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Future Tax cuts could be awhile in the making

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 31, 2008

Florida voters sent a loud message Tuesday that they want lower property taxes, but will the new constitutional amendment mean reductions on their next tax bill? Are more tax cuts likely?

The answer to both questions is simple: It depends.

The immediate winners of Amendment 1, approved by voters by a 2-1 ratio, will be longtime homeowners who moved last year or plan to move now, existing homeowners, businesses that pay taxes on tangible personal property, and owners of commercial property, rental units or second homes whose values have gone up more than 10 percent in the past year.

For the first time since voters approved the Save Our Homes tax limitations in 1992, homeowners can transfer the tax savings they have accrued when they move.

March deadline

To get the added tax break, those who move must fill out a simple form from their county property appraiser by March of each year. The appraiser will then calculate the savings based on the market value of the new home and the assessed value of the old home and apply it to the next tax bill.

Anyone who receives a homestead exemption is eligible to get an increased exemption on this fall’s tax bill. That equates to about $15,750 in Miami-Dade and $16,000 in Broward and amounts to an average savings of about $240 per home statewide.

Not everyone in the state will get the added exemption. It doesn’t apply to homeowners in mostly rural areas whose property is assessed at between $50,000 and $75,000.

And there’s nothing to stop cities and counties from adjusting their tax rates to recover some of the lost revenue.

“We’re certainly going to see some [rate] increases,” predicted Kurt Wenner, director of tax research for Florida TaxWatch. And b