Florida Property Tax Reform

by : Calum MacKenzie

There is a lot going on in Florida right now concerning the issue of property taxes Recently a new property tax bill was proposed and has been received with mixed emotions by Florida residents. Some think that this new bill looks great and indeed for some it will be quite nice, however, some sectors believe that the bill is not broad enough to solve some of the past inequalities in the home tax system. The current system which is known as "The Save Our Homes Amendment" states that a property's assessed value cannot rise more than 3% a year however that does not apply to new construction homes.

Here is how the newly proposed plan breaks down:

On your primary residence, there will be a 75% exemption on the first $200,000 of assessed value and an additional 15% exemption on the next $300,000 in assessed value. So if your home has an assessed value of $500,000, you would receive a $150,000 exemption on the first $200,000 in value, and an exemption of $45,000 for the next $300,000 in value, resulting in a total exemption of $195,000, the maximum benefit under the new plan. Homes valued at $50,000 or less are completely exempt and if you qualify as a low-income senior you're completely exempt up to $100,000.

This proposed bill is expecting some level of opposition from sectors such as Police, Firefighters and Teachers as it appears that there are some budget cuts that are part and parcel of this tax bill. There is also concern that this bill may not correct the inequalities that were mentioned earlier in this article. As an example: a home purchased 10 years ago pays approximately $5,000 in property tax while a new home in the same area with the new tax system is looking at paying around $7,000, thereby putting a disproportionate amount of tax responsibility on new Florida residents and home owners. The owners that this will affect most significantly are those who own homes in the $200k to $300k range. However as Florida is a popular place the average price of new homes is reaching towards $400k and up. The reality is that this bill will make it more difficult for home owners to trade up to a new residence as the increased tax bill will add thousands to their yearly expenses. Now, this bill has not passed yet, but it could drastically affect the state of home buying and sales in the state of Florida.