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Legislative Update

This is your resource for the most 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. 

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.

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!