Category Archives: Property Taxes

Property Tax exemption for military now available!

Members of the military who were deployed in 2010 can get a break on their property taxes thanks to a new exemption that’s just become available.

Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment for the exemption in the November elections. The Legislature put the finishing touches on the exemption by approving the legal language. Now, it’s up to members of the military to file applications for the benefit.

The Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office has been sending information about the exemption to the region’s military bases.

“If they don’t know about it yet, they’ll soon know,” said Dana Clark, division chief of customer service and exemptions.

The exemption is for those deployed outside the United States in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation New Dawn.

The amount of savings on property taxes is based on how much time a service member was deployed during the previous year. The longer the deployment, the greater the exemption.

For instance, if a service member was deployed six months in 2010, the exemption would cut the tax bill by 50 percent. The military exemption would be in addition to the homestead exemption that all Floridians receive. If a service member was deployed for six months in 2010 and owns a $150,000 home, the military exemption would translate to a reduction of about $750 on the tax bill.

The savings will appear on the 2011 property tax bill. That’s the way the law works – the amount of time spent in deployment the previous calendar year will be applied to an exemption that cuts the current year’s property taxes.

Clark said so far, about 150 people have applied for the exemption in Duval County. For more information about the discount, service members should contact their county tax appraiser.

The homestead exemption is the latest way Florida has sought to ease the property tax burden for those in the military.

Another tax break that’s been around for a while allows service members who are transferred to keep their homestead exemption for their Florida homes. Florida law lets them keep that homestead exemption even if they move out of the homes and rent them. Typically, a rental home can’t get the benefits of the homestead exemption.

File early for tax exemptions

BARTOW, Fla. – Jan. 5, 2010 – It’s not too early to file for a property tax exemption for next year, according to Polk County Property Appraiser Marsha Faux, Faux said filing now will allow property owners to beat the rush that normally occurs early in the year as people try to beat the March 1 deadline.

Faux said her staff is accepting applications for homestead, portability, widow, widower, disability, veterans, senior, religious and charitable exemptions as well as applications for agricultural classification, also known as greenbelting.

Applicants filing for homestead exemption for the first time must apply in person and bring their recorded deed and proof of residency, which includes Florida driver license, Florida vehicle registration, Florida voter registration or resident alien card.

Persons filing for any exemption are required to present their Social Security cards.

A husband and wife must both have Florida driver licenses, if both drive.

Homestead exemptions are allowed on mobile homes if the landowner also is the owner of the mobile home. The mobile home registration must be provided at the time of filing.

A widow or widower must provide a copy of their late spouse’s death certificate.

Applicants for the disability exemption must provide a letter from a certified Florida physician verifying a total and permanent disability.

Veterans exemption applicants must provide documentation of percentage of service-connected disability from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Frank threatens banks to stop foreclosures

WASHINGTON – July 30, 2009 – A senior House Democrat threatened banks Wednesday that if they don’t volunteer to save more homeowners from foreclosure, Congress will make them.

In a sternly worded statement, Rep. Barney Frank said Congress will revive legislation that would let bankruptcy judges write down a person’s monthly mortgage payment if the number of loan modifications remains low.

Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, also said his committee won’t consider legislation to help banks lend unless there is a “significant increase” in mortgage modifications.

Frank’s statement was aimed at adding momentum to a deal struck Tuesday between Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and more than two dozen mortgage companies. The two sides agreed to set the goal of adjusting 500,000 loans by Nov. 1.

But it was far from clear whether that would happen.

Loan servicers say they are still trying to play catch up to a deluge of customer requests by hiring and training thousands of new employees. Banks also are trying to sort through which customers face a legitimate financial hardship.

Also, many loans have been bundled and sold to investors as securities, complicating efforts to modify the terms.

Congress tried earlier this spring to pass legislation that would give people a chance to keep their homes by filing for bankruptcy. But while President Barack Obama said he supported the measure, he did little to see it through and it was defeated amid an aggressive lobbying effort by banks.

The measure failed in the Senate by a 45-51 vote, falling 15 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome procedural hurdles.

“People in the servicing industry and in the broader financial industry must understand that if this last effort to produce significant modifications fails, the argument for reviving the bankruptcy option will be extremely strong, and I think there is a substantial chance that the outcome will be different,” Frank said.

Amendment 5 still on November ballot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aug. 20, 2008 – Amendment 5, Florida’s proposed constitutional amendment that would lower property taxes by 25 percent up to 40 percent depending on where you live, will remain on the November ballot pending a decision by the Florida Supreme Court, which is expected in early September.

“Even though a lower court threw the amendment off the ballot last Thursday, the appeal by the state triggers a ‘stay’ of that order – meaning Amendment 5 is still officially on the ballot until the Supreme Court decision,” says Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) Vice President of Public Policy John Sebree.

The Florida Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments for Monday, Sept. 8, in Tallahassee. Sebree says that a final decision on the amendment will probably be delivered later that same week.
 
“For the past few days, the news media has mistakenly reported that Amendment 5 will not be on the November ballot,” Sebree says. “With the Department of State scheduled to approve ballots in early September, it is likely that Amendment 5 will actually appear on absentee ballots regardless of the Florida Supreme Court decision in early September.” Absentee ballots go to print soon after the August primary.

To read more about Amendment 5 and the proposed property tax reform, visit the floridarealtors.org Legislative page at: http://www.floridarealtors.org/LegislativeCenter/TopInitiatives/index.cfm