A property tax savings could be on its way to Florida homeowners, if a statewide referendum in 2018 boosts homestead exemptions to a total of $75,000.
But, what could be tax relief to homeowners could pose financial challenges for local governments.
If approved, homeowners can add another $25,000 to the existing standard of $50,000 (approved by voters in 2008) for homestead exemption on a primary residence. The added bonus would take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
Statewide estimates suggest that property tax collections could drop between $654 million and $700 million annually.
Locally, Pasco County could lose as much as $13 million, according to Pasco County Property Appraiser Gary Joiner.
About 100,000 of the county’s more than 260,000 parcels have a homestead exemption. Of those, about 60,000 would qualify for the increased exemption, he said.
“I don’t think that there is any doubt it’s going to pass,” Joiner said. “It’s going to be tough for the county and the commissioners to decide what they are going to have to do.”
The impact of lost revenues would be felt starting in 2019.
To close financial holes in budgets, other revenue sources could be sought, including sales taxes, increased millage rates and user fees. Or, governments may have to reduce staff or cut services.
Homeowners currently can receive a standard homestead exemption on the first $25,000 of assessed value of their primary residence. Another $25,000 can be deducted from assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000.
The proposed exemption increases the exemption on all taxes, other than school district taxes, by another $25,000 on assessed value greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000.
As an example, a house valued at $100,000 would be taxed as if it were worth $25,000. A $200,000 house would be taxed at an assessed value of $125,000.
State Rep. Richard Corcoran of Land O’ Lakes, who is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and State Sen. Tom Lee of Brandon, pushed for the referendum and the larger exemption.
In a news release, Corcoran described the vote as a “big win for all Floridians” and “one of, if not the largest, tax cut in the history of Florida at $645 million.”
It allows families to pay bills and make payments on cars, health care and day care, according to Corcoran’s statement.
State Rep. Amber Mariano, State Rep. Danny Burgess and State Sen. Wilton Simpson voted for the referendum.
State Sen. Jack Latvala, of Clearwater, was the only member of the Tampa Bay delegation to vote no.
Published May 10, 2017