Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution that would allow a homestead property tax discount to be transferred to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran.
On November 3, 2020, Floridians will head to the polls to cast their votes for the Presidential Election. 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 6 would allow the homestead property taxes discount to be transferred to the surviving spouse of deceased military veterans.
Florida's homestead property tax is part of the fabric of our state constitution. Generally, any amendments or changes to Florida's homestead policy can only be accomplished by constitutional amendments - not a legislative/statutory change. The property tax discount has been a part of the constitution since 1934. In 2006, a constitutional amendment passed that allowed veterans, 65 or older, to have a discount on their homestead property tax. Related constitutional amendments passed voter approval in 2010 and 2012 extended the discounts for veterans to active military personnel and disabled veterans. Currently, the exemption ends upon their death and does not extend to the spouse.
Florida is home to over 800,000 veterans who are over the age of 65. If adopted, proposed Florida Amendment 6 would be one of many benefits the state provides our veterans. This amendment was placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature and would transfer the homestead property tax discount to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran until they remarry, sell, or otherwise do away with the property. A state fiscal notes that if passed this amendment would have a recurring negative property tax revenue impact of $2.4 million state-wide. As changes to our constitution require a thoughtful deliberate process, it will take sixty percent of voters' approval to adopt this amendment.
If you need more information on homestead exemption rights or how the veterans discount may benefit 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.