As a Realtor, I am always asked by homebuyers to explain Florida real property taxes and to provide estimates of how much they will be. What is particulary interesting to explain is why the property tax bill on a particular home is so low compared to a similar home next door. What’s worse is the “sticker shock” when the taxes are re-calculated upon sale, especially in an appreciating market.
Amendment 4 proposes to help with some of that by:
- providing a first-time homebuyer tax exemption equal to 50 percent of the home’s “just value” (up to the median home values in that county). This additional exemption will phase out at 20% per year over 5 years. This provision will make homes more affordable for more people, and is in addition to our existing homestead exemptions and portability.
- reducing the maximum annual Assessed Value increase cap to 5 percent for nonhomestead property. Currently, assessed values for investment and commercial property can increase up to 10 percent per year, which can creat quite an increase in the annual taxes and place a financial hardship on small businesses.
- giving Florida legislature authority to close the “recapture” loophole. This loophole has allowed property taxes to increase by 3% per year even as we saw double-digit declines in home property values in the last decade.
For an in-depth explanation, John Sebree of the Florida Realtors Association offers this five minute video:
In addition to the benefits for buyers and property owners, Florida TaxWatch, a private, non-profit non-partisan research institute, “estimates that the passage of Amendment 4 would result in the creation of 19,483 private, non-farm jobs over the 10-year period of the analysis (2013-2022), that Florida GDP would increase by approximately $1.1 billion, and personal income would increase by more than $5.3 billion.” With Florida’s unemployment rate still slightly above the national average, this would be welcomed news.
So what do you think? Vote “yes” on Amendment 4 in November?