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Legislative Update

This is your resource for up-to-date information on what’s happening in the Florida Legislature as well as local municipalities and how it may impact property owners in Pinellas County. 

Filed for 2024 – Disclosure of Ad Valorem Taxes (Tax Estimator Bill)

Issue: Eleven years of positive value growth in the Florida real estate market has resulted in the largest Save-Our-Homes cap benefits since the start of Save-Our-Homes in 1995. This is resulting in the largest cap resets (capped Assessed Value resetting to Just/Market Value) ever experienced by buyers of Florida residential real estate when the prior owner received the benefit of homestead exemption and the Save-Our-Homes cap for many years. As a result, new buyers are facing dramatically increased property taxes in comparison to the previous owner. However, online listing platforms are typically showing or using the seller’s property taxes when estimating the monthly carrying cost of the property, which is very misleading. This is resulting in many shocked and upset purchasers when they were uninformed at time of sale and can jeopardize the new homeowner’s ability to maintain ownership of the property after enduring the Assessed Value reset to Just/Market Value. This is the Number One constituent complaint to Property Appraisers across the state for several years running.

Solution/Key Elements of Legislation: Online listing platforms have become the predominate first source of information for new purchasers searching for a Florida home, making them the logical location to display a prospective purchaser’s estimated property taxes. Public facing listing platforms can comply with the proposed legislation as follows:

  1. Platforms showing any form of tax estimator or buyer payment calculator must populate their own online tax estimator tool or buyer payment calculator using the data and methodology provided by the Department of Revenue on its website. The Listing Price will be used as the Taxable Value of the property for the tax estimate. Use of this data and methodology will constitute a reasonable estimate of ad valorem taxes as of January 1 of the tax year after the property is purchased. For platforms that allow the price field to be changed in their calculator, a buyer may enter a figure lower or higher than the listing price to arrive at an estimate based on their anticipated offering or contract price.
  2. For platforms not using a tax estimator or buyer payment calculator, the listing platform shall not display the seller’s taxes and will instead include a link to the property appraiser’s tax estimator for the county in which the property is located. For counties currently without a tax estimator (only 5 of 67 at present), the link will redirect the user to the respective county property appraiser’s home page where the user can make contact for more information on reasonably estimating property taxes for the respective property.

Sales agents producing and distributing printed listing materials may comply by not displaying the seller’s taxes. Florida Property Appraisers annually provide the Department of Revenue (DOR) the data necessary to estimate ad valorem taxes at both the tax district and parcel level. As a supportive partner of this legislation, the Property Tax Oversight division of the DOR has agreed to annually publish and update the necessary statewide data table(s) and ad valorem tax estimate formula on their publicly accessible website. They will also maintain the table of links to the respective property appraiser office tax estimators and websites.

HB 295; Requires certain listings to include estimated ad valorem taxes; prohibits current owner’s ad valorem taxes from being displayed or used for certain purposes; provides that certain listing platforms use specified formula; provides requirements for listing platforms, DOR, & property appraisers.

SB 380; Requiring that certain listings to include estimated ad valorem taxes; prohibiting the current owner’s ad valorem taxes from being displayed or used for certain purposes; providing requirements for listing platforms, the Department of Revenue, and property appraisers; requiring, beginning on a specified date, the department to annually publish a formula and certain information on its website, etc.

Effective for 2024 – Changes to T&P Disabled Veteran (or surviving spouse) Exemption Requirement

HB7063 “Tax Package” has a provision that removes the requirement that a T&P disabled veteran (or surviving spouse) must have had an exemption on another property in the same year to qualify for the prorated refund of property taxes on new property. The veteran must have qualified as having a service-connected T&P disability as of January 1 of the year the new property is acquired. The bill also clarifies the section for veterans who died while on active duty by removing the requirement that the veteran "be a resident of this state on January 1 of the year in which the veteran died." This section had previously been found to be invalid and enforceable in DOR v. Bell, 290 So.3d 1060 (Fla. 2d DCA 2020).

Effective for 2024 – Revision to the Definition of First Responder

HB7063 “Tax Package” revises the definition of “first responder” to include federal law enforcement officers and expands the exemption for surviving spouses of first responders who died in the line of duty and the ad valorem tax exemption for first responders rendered T&P disabled as the result of an injury or injuries sustained while in the line of duty to include federal law enforcement officers. Must already have a FL homestead.

Effective for 2024 - Affordable Housing Exemption

Also cited as the "Live Local Act", Bill CS/SB 102 Housing legislative changes were passed in 2023 session and effective for 2024 tax year: 

1. Land owned by a 501(c)(3) leased for 99 years minimum for the purpose of and “predominantly” used for housing for extremely low – moderate income

2. Newly constructed for profit or not for profit multifamily projects (must apply within 5 tax years after substantial completion, same definition as for adding to roll under 192.042(1))

3. County / municipal adopted by ordinance exemption. Local option exemption, only applies to taxes levied by the unit of government granting the exemption.

Click this link for a more in-depth description and the general rules. Visit The Florida Senate website to view the complete bill.

Effective for 2023 – Increase to the Widows, Widowers, Blind Persons, or Persons Totally and Permanently Disabled Exemption (Increased from $500 to $5,000)

PASSED! During the 2022 session, the Florida legislature approved an increase to this exemption (from $500 to $5,000) for the first time since 1968. This bill, which is part of the 2022 Tax Package (CS/HB 7071), was signed into law by the Governor on May 6, 2022 with an effective date of July 1, 2022. The increase in the exemption amount will become effective as of January 1, 2023, for the 2023 tax year. This will increase the typical savings related to this exemption from approximately $10 to $100 per year for these individuals.

Nov. 2022 - Amendment 1: Limitation on Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes (Property Assessments for Elevated Properties)

Did Not Pass - Received 57.3% of the 60% needed for passage - During the 2021 session, two bills were passed that set the stage for Florida voters to approve a Constitutional Amendment that would allow residential property owners to voluntarily elevate their property above Base Flood Elevation (BFE) within the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) without impacting their Assessed Value from the new construction cost. This legislation incentivizes investment of private capital to proactively elevate residential properties out of harm’s way and make our communities more resilient.

Key elements of the legislation follow:

  • May elevate existing structure or rebuild up to 110% of total square footage (excluding grade level parking/storage/access areas) without a change in Assessed Value
  • Must lie within a SFHA (A or V Zone) with lowest living floor below Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
  • Structure cannot be condemned
  • May not undergo a change of use
  • Applies to both Homestead and Non-homestead Residential Properties (Up to 9 units)
  • Assessed Value resets to Just/Market Value upon sale/transfer

To help explain further, our office has compiled a list of FAQs about Amendment 1 (2022) which may help voters make an informed decision.

If approved by at least 60% of Florida voters on November 8th, 2022, qualifying properties in receipt of a certificate of occupancy from 2022 forward would eligible.

Click here for an informational whitepaper on this legislation.

July 2022 – Abatement of Taxes for Residential Dwellings Rendered Uninhabitable by Catastrophic Event

This legislation, spurred by the tragic Surfside condominium collapse in 2021, allows for an abatement of property taxes for residential properties rendered uninhabitable by catastrophic events under specific conditions. This legislation was passed as part of the 2022 Tax Package (CS/HB 7071) and has an effective date of July 1, 2022. However, it applies retroactively to January 1, 2021 to accommodate the Surfside collapse situation.

May 2022 – Condo Safety Legislation

Senate Bill SB4-D was signed by the Governor on May 26, 2022 as an amendment to the Florida Condominium Act. It effects all FL Condominium & Cooperative buildings 3 stories or higher. Associations are required to:

  • Conduct “milestone inspection” by FL licensed architect or engineer via visual inspection to determine substantial structural deterioration at building age of 30 years (25 yrs if within 3 miles of coastline), then every 10 years after that,
  • Conduct structural integrity reserve study every 10 years to ensure appropriately funded to undertake necessary work.

After 12/31/2024, Associations cannot waive or underfund reserves. Owners cannot ‘opt-out’ of obligatory funding of reserves for: the roof; load-bearing walls/other primary structural members; floors; foundation; fireproofing and fire protection systems; plumbing; electrical; waterproofing & exterior painting; windows; any other item that exceeds $10,000.

Effective for 2021 – Low-Income Senior (65+) Long-Term Residency Exemption (St. Petersburg)

The City of St. Petersburg has adopted an additional exemption for low-income seniors aged 65 or older who have maintained permanent residence for at least 25 years. Click this link to learn more about the qualifying criteria.

Nov. 2020 – Amendment 5: Extend “Save Our Homes” Portability Period

PASSED! Amendment 5 - Extend "Save Our Homes" Portability Period: Voters statewide voted to guarantee homesteaded property owners always receive a minimum of two years to transfer (port) their "Save Our Homes" Benefit, effective Jan 1, 2021. Learn more about this important ballot initiative!

Nov. 2020 – Amendment 6: Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Combat Veterans

PASSED! Amendment 6 - Homestead Property Tax Discount for Spouses of Deceased Veterans: This proposed constitutional amendment allows the surviving spouse of a combat disabled veteran age 65 and over to continue to receive the veteran's exemption. This now rightly aligns with other surviving spouse disability exemptions for both veterans and first responders. Learn more about this recently passed legislation here!