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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

OVERVIEW OF FLORIDA REAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF [FLORIDA]

Florida real property owners have recently suffered through the double whammy of rising ad valorem real estate taxes that coincided with rising real property values, and increased insurance costs due to hurricanes. Recently enacted tax relief aims to reduce the tax portion of the increased costs of home ownership.

The legislation is in two parts. The first part provides for immediate relief. The second part puts a proposed constitutional amendment before the voters in January 2008 which will allow for further reductions.

In regard to the immediate relief, all property owners will have their 2007 taxes reduced to 2006 levels, with further cuts being mandated in those localities that have had higher rates of tax growth in recent years. Further, future growth in taxes (excluding school taxes) will be limited to the rate of growth in personal income.

The proposed constitutional amendment provides for various relief, including:

  1. Replacing the current $25,000 homestead exemption, and the Save Our Homes tax-cap, with an exemption equal to 75% of the first $200,000 of a home's value, and 15% of the next $300,000 of the home's value. Homeowners will have a one-time choice of continuing with their current homestead exemption and a 3% Save Our Homes tax cap or the new exemption.
  2. A minimum $100,000 homestead exemption for low-income seniors.
  3. Taxing affordable housing based on the landlord's income from the property (instead of the highest and best use of the property).
  4. Taxing of working waterfronts based on the income from the property (instead of the highest and best use of the property.
  5. An exemption for the first$25,000 of tangible personal property.
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