With a controversial amendment on November's ballot that could expand Florida's homestead exemption, Pinellas County Property Appraiser Mike Twitty wants homeowners to know how much they could save.
Twitty, working with data from 59 other property appraisers, created a tool that lets homeowners estimate how much money they could save in property taxes if Amendment 1 passes.
Twitty created the tool because Florida voters often head into a "general election without a true understanding of how a property tax law change to our state constitution directly impacts them," he said.
"This tool allows property owners to see the facts relating to their own real estate," Twitty said in a statement.
"The property appraisers are the keepers of this data and are best suited to provide information and transparency to our citizens so they are better informed before heading to the polls on Nov. 6th."
The measure would increase the homestead exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, but the additional $25,000 exemption would apply only to homes with an assessed value of $100,000 or more.
Assessed values between $100,000 and $125,000 would be exempt from taxation. Amendment 1 will not apply to school taxes.
The tool allows homeowners to enter their address to see how much they could potentially save: http://www.3hxestimator.org
As a result, property appraisers have created links to the tool on their websites. These seven counties did not participate: Baker, Clay, Collier, Dixie, Highlands, Leon and Orange.
The Legislature passed the measure in 2017 and it will require 60 percent of the vote to pass. It has already raised concerns among county and municipal leaders across the Sunshine State.
In Pinellas, only 56 percent of those homesteaded would receive either a partial or full benefit from the additional exemption, Twitty added. Statewide, it's 61 percent, he added.
In 2017, Pinellas County predicted it could lose $17 million in property taxes in unincorporated areas in 2020. That figure has now climbed to $21.7 million, Twitty said. Hillsborough froze hiring in 2017 because of the amendment.
The statewide impact is expected to cost $644 million per year—resulting in either service reductions or tax hikes. Most benefits will only go to a handful of homeowners, according to the Florida City and County Management Association.
In calculating the potential savings, Twitty listed these disclaimers on the website:
- All calculations are based on 2017 assessment roll data and 2017 final tax rates.
- Recent purchases in 2017 and 2018 may show $0 benefit as a new homestead application may not yet be reflected at this address.
- Assessed value must exceed $100,000 to receive any benefit from the 3rd Homestead Exemption.
- Full (100%) benefit from the 3rd Homestead Exemption is not received unless your property’s Assessed Value is greater than or equal to $125,000.
- Estimates assume no partial homesteads. Homestead percentages less than 100% would result in a lower estimate.
- If passed, this exemption would take effect January 1, 2019 for the 2019 tax year.