For Florida voters, November 6 is about more than the presidential election. The ballot includes 11 proposed changes to Florida’s constitution.
These changes, which would require 60 percent of the vote to pass, deal with some heavy issues, such as abortion rights and funding and religious freedom. But property taxes appear to be top-of-mind – 4 of the 11 proposed amendments deal with changes to the Florida homestead laws. Here’s a quick rundown of the proposed changes to Florida homestead protection:
Amendment 2: Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount
Florida law currently provides increased homestead benefits for Florida resident that are disabled in military combat. Disabled veterans are given a reduction in property taxes that is based on the veteran’s disability, as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Amendment 2 would extend the protection to individuals who were not Florida residents when they entered the military.
Amendment 4: Property Tax Limitations; Property Value Decline; Reduction for Nonhomestead Assessment Increases, Delay of Scheduled Repeal
Among the many benefits of qualification for Florida homestead is a 3 percent limitation on property tax increases under the “Save Our Homes” legislation. No matter how much a homestead may increase in value, the tax-assessed value cannot increase more than 3 percent over the prior year’s value.
The Save Our Homes cap only applies to homestead property. Non-homestead property, such as rental or commercial real estate, is not covered by the cap. Amendment Four would extend protection to these non-homestead properties by capping the annual increase at 5 percent.
Amendment Four also provides additional benefits to new home buyers. Under the Amendment, new home buyers would receive a 50 percent exemption on the value of their homestead property for the first year of ownership.
Amendment 9: Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder
Amendment 9 would provide tax relief to spouses of military members or first responders that died in the line of duty by allowing the Florida legislature to totally or partially exempt the surviving spouse’s homestead property from taxation.
Amendment 11: Additional Homestead Exemption; Low-Income Seniors Who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value
Amendment 11 provides additional homestead benefits for senior citizens that have lived in their home for at least 25 years. The additional homestead exemption would equal the assessed value of the property. To qualify:
- The property must be worth less than $250,000.00;
- The homeowner must have legal or equitable title to the property;
- The homeowner must have used the property as permanent legal residence for 25 years;
- The homeowner must be age 65 or older; and
- The homeowner’s income must be less than $27,030.00.
If these conditions are satisfied, the county or municipality that provides the exemption must pass a local government ordinance to implement the law. The exemption only applies to counties and cities that already offer an exemption for low-income seniors.