Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to increase from 2 years to 3 years, the period of time during which accrued "Save Our Homes" benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.
On November 3, 2020, Floridians will head to the polls to cast their votes. At the top of the ballot will be choices for President, members of Congress, State Legislators, as well as various local and community elections. Additionally, Floridians will be tasked with considering six proposed amendments to Florida’s constitution. Florida Amendment 5, a proposed extension of Florida’s “Save Our Homes” protection, is one of those amendments.
In 1992, Floridians approved a constitutional amendment known as the “Save Our Homes” Amendment. This amendment limited increases to the assessed (taxable) value of homestead property to a maximum of 3 percent annually or the increase in the CPI, whichever is less. The purpose of this amendment was to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes when the market value of their property dramatically increased.
In 2008, Floridians approved a related constitutional amendment that allowed the homeowner to transfer all or part of the assessment difference to a new Florida homestead. Currently, homestead property owners can transfer their “Save Our Homes” benefit to a new homestead if the new homestead exemption is established by January 1, of the second year following the abandonment of their old homestead.
Florida Amendment 5 was placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature to extend the period for establishing a new homestead exemption by an additional year. Currently, in order to transfer “Save Our Homes” benefits, a homeowner must have received a homestead exemption for the new home within two years of January 1 of the year in which the old homestead was abandoned - not sold.
For example, a homeowner who sells their home in December 2020 would have until January 1, 2022, to transfer their “Save Our Homes” benefits - a period of 12 months and a few days, not two years. Florida Amendment 5 will solve the unintended effect of the current language and allow homeowners to take their “Save Our Homes” benefit with them for up to three years.
Changes to Florida’s constitution require thoughtful deliberation and voter scrutiny. Therefore, it is important to understand that by providing this additional benefit, homeowners’ local property taxes will be reduced. The state estimates that by five years $10.2 million will be trimmed from local property taxes. Property tax revenues serve as a major funding source for school districts and local government. Also, in order to be adopted, Amendment 5 must be approved by 60% of the voters.
If you need more information on homestead exemption or how the “Save Our Homes” benefit may help you, there is more information on the Sarasota County Property Appraiser's website. As always, if you need help navigating any property tax-related issue, please feel free to contact my office.