JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Amendment 5 involves extending your homestead exemption.
It proposes to increase, from two to three years, the period of time during which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead.
To understand what is at stake here, you need to first understand what the Save Our Homes amendment is. It became a constitutional amendment in 1992. It basically keeps all of us from being taxed out of our homes by limiting or capping how much the assessed value of your home can increase year after year.
That’s significant because the assessed value of your home is what determines how much you owe in property taxes each year. But over time, many homes increase in value -- as in market value, which means what you could sell your home for today based on what other homes in your neighborhood have sold for.
So Save Our Homes lets you take the difference between those two numbers -- assessed and market -- with you when you buy your next home.
For example: Let’s say your home is assessed by the county as being worth $100,000, but the market value, as determined by the county, is $300,000. The Save Our Homes amendment allows you to take that $200,000 with you when you sell that home and deduct that from what the county assesses as the value of your next home. It’s called portability. And it can mean big savings for homeowners. That’s because, using that same example, $200,000 -- it equals out to about $3,800 a year in savings on your property taxes.
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So what does that have to do with Amendment 5? It is asking voters whether they want to be given a longer period of time to be able to use that difference -- that portability money.
As it stands right now, you have two years, but as Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland explains, not a lot of homeowners get a full two years right now because it depends on when you sell your home.
“You have the month in which you sell to the end of the following year (on) Dec. 31. So that’s why it confuses a lot of people because they think you have two years. But if you sell your home in December, then you have 13 months until Dec. 31 of the next year. This is why this is important, this amendment, because it will add an additional year to that instead of just the next year on Dec. 31, you’ll have until the second year on Dec. 31, giving you enough time. Especially some people who are building a custom home or remodeling or haven’t made a decision really need that much time in order to make their decision and get in their next home," Holland said.
So if you think homeowners should be given more time to use that difference -- or portability, which lowers how much property taxes you pay when you homestead your new home -- then you should vote “yes" to Amendment 5.
If you do not think homeowners should be given more time to use that property tax savings, then you should vote “no” to Amendment 5.