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PERSONAL EXEMPTIONS UNDER FLORIDA PROPERTY TAX LAW
September 22, 2005 15:50

The Property Appraiser's Office in each of the 67 counties in Florida administers all property tax exemptions. Brief summaries of available exemptions are listed here. For more information or to apply, cut and paste the following link into your web browser, find the website of your County Property Appraiser and contact that office for information, applicable forms--and in some counties, for the opportunitry to applyu for homestead exmption online!

http://sun6.dms.state.fl.us/dor/property/appraisers.html


$25,000 Homestead Exemption


Every person who has legal title to a residential property and lives there permanently or who has someone naturally or legally dependent upon him or her who lives there permanently qualifies for this exemption. You must be a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the initial application year. Certain immigration statuses may constitute exceptions to this general rule. Confer with a property tax or immigration attorney on this issue. Property tax attorney Daniel A. Weiss is presently represneting taxpayers in court seeking to establish as law in the State of Florida that even without a "green card" or permanent resident status held by parents, where the dependent children are U.S. citizens, the property qualifies for homestead exemption.

You may apply either by mail or in person at any time through the year but the deadline is March 1 of the qualifying year. Some counties now provide for online application through the internet. Regulations allow the March 1 deadline to be relaxed, so inquire of your County Property Appraiser about late filing procedures even though you have missed the initial March 1 filing deadline.

A copy of your deed and proof of residency is required. You may submit a copy of your Florida driver's license, voter's registration or permanent residency card.

Exemptions cannot be transferred. If you sell your home and buy another residence, you must file a new application.

Mobile homes may qualify for the $25,000 homestead exemption under certain conditions. If you own the land under the mobile home you may declare it a permanent structure and make a one-time purchase of a Real Property tag for the unit. Thereafter, your mobile home will be included on the annual tax roll and no further license tag fee is required.

$25,000 Senior Citizen Exemption


Certain seniors in certain Florida counties (this is a local option for each county pursuant to state statute) may qualify for an additional $25,000 exemption on their property's assessed value. For example, a home valued at $100,000, would be taxed by the county on only $50,000, after the homestead and senior citizen exemptions are applied. The county's senior exemption does not apply to other taxing authorities, such as the school district and municipalities, unless the individual municipalities have affirmatively opted-in to the additional exemption.


$5,000 Disabled Veterans Exemption


U.S. Military personnel with a service-connected disability of 10% or more are entitled to a $5,000 exemption. If filing for the first time, please provide a letter from the U.S. Veteran's Administration that verifies your disability.

If you are the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, you may be entitled to retain the $5,000 exemption. Contact your office County Property Appraiser for more information.

$500 Widow/Widower Exemption


A widow or widower who is a legal and permanent resident of Florida qualifies for this exemption. If the surviving spouse remarries, he or she is no longer eligible. If the husband and wife was divorced before the spouse's death, the survivor is not eligible.


$500 Disability Exemption


People who are permanently disabled are eligible for this exemption. If applying for the first time, please provide a Physician's Certificate from a licensed Florida physician.

Total Exemption

Civilian quadriplegics and honorably discharged veterans who are 100% disabled are exempt from ad valorem taxation. You will need to submit a Physician's (i.e., M.D.'s)Certification Form. For a dicussion of the total and permanent disability statute, see the opinion and decision of the court in Bystrom v. Culbreath, 24 Fla.Supp. 2d 72 (Fla. 11th Cir. Ct. 1987), aff'd, 541 So.2d 797 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989), a case in which properety tax attorney Daniel A. Weiss was counsel of record for the prevailing party throughout the trial court and appellate proceedings.
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To be sure you're doing the most you can to keep your property taxes as low as the law allows them to be, contact a Florida property tax professional, whether it's a lawyer, real estate broker, accountant or other experienced professional.

Daniel A. Weiss has over 24 years property tax experience. Mr. Weiss represented the Miami-Dade County taxing authorities in litigation and appeals between 1981 and 1995 as a Miami-Dade Assistant County Attorney and has since represented taxpayers in property tax matters.


In Florida Trend magazine™'s Legal Elite's issue, July 2004, Mr. Weiss was selected by his peers as one of the top 30 government lawyers in the State of Florida.

For a free consultation regarding your property, contact us.

For More Information Click here

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"SAVE OUR HOMES" HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION AMENDMENT: HOW IT WORKS

Understanding Florida's 3% Constitutional Homestead Exemption Cap law, also known as
"Save our Homes"


Q. What does the 3% cap mean to Florida residents?
A. The cap limits the increase in the annual assessment of homestead properties in Florida to 3% or to the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. Also known as "Save Our Homes," Florida residents voted for the Constitutional Amendment in 1992 and it went into effect in 1995.

Q. Does the 3% cap limit property taxes?
A. No, it is a cap on the assessment of a parcel, not on the taxes paid. A property's assessment could stay the same or go down but property taxes could go up any given year because of millage increases levied by local taxing authorities.

Q. Who qualifies?
A. You must own and live in a residential property that already qualifies for the $25,000 Homestead Exemption. See blog entry on Homestead Exemption for statutory requirements. All other properties are not eligible. Approximately 50% or more of residential properties in many counties--and also in many municipalities and within the geographical boundaries of other taxing authorities--don't qualify for Florida's Homestead Exemption and are not entitled to the 3% cap.

Q. Does the 3% cap change the way property values are estimated by the Property Appraiser?
A. No, the Property Appraiser's Office's responsibility is to determine the property's market value for a fair and equitable tax roll.

Q. What happens to the cap when I sell my home and buy a new house?
A. When a Homestead property sells, the cap is removed and the value is increased to market value as of January 1 of the following year. Similarly, if the home you purchased was subject to the cap, the cap is removed and the value is increased to market value the following January 1.

Q. I own a single family residence and have a Homestead Exemption. I also own the adjacent vacant lot under a separate property control number. What happens if I combine the vacant lot with my home? Will the new combined parcel be covered by the 3% cap?
A. Yes. The market value of the vacant lot will be added to the assessed (capped) value of the residence and the combined value will become the new base for the next tax roll.

Q. I own a duplex and live in one side and rent the other unit. Does all the property qualify for the 3% cap?
A. No. Only the homestead portion is eligible for the 3% cap. The Homestead portion is determined as a percentage of the total property value.
Example: A property owner occupies one-half of a duplex. The half with the Homestead Exemption is eligible for the 3% cap. The half without the Homestead Exemption is income property and not eligible for the cap.


Q. Two brothers buy a parcel with one residence. One brother lives in the house and has a Homestead Exemption. The other brother does not hold a Homestead Exemption on the property. How does the 3% cap affect this parcel?
A. The market value of the parcel is divided equally. Only the Homestead portion qualifies for the 3% cap. The other half's assessment remains at market value.

Q. What happens with new additions and renovations?
A. The new addition's value is added to the assessed (capped) value and this is the property's new base value. Renovations and remodeling create certain problems and are handled on an individual basis. Generally, changes to the structural elements or sub-areas may result in new construction, and that value would be added to the prior assessed (capped) value.

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To be sure you're doing the most you can to keep your property taxes as low as the law allows them to be, contact a Florida property tax professional, whether it's a lawyer, real estate broker, accountant or other experienced professional.

Daniel A. Weiss has over 24 years property tax experience. Mr. Weiss represented the Miami-Dade County taxing authorities in litigation and appeals between 1981 and 1995 as a Miami-Dade Assistant County Attorney and has since represented taxpayers in property tax matters.


In Florida Trend magazine™'s Legal Elite's issue, July 2004, Mr. Weiss was selected by his peers as one of the top 30 government lawyers in the State of Florida.

For a free consultation regarding your property, contact us.

For More Information Click here

Learn about possible Florida personal property tax exemptions here.

HOW MUCH MUST MY COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES BE REDUCED BEFORE I STOP APPEALING THEM?
July 12, 2005 09:52

HOW MUCH MUST MY COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES BE REDUCED BEFORE I STOP APPEALING THEM?

INTRO
As a rule of thumb, all commercial property owners should review each parcel annually to determine viability of an appeal. In some instances, you may find a parcel assessed at the same valuation as the preceding year, even though you know that similar properties in the area have sold for 30% more than the year before.

DEPENDS ON WHETHER YOU FILE YOUR OWN APPEALS

If you are filing and preparing and arguing the appeal yourself, you might want to think twice about whether to proceed under the circumstances described above. But if you have hired a tax agent on a contingency basis, let him or her decide whether it’s worthwhile to appeal in the above scenario, since all the risk after payment of the initial filing and preparation fee is on them—not you.

Anyway, maybe they know something you don’t: maybe they got a big reduction on the property last year—or on a neighboring property—and feel they can repeat this year; maybe the income and expense history on your particular property justifies a lower value than market sales seem to indicate. Maybe they have inside knowledge that a premium was paid on neighboring properties because of an assemblage situation, purchase price contingent on rezoning, or other important factor which distinguishes your property from what on first blush may appear to be directly comparable sales.

“TAKE THE WORRY OUT OF BEING CLOSE” TO THE POINT OF DIMINISHING RETURNS—HIRE A PROPERTY TAX PROFESSIONAL.

Never underestimate the power of an experienced professional. Or the imagination of someone who makes a living thinking about these things day in and day out.

IF THE PROPERTY IS VALUED AT $50,000 OR LESS, FILE YOUR OWN APPEAL.

That said, it doesn’t make good economic sense to pay a $15 filing fee and spend a few hundred dollars of your time and creative energy on a parcel which may have a taxable value of only one-, two- or three-thousand dollars, ‘cause even if you get a whopping 50% reduction for some strange reason, you may achieve gross tax savings to the client of only $11, $37, or $63—and that’s before you take out for your contingency fee—and effort hardly worth the candle. So remember to review each parcel with the client before it’s time to file, since parcels with nominal or very small taxable values may not be worth appealing.

This may also be true in situations where agricultural or other exemptions or classifications reduce taxable value to that far below assessed value and any effort to further reduce the assessment may be a pyrrhic victory, one where it looks like you got a great reduction but the actual tax savings to the client—and therefore to the tax agent as well—may be minimal, or even nonexistent.

APPEALS BASED ON PRINCIPLE ALONE HAVE NO VALUATION MINIMUM.

So does that mean I personally won’t file on a parcel with an $1100 or $1900 assessed value, since the most I can hope to earn in contingency fees is between $3 and $10? Strangely enough, the answer is “no”. The reason s that I may decide to fight something on principle, just to show the county property appraiser and the value adjustment board special magistrate that certain practices by the appraiser may be arbitrary and capricious, having no evidentiary or factual support.

And maybe I can use the “win” on this issue next time by presenting the earlier special magistrate’s reduction, reasoning and, and where the property appraiser’s valuation evidence partakes of the same flaw. And, win, lose, or draw, you may find that the special magistrate has conclusion at a hearing involving a parcel worth several million dollars and not just a couple of thousand a little more respect for you when he sees you fighting for clients on matters of principle in situations where the potential tax savings involved is so small that economic gain cannot be the motivating factor.

So if you want a free thumbnail analysis of the viability of appealing the tax assessments on your Florida commercial properties by a tax agent interested in principles and policies, as well as in payday, click here.

Property Tax Appeals in Florida
July 12, 2005 09:04

Florida Property Tax Appeals - find out if you qualify and how to handle getting a property tax appeal or reduction. Also find out if you qualify for a Florida homestead exemption and how much it will save you for years to come.

July 2005 « 

About My Blog

Florida property tax appeals information, and articles by a property tax attorney with over 24 years of experience.Mr. Weiss has more than 70 published opinions to his credit including 55 property tax opinions, is co-author of Chapter 64 of the Florida Tax Service 2d, "Agriculture and Other Classified Properties" with Matthew Bender, and a lecturer on property taxation for the National Business Institute. In Florida Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite” issue, July 2004, Mr. Weiss was selected by his peers as one of the top 30 government lawyers in the State of Florida.