On Election Day a couple weeks ago, Florida Amendment 5 was approved with strong support. This amendment extends the period during which property owners in Florida may transfer their accrued “Save Our Homes” benefit to a new homestead from two to three years. Beginning January 1, 2021, an owner of homestead property will now have up to three years to transfer this benefit, which gives a property owner additional time to establish a new homestead after selling or abandoning a prior homestead without losing the accrued benefit. As we approach the end of 2020, it is important to be aware of this change, the requirements and deadlines for filing for the Florida homestead exemption, and the additional steps that need to be taken to transfer the accrued “Save Our Homes” benefit.
Homestead Exemption. To qualify for the Florida homestead exemption, a property owner must own and occupy the property as his permanent residence as of January 1 and complete the application with the local property appraiser’s office by March 1 of the year the property owner is claiming the exemption. Applications for the Florida homestead exemption may be made at the local property appraiser’s office or online on the property appraiser’s website. Property owners who qualify to receive the homestead exemption are eligible to receive an exemption of up to $50,000 off of the assessed value of the property, provided the property has an assessed value of $75,000 or more.
“Save our Homes.” In addition to the $50,000 exemption, property that qualifies for the homestead exemption is also subject to the “Save Our Homes” cap. The “Save Our Homes” cap limits the annual increase of the assessed value of the homestead property each year to the lesser of 3% and the Consumer Price Index for the previous year.
Portability. Up to $500,000 of the “Save Our Homes” cap that has accrued over time (the difference between the market value and the assessed value) may be transferred from an existing homestead after the property is sold or abandoned to a new homestead. This period of time during which property owners may transfer their accrued “Save Our Homes” cap is also referred to as the portability period. It is important to be aware that the transfer of the “Save Our Homes” cap that has accrued over time is not automatic. In addition to completing an application for the homestead exemption, the property owner must also complete a DR-501T (Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference) form to transfer the accrued savings to the new homestead. This form may also be completed online on the property appraiser’s website when completing the homestead exemption application.
Florida Amendment 5. Florida Amendment 5 increases the portability period from two years to three years beginning January 1, 2021. If a property owner is building a new home or renting while searching for new homestead property, this allows for more time to complete construction and establish the new homestead while still getting the benefit of the “Save Our Homes” cap that has accrued over the years. Keep in mind that you must own and occupy the new property as your permanent residence as of January 1 if you intend to transfer this benefit and apply it to the assessed value of your homestead in 2021. This is a benefit you don’t want to miss out on!
Should you have any questions regarding the Florida homestead exemption and the ability to transfer the “Save Our Homes” cap to new homestead, please do not hesitate to contact your trusted local real estate attorney.
For our local readers, the following links will direct you to the local property appraiser’s online homestead exemption application:
In Sarasota County visit: https://www.sc-pa.com/applyonline/WebForm1.aspx
In Manatee County visit: https://ofa.manateepao.com/ApplyOnline/WebForm1.aspx
In Hillsborough County visit: https://homestead.hcpafl.org/ApplyOnline/WebForm1.aspx
In Pinellas County visit: https://www.pcpao.org/
Christa L Folkers, Esq.,email@example.com
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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