Critical public employees that own homes in Florida will be eligible for extra homestead tax exemptions under a new bill, House Joint Resolution 1 (HRJ1). Addressing the issue of affordable housing, Rep. Josie Tomkow filed the bill which proposes a reduction in property taxes for certain group. An additional $50,000 in homestead exemptions will be available to law enforcement officers, members of the Florida National Guard, teachers, firefighters, active duty military, correctional officers and child welfare services professionals.
Speaker Sprowls vows reduce the stress on our already tired essential workers, “Floridians understand the sacrifice critical public employees make day in and day out to ensure they are safe, secure, educated and supported...The Florida House will fight to lessen the financial burden for these key members of the public workforce and their families with a significant and historic tax break.”
There are currently two $25,000 homestead exemptions for Floridians; one that applies to all property taxes up to $25,000 of assessed value and a second one that applies to homesteads valued between $50,000 and $75,000.
Rep. Tomkow adds, “Home values and property taxes are on the increase, and Florida’s critical public employees deserve a break. They shouldn’t worry about whether they have a home to return to while they are out protecting ours.”
Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bobby Payne added, “Florida is grateful for the sacrifice of our critical public employees. This legislation builds on the House’s commitment to affordable housing for Floridians.”
Property tax benefits are available to Florida property owners. For eligibility information visit the office of the county property appraiser where the homestead or property is.
Others that will qualify for homestead tax exemptions are: quadriplegic persons, paraplegics, hemiplegics, or other totally and permanently disabled person who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind under a certain gross household.
Gross income includes veteran's and social security benefits of everyone residing in the homestead.
For those filing for the first time, the property owner must present proof of disability from two Florida-licensed doctors or from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Spouses of first responders who died in the line of duty are included in this exemption as well.
A homestead's assessed value could be reduced if it's built for the owner's parents or grandparents, or the parents/grandparents of the owner's spouse. It's specified that one parent or grandparent must be at least 62 years old.
If the property has a renewable energy source device installed, the property appraiser may not use that to increase in the value of the property. This particular benefit does not require an application.
Once HJR 1 is passed, a constitutional amendment will be placed on the ballot in 2022 to be voted on by residents.
How to Apply
If you are applying for the homestead exemption or receive the homestead exemption and believe you qualify for any of these tax benefits, contact your county property appraiser to apply. If the application is denied, you may file a petition with the county’s value adjustment board. For more information, see Petitions to the Value Adjustment Board.
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