By Howard S. Krooks, Esq., CELA, CAP, Partner, Elder Law Associates PA
Two new amendments approved by Florida voters in November 2020 may affect your property taxes. Both amendments became effective Jan. 1, 2021. Amendment 5 to the Florida Constitution extends the time frame within which portability benefits can be transferred from two to three years. Amendment 6 extends the property tax exemption of combat-wounded veterans to their surviving spouses.
What Does This Mean for You?
Regarding portability, Amendment 5 will enable eligible homesteaded property owners to pay less on their property taxes on their new homes by moving their “Save Our Homes” savings (up to $500,000) from one Florida property to another when establishing their Homestead Exemption on their new property. Since Jan. 1, 2021, property owners now have three years to use this portability. New property owners must apply for a Homestead Exemption and submit a Portability Application within three years of the abandonment of the Homestead Exemption at their previous property.
Amendment 6 now extends the Disabled Veteran’s Exemption, a Homestead Exemption for combat-wounded veterans, to their surviving spouses. Prior to Jan. 1, combat-wounded veterans age 65 and older were able to receive a property tax discount equal to their combat-related disability rating percentage on their homesteaded property. This discount expired on the veteran’s death and was not extended to the veteran’s spouse. The new amendment allows the veteran’s surviving spouse to continue to receive the Homestead Exemption until the spouse either remarries or sells the property. If the spouse sells the property and does not remarry, the spouse may file for and receive a discount on a new homestead property as long as the exemption amount doesn’t exceed the amount from the most recent ad valorem tax roll at his or her previous homesteaded residence.
Annual Senior Exemption Renewal Update
If you received the Senior Homestead Exemption in 2020, please note that renewal is not automatic. This exemption will not be listed on your Homestead Exemption renewal receipt. You will receive a new 2021 Senior Homestead Exemption card in February and must complete it and submit it to your Property Appraiser’s office before September 2021 to renew your Senior Homestead Exemption for the 2021 tax year. Keep an eye out for that renewal card coming in the mail.
If you have any questions about how the new amendments may affect your property taxes or the Senior Homestead Exemption, please contact us today or contact your Florida county property appraiser’s office. You can find out more about the Florida Homestead Exemption and homestead planning here.