Don't understand the Constitutional Amendments?

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     When voters enter polling booths on November 8th, they will find four constitutional amendments at the bottom of the ballot. We’re here to talk about the two that concern property tax exemptions; Constitutional Amendments NO.3 and NO.5.

     Amendment 3 is titled “Tax Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders”. If approved by at least 60% of voters, this amendment would provide relief from ad valorem taxes to a first responder who is totally and permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty. There are two caveats to this; if approved, it will be up to the Florida Legislature to determine whether to give disabled first responders a full or partial property tax exemption and the exemption would only apply to a homesteaded property. Palm Beach County Property Appraiser has stated the fiscal impact on Palm Beach County is unknown, but did tell the Palm Beach Post “It would be very few, I would imagine”.

     Moving on to Amendment 5, titled “Homestead Tax Exemption for Certain Senior, Low-Income, Long-Term Residents; Determination of Just Value”, which is slightly more complicated in nature. This amendment would revise an existing property tax exemption for senior citizens who have a household income of less than $20,000 a year, who have lived in their home for at least 25 years, and whose home’s value is less than $250,000. Now we know that’s a lot requirements for just one tax exemption, but we’re going to add one more to the mix. If a senior’s home, with this exemption, rises above $250,000 in value they would keep the exemption. Unfortunately Palm Beach County, St. Lucie County and all of their municipalities do not allow seniors to claim this exemption in the first place. There would be no fiscal impact to any local government’s tax base should the amendment pass. 

     All Florida Constitutional Amendments must be approved by at least 60% of voters. If passed, both Amendments 3 and 5 would take effect January 1, 2017 with the provisions of Amendment 5 applying retroactively to homestead exemptions granted before 1/1/17. The Florida Realtors® Board of Directors has not taken a position on the amendments as of the date this article was published.