Q: When does the 10 percent cap on annual assessment increases for most non-homesteaded properties go into effect?
A: It goes into effect in 2009. There will also be an application. Keep checking the Department of Revenue web site [http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/appraisers.html ]for details.
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