PROPERTY TAX REFORM
WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU

Florida property taxes are heading down,
which is good news for homeowners and those interested in buying a home.

But exactly how much will the average homeowner or buyer benefit from what is being touted as “The Largest Tax Cut in Florida’s History?” 

The Florida State Legislature approved property tax reform measures that would guarantee all homeowners at least some reduction in their property tax bills.  There are two major parts of this legislation.

PART 1:

The first part of the reform package reduces local governments’ budgets by at least three per cent and as much as nine percent, meaning your property tax bill should be lower by an equivalent amount.  The reduction is expected to average seven percent statewide and be nine percent in Palm Beach County. It will apply to tax bills going out in November, 2007.  Property taxes will increase in time, but the legislation caps property tax revenues for local governments at the rate of personal income growth in the state, which has averaged 4.2 percent during the past 20 years.

PART 2:

The second major part of the reform package applies to homesteaded property only and could change the way a home’s taxable value is determined. 

This part of the package must be approved by 60 percent of the voters in a special election to be held on January 29, 2008.  If approved by voters, it would give homesteaded homeowners a 75 percent exemption on the first $200,000 of home value plus a 15 percent exemption on the next $300,000 of home value.  There is also a minimum exemption of $50,000 for homesteaded property and a minimum exemption of $100,000 for low income seniors.  The $500,000 threshold to which the exemptions apply would increase by the rate of personal income growth each year.  Again, personal income growth has averaged 4.2 percent during the past 20 years.

Current homeowners who are homesteaded would have the option of remaining with the current Save Our Homes method of determining their home’s taxable value or moving to the new system.  The Save Our Homes provision caps taxable value increases at three percent per year.  Once they move to the new system, they cannot return to the Save Our Home’s method.

To apply for benefits under the Homestead Act, you must be a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the initial application year, have legal title to a Florida residential property by January 1, and live there permanently.  Actual use and occupancy of the property is required, but continuous, uninterrupted presence is not mandatory.  A copy of your deed and proof of residency is required. You may submit a copy of your Florida driver's license, voter's registration or permanent residency card. Exemptions cannot be transferred. If you sell your home and buy another residence, you must file a new application.

WHAT TO DO?

So if the new system is approved by voters in January, how do you decide which system you want applied to your home?  I can help you with that!!

First, you need to get the market value and assessed value for your home from the property appraisers’ office.  Just click here for the property appraisers in Palm Beach County, Martin County, St. Lucie County, Broward County or Miami-Dade County.  Look for the section called “records,” or “real estate,” or “real property search,” or “property search”.  Enter your address and note the market value of your home and the assessed value of your home.

Come back and click here for an interactive page where you can enter the market value of your home and the assessed value of your home.  You will get a table that shows you the taxable value of your home for the next 15 years under Save Our Homes and under the new system.  That way you can determine which system is best for you.