Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Homestead Owners To Save Only $20 A Month

Florida Politicians Come Up With Tax "Reform" Constitutional Proposal

LABELLE, FL. -- After an aborted try by the Florida Legislature earlier this year to come up with a plan to reduce property taxes, but yet not earn the ire of the real estate industry lobbyists and local government officials, the House of Representative lawmakers Monday, at the last minute, chose to go with a simplified plan proposed by the Florida Senate as time ran out to get the proposal on the January special ballot.

Under the plan, if 60% of Florida voters vote "yes" in January, all homesteaded homeowners would receive an additional homestead exemption of $25,000 for the value of their home above $50,000. But, the catch is the new exemption doesn't apply to schools taxes, so the exemption would average about $15,000 statewide, and a bit less in Hendry county where school taxes make up much more of a tax bite than county taxes.

Non-homestead properties would be capped at 10% a year property assessment increases.  Since the huge assessment increases took place in 2005 to 2006, this cap will mean little if nothing to non-homestead property owners since most observers don't see any 10% and more property value increases coming for some time in the future.

It is estimated that homestead property owners would only save about $240 a year with the additional exemption. But, for those who bought homes more than a few years ago, a new benefit will be owners of homestead property would be able to transfer their Save Our Homes benefit (up to $500,000) to a new homestead within two years of moving.  Homeowners who moved in 2007 may transfer their benefit if they apply for a new homestead Jan. 1, 2008, or Jan. 1, 2009.  The most recent buyers of home would not see much of any savings if any at all if they moved since prices of homes have been steady or declined in the last year.


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