Tuesday, February 12, 2008

FAQs on Florida's Property Tax Portability Amendment



What is the Property Tax Portability Amendment?

On January 29, 2008. the citizens of Florida voted for the implementation of the 2007 Special Session D legislation (increases to the homestead exemption, homestead portability, tangible personal property tax exemption, and assessment caps on non-homestead property). In short, the "Property Tax Portability Amendment". The amendment provides in part for homeowners to transfer some or all of their savings in property taxes as a result of their homestead when they sell their home and purchase another home in Florida. Previously, the assessed value of the new home would be readjusted as a result of the new purchase to reflect the new "fair value". For more information, see the Department of Revenue's FAQ'S


What is the "Save our Homes" Benefit?

The "Save Our Homes" benefit is the difference between the assessed value and market value of a homestead property due to the annual limit on increases in assessed value. Portability means that, from now on, you can transfer some or all of your old home's "Save Our Homes" benefit to your new home.


When will the changes from Amendment 1 show up on tax bills?

Portability first becomes available for homeowners who had a 2007 homestead exemption on their old home and established a new homestead by January 1, 2008. If you moved into a new home by January 1, 2008, you have through March 1, 2008, to apply to your property appraiser for your new homestead exemption and for the transfer of the “Save Our Homes” benefit to your new homestead for 2008. If you have already applied for a homestead exemption on your new home, you must complete a separate application by March 1, 2008, to transfer the "Save Our Homes" benefit to your new homestead.

How much is the portability benefit worth?

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.


How does a person apply for portability?

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.

Who's eligible for portability this year?

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.

Who's eligible for portability after that?

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.

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?

You’re still protected. Save Our Homes doesn’t go away.

Is there an application for the additional homestead exemption?

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.

How much is the additional exemption?

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.

Do business owners and mobile-home owners with tangible personal property have to apply for the exemption?

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.

When does the 10 percent cap on annual assessment increases for most non-homesteaded properties go into effect?

It goes into effect in 2009. There will also be an application. Keep checking the Department of Revenue web site for details.


Does the Amendment correct or alleviate the Property Tax Crisis in Florida?

Absolutely Not!. While the amendment provides a little bit of immediate relief (about $200 savings for the average homesteaded home), and allows the portability of savings, it does not resolve the inequalities of the system. Further, and most importantly, it fails to address the real problem that prompted this crisis: Runaway spending by Counties and Municipalities. The amendment does nothing to prevent or correct the fiscal profligacy and financial waste inflicted on the taxpayers by many public officials. See my Florida's Perfect Storm post. This amendment merely delays the inevitable "time of reckoning" decision.




  1. What if I already sold my home in 2007?, can I get some retroactive benefit to apply for the next home I buy?

  2. If you received the homestead exemption in 2007 on a home that you sold during 2007 and have purchased a new home by January 1, 2008, you are eligible to take some or all of the benefit of "Save our Homes" to your new home. In order to receive this benefit, you must apply by March 1, 2008to your property appraiser for your new homestead exemption and for the transfer of the "Save Our
    Homes" benefit to your new homestead for 2008.

    This is very important to everyone who recently sold/bought a Florida homesteaded property in 2007. If you qualify for this part of Amendment 1, you MUST complete the Florida Department of Revenue form and return it to your property appraiser's office by MARCH 1, 2008, in order to transfer the portability Save Our Homes tax benefits. Contact your property appraiser for the latests rules as the amendment was poorly written and there are quite a few loopholes and confusing regulations.

    The Florida Property Appraisers are here

    To make matters more interesting, there is a "new amendment" in the works... but that's for next year if it passes the legislature.

  3. I am very happy for those that were able to use the portability property tax. This is causing Florida to lose a large amount of taxes

    I live in a community where my "well to do neighbors" pay way less taxes on their house than I do because my last Florida residense was in my ex's name, so this was a first time home purchase in Florida for me, So I could not use the portability tax.

    I would think that Florida would do away with the Portability and earn more property tax through everyone paying the taxes on the value of the property they live in. I'ts hard for me to see others in my neighborhood paying up to thousands of dollars less, for the same home. I do not think this is fair at all.



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