A proposal that would have cut property taxes and authorized the Legislature to increase homestead exemptions in the future, was refused by the Florida House of Representatives, because it would shift the tax burden to non-homestead properties.
Supporters of the bill stated it should be passed as a step to eventually eliminating property taxes and replacing them with a sales tax increase. Those against the bill felt it would increase governmental borrowing costs and cause taxes for non-homestead properties to go up.
In November 2012, voters will have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 4, which includes an exemption for primary homeowners except for school taxes, as well as some relief for businesses and other properties not eligible for homestead exemption.
Amendment 4 is an attempt to reduce inequities from the Save Our Homes amendment which passed in the 1990s. It put a 3 percent annual cap on assessment increases for primary homes. This has caused buyers that have purchased homes more recently to pay higher tax bills. In the past, Save Our Homes discouraged people from moving because they would lose the tax benefit. In 2008, it was amended so that home owners could take some of the benefits with them if they moved.
If you want to lower your property tax bill, contact an attorney to find out the appeal process in your state. Here are a few general guidelines to follow:
1. Find out the deadline to file your appeal. Dates vary by state.
2. Make sure all of your outstanding real estate taxes are paid prior to filing an appeal.
3. Have evidence to support that the property value has declined.
4. It can be a difficult fight, so it is helpful to discuss the case with an attorney.
5. If the state denies your request, you have the right to file an appeal.
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