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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Out of State Homestead Exemption Voids Florida Exemption [Florida]

Florida exempts a portion of a Florida homestead from ad valorem tax. This could save a taxpayer a few hundred dollars a year. The real economic value to such an exemption is that under Florida's Save our Homes provision, ad valorem tax value increases are limited to 3% per year even though the value of the residence increases more.

A husband owned a residence in Indiana. He received a residency-based property tax exemption from Indiana on that property. His wife owned a Florida residence and received a Florida homestead ad valorem tax exemption. In August 2006, the Broward County Property Appraiser caught wind of the dual exemption filings. It trotted out Article VII, Section 6(b) of the Florida Constitution, which reads "[n]ot more than one exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit or with respect to any residential unit." Based on that provision, the appraiser sought to remove the homestead exemption from the wife's property for 1996 through 2006 - this uncapped the value for ad valorem tax purposes by removing the 3% Save our Homes protection.

Does the Constitution provision apply if the second exemption property is in another state? Yes, says the appeals court.

Is it unconstitutional to deny the wife her exemption because her husband sought exemption in another state? No, says the appeals court

A cautionary tale for Florida homeowners.

VENICE L. ENDSLEY, Appellant, v. BROWARD COUNTY, FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DEPARTMENT, REVENUE COLLECTIONS DIVISION; LORI PARRISH, as Broward County Property Appraiser, et al., Appellees. 4th District. Case No. 4D14-3997. March 23, 2016

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