Trying to determine your Florida real estate taxes is like trying to determine if you qualify for an IRS tax break, near impossible. If you’re trying to understand Florida property taxes this article explains everything you want to know, but were afraid to ask, including information on Florida’s New Amendment 1 passed by voters on January 9, 2008. So whether you’re a new Florida resident wondering what a homestead exemption is, or a longtime resident trying to figure out how much Save Our Homes benefit you can take with you to your new home, it’s covered in this article.
Florida’s real estate tax laws can be tricky to understand. There are several factors which affect the size of your property tax bill,Guest Posting so if you’re buying property in Florida or are relocating, it’s important to understand how taxes are calculated.
Property values are in constant flux just as the real estate market is, so getting an accurate, current assessment is important. The assessed value of the property you buy may change dramatically when it changes hands, so it’s good to be aware of the factors that might influence how much tax you pay.
As well as market rates your real estate tax bill will also depend on the tax rate for different local government bodies. The property you buy will be subject to taxes from several different bodies, including county and city government, the school board, hospital district, and water district. There may be additional taxes if you live in a masterplanned community.
On the other side of the coin, homestead exemptions and the “Save our Homes” amendment help limit the amount of your property tax bill.
The amount you pay in county property taxes will, of course, vary depending on the value of your property. However, they’ll also vary depending on the tax rate in your county, and where in the county you live. This is because within a county, some regions are incorporated and some are unincorporated, and unincorporated regions tend to have lower property taxes. If you live in Temple Terrace, some areas of New Tampa or the City of Tampa, for example, you’ll likely be paying more in property taxes than someone living in Lutz or some portions of New Tampa, as the former locations are incorporated and the latter are not. Unincorporated areas generally are lower because they do not have “city” taxes.
Community Development District Tax
People living in a Florida masterplanned community or community development district will likely have additional taxes to pay. These extra taxes are what enable the developers of these communities to add extra amenities to enhance the lives of residents. By sharing the cost of community and land development among residents, additional facilities such as recreation centers, parks, walking trails, and sports facilities can be added.
Depending on the community, the tax may have two separate parts. One is a fixed amount that is payable for a fixed amount of time (usually no more than twenty years) – the bond portion. The second amount can vary from year to year depending on the needs and budget of the community. If you’re interested in relocating to one of these communities it’s important to find out how much residents are expected to pay each year, as the total varies widely depending on the community, the different villages within the community and the types of facilities and services the master planned community provides as a whole.
Note that the responsibility for paying these taxes is tied to the property, not to the owner. If the property changes hands, payment of community fees and taxes becomes the responsibility of the new owner. An owner does have to option to pay off the bond portion of the CDD for their property, thus reducing the amount owed yearly to only include the working capital needed to maintain the community.
Property Tax Homestead Exemption
Under the homestead exemption, all legal residents of Florida can deduct $25,000 from the assessed value of their primary residence. This essentially reduces the taxable value of the property, and reduces how much eligible Florida residents pay in property tax. Certain groups of homeowners, such as senior citizens, veterans, and the blind, may qualify for other exemptions.
The $25,000 homestead exemption is not granted automatically, however. To be eligible in any given year you must take possession of the homestead by December 31, and then apply for exemption no later than March 31 of the next year.
Since January 9, 2008, eligible Florida homeowners can gain a further $25,000 exemption under Amendment 1. This exemption is received automatically by any homeowner who applies and is approved for the original homestead exemption.
The second exemption is calculated as follows:
The first $25,000 value of the home is the original exemption.
The second $25,000 is fully taxable. This is necessary to allow Florida towns and cities where assessed property values are low to continue collecting the revenue they need to run local government.
The third $25,000 is the new Amendment 1 exemption. It is exempt from all taxes except for school tax. This allows schools to continue receiving the funding they need (if this