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Legislature Considers Amendment to Extend ‘Save Our Homes’

How long should Florida’s homeowners have to “port” property tax savings to another home? It’s officially two years now but can be barely over one year depending on the timing of the sale. Proposed amendments for the Nov. ballot would give sellers up to three years.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Voters could be asked in November to give people more time to transfer homestead exemptions to new homes under a proposal approved Tuesday by the House Ways & Means Committee.

The proposal (HJR 369 and HB 371), which property appraisers back, would extend the time for Floridians to transfer their Save Our Homes benefit from two calendar years to three calendar years.

The Save Our Homes benefit caps increases taxable assessment increases on homesteaded property at 3% a year, and it allows sellers to take their current savings with them when buying a new Florida property, providing they do so within the designated timeframe.

Sponsor Rep. Rick Roth, R-West Palm Beach, said the so-called “portability” of Save Our Homes was approved to give property owners up to two years to complete the transfer paperwork, but the law sets the timeline based on the calendar year. “This could be as little as one year and one day,” Roth said.

The state Revenue Estimating Conference has estimated the proposed change would trim local property taxes by $1.8 million next fiscal year. The proposal must now be approved by the House State Affairs Committee before it could go to the House floor. The Senate version has cleared the Community Affairs Committee and will be considered Thursday by the Finance and Tax Committee.

If the proposed amendment makes it through the Florida Legislature, it will then need to be approved by 60% of voters in November. If that happens, the law would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

© 2020 Florida Realtors®

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Our Associates write often to give you the latest insights on owning a home or property in the Southeast Florida area.