SAVE OUR HOMES PORTABILITY
The Florida Department of State has approved the format for a petition to help Florida homeowners with homestead exemptions keep lower tax bills even if they move.
The approval clears the way for supporters to begin collecting signatures needed to place "Save Our Homes Portability" on the November 2008 ballot.
The signed petition should be mailed to: SOHP, care of Gary Nikolits, 3162 El Camino Real, West Palm Beach, FL 33409-7828.
"The Florida Legislature could add the issue of Portability to its January special session agenda and adopt our ballot language," said Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits, a member of the Board that sponsors the petition drive. "That would save us the work of gathering the nearly 750,000 signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot," he added.
The portability language was written by property appraisers who must administer the program if it is adopted. "It simply makes sense that if property appraisers have the responsibility of implementing portability, they would be the best ones to write the proposal. Property appraisers understand how it should work to make it fair to taxpayers and taxing authorities alike." Nikolits said.
Under the proposal, a homeowner with a Homestead Exemption could transfer a cap valued up to $400,000 to a more expensive property. If a homeowner is moving down in the market, that transfer could not exceed 50% of the market value of the new property. Portability would be permitted throughout the state.
According to Nikolits, the $400,000 limit on what you can transfer to another property covers about 96% of the properties in Palm Beach County. "The committee was careful to make certain you would not devastate the budgets of smaller counties where property values are generally lower than they are here; that is why we wrote the limit when moving to a less expensive property," Nikolits said.
Opponents of the Portability measure, typically city and county government officials, contend that it would reduce revenues to government coffers and make it difficult to pay for growth. Nikolits disagrees but does agree that making Portability statewide has been a concern to smaller counties. "Residents of smaller counties are Floridians too, and when they move they deserve the same benefits as everyone else," he said.
"The way we have written the measure, we don't believe there will be any detrimental affect on local governments;in fact it will provide an economic stimulant to what is becoming a stagnant real estate market," Nikolits said. Portability will add two sales that the real estate market would not have had, and stimulate construction for the building industry and sales for the home improvement and furnishing industries. "Portability will provide more money from documentary stamps, sales taxes, real estate commissions, building permit fees and other items," he said.Turning property over also will add taxable value to the tax rolls, Nikolits said. "With portability everyone wins."
A bank account has been opened at Southwest Capital Bank to accept donations for the distribution of petitions and certifi cat ion of signatures. Donations in any amount should be made payable to Save Our Homes Portability and mailed to Philip C. Bennett, Treasurer, P.O. Box 490, Fort Myers, FL 33902.
What is Save Our Homes Portability?
Save Our Homes Portability is a proposal to change the State Constitution to allow a property owner to transfer the difference between the market value and the assessed value of homestead property to another homestead property when they move.
Why is Save Our Homes Portability necessary?
Many property owners feel "trapped" in their homes knowing that if they move they may be faced with substantially higher property taxes. Save Our Homes Portability would permit a homeowner to transfer a portion of their current tax savings to a new property wherever they move in Florida.
Who can sign the petition?
Any person registered to vote in the State of Florida.You do not have to own property to sign the petition.
What do I do with the signed petition?
A completed petition should be mailed to SOHP, care of Gary Nikolits, 3162 El Camino Real, West Palm Beach, FL 33409-7828.
How would portability work?
If you move from your current homestead property to a new homestead property and the market value of the new property is higher than the market value of your old property,you can transfer your actual cap differential up to a maximum of $400,000 from your former homestead property to the new homestead property. If the property you are moving to has a lower market value, the amount of the cap differential you can transfer cannot exceed 50% of the market value of the new homestead property.
If two or more persons own separate homestead property and decide to move a single new property (such as in the case of a marriage),the amount of the cap differential they may transfer will be the larger of the cap differentials, subject to the limits noted above.
How long do I have between the sale of my house to establish a homestead on another property?
You will have 24 months from the date of which you either sold or moved out of your existing homestead property to establish a new homestead. During this interim period you cannot establish a residency-based benefit in any other state.
What is the cap differential?
First, look up your property on PAPA. Then simply subtract the Assessed Value from the Total Market Value. That amount is the cap differential and it is that amount which you can transfer to a new property, subject to the limitations noted above.
Total Market Value $288,600
Minus Assessed Value $153,861
Cap Differential $134,739* This is the amount that you can take with you if moving to a more expensive property. If moving to a less expensive property, the amount you can take with you would be your cap differential up to 50% of the total market value of the new property.
Will Save Our Homes Portability save me property taxes?
Yes.That's the whole idea behind portability; to allow you to move and take your current tax savings with you.