Florida Senate - 2012                                    SB 1738
       By Senator Garcia
       40-01682-12                                           20121738__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to homestead exemptions for seniors;
    3         amending s. 196.075, F.S.; authorizing the board of
    4         county commissioners of any county or the governing
    5         authority of any municipality to adopt an ordinance
    6         granting an additional homestead tax exemption up to
    7         the assessed value of the property to an owner who has
    8         maintained permanent residency on the property for a
    9         specified duration, who has attained age 65, and whose
   10         household income does not exceed a specified amount;
   11         providing definitions applicable to such additional
   12         exemption; providing applicability of requirements
   13         relating to the adoption of a local ordinance granting
   14         such exemption; providing for annual cost-of-living
   15         adjustments of the household-income limitation
   16         relating to such additional homestead exemption;
   17         amending s. 196.031, F.S.; conforming provisions to
   18         changes made by the act; reenacting s. 197.252(2)(a),
   19         F.S., relating to homestead tax deferral, to
   20         incorporate the amendments made to s. 196.075, F.S.,
   21         in reference thereto; providing a contingent effective
   22         date.
   24  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   26         Section 1. Section 196.075, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   27  read:
   28         196.075 Additional homestead exemption for persons 65 and
   29  older.—
   30         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   31         (a) “Household” means a person or group of persons living
   32  together in a room or group of rooms as a housing unit, but the
   33  term does not include persons boarding in or renting a portion
   34  of the dwelling.
   35         (b) “Household income” means the adjusted gross income, as
   36  defined in s. 62 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, of
   37  all members of a household.
   38         (2) In accordance with s. 6(d), Art. VII of the State
   39  Constitution, the board of county commissioners of any county or
   40  the governing authority of any municipality may adopt an
   41  ordinance to allow an additional homestead exemption of up to:
   42         (a) Fifty-thousand dollars $50,000 for any person who has
   43  the legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains
   44  thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has attained
   45  age 65, and whose household income does not exceed $20,000; and.
   46         (b) The amount of the assessed value for any person who has
   47  the legal or equitable title to real estate and has maintained
   48  thereon the permanent residence of the owner for at least 20
   49  years, who has attained age 65, and whose household income does
   50  not exceed $15,000.
   51         (3) Beginning January 1, 2001, the $20,000 income
   52  limitation and beginning January 1, 2014, the $15,000 income
   53  limitation shall be adjusted annually, on January 1, by the
   54  percentage change in the average cost-of-living index in the
   55  period January 1 through December 31 of the immediate prior year
   56  compared with the same period for the year prior to that. The
   57  index is the average of the monthly consumer-price-index figures
   58  for the stated 12-month period, relative to the United States as
   59  a whole, issued by the United States Department of Labor.
   60         (4) An ordinance granting additional homestead exemption as
   61  authorized by this section must meet the following requirements:
   62         (a) It must be adopted under the procedures for adoption of
   63  a nonemergency ordinance specified in chapter 125 by a board of
   64  county commissioners, or chapter 166 by a municipal governing
   65  authority.
   66         (b) It must specify that the exemption applies only to
   67  taxes levied by the unit of government granting the exemption.
   68  Unless otherwise specified by the county or municipality, this
   69  exemption will apply to all tax levies of the county or
   70  municipality granting the exemption, including dependent special
   71  districts and municipal service taxing units.
   72         (c) It must specify the amount of the exemption, which may
   73  not exceed the applicable amount specified in subsection (2)
   74  $50,000. If the county or municipality specifies a different
   75  exemption amount for dependent special districts or municipal
   76  service taxing units, the exemption amount must be uniform in
   77  all dependent special districts or municipal service taxing
   78  units within the county or municipality.
   79         (d) It must require that a taxpayer claiming the exemption
   80  annually submit to the property appraiser, not later than March
   81  1, a sworn statement of household income on a form prescribed by
   82  the Department of Revenue.
   83         (5) The department must require by rule that the filing of
   84  the statement be supported by copies of any federal income tax
   85  returns for the prior year, any wage and earnings statements (W
   86  2 forms), any request for an extension of time to file returns,
   87  and any other documents it finds necessary, for each member of
   88  the household, to be submitted for inspection by the property
   89  appraiser. The taxpayer’s sworn statement shall attest to the
   90  accuracy of the documents and grant permission to allow review
   91  of the documents if requested by the property appraiser.
   92  Submission of supporting documentation is not required for the
   93  renewal of an exemption under this section unless the property
   94  appraiser requests such documentation. Once the documents have
   95  been inspected by the property appraiser, they shall be returned
   96  to the taxpayer or otherwise destroyed. The property appraiser
   97  is authorized to generate random audits of the taxpayers’ sworn
   98  statements to ensure the accuracy of the household income
   99  reported. If so selected for audit, a taxpayer shall execute
  100  Internal Revenue Service Form 8821 or 4506, which authorizes the
  101  Internal Revenue Service to release tax information to the
  102  property appraiser’s office. All reviews conducted in accordance
  103  with this section shall be completed on or before June 1. The
  104  property appraiser may not grant or renew the exemption if the
  105  required documentation requested is not provided.
  106         (6) The board of county commissioners or municipal
  107  governing authority must deliver a copy of any ordinance adopted
  108  under this section to the property appraiser no later than
  109  December 1 of the year prior to the year the exemption will take
  110  effect. If the ordinance is repealed, the board of county
  111  commissioners or municipal governing authority shall notify the
  112  property appraiser no later than December 1 of the year prior to
  113  the year the exemption expires.
  114         (7) Those persons entitled to the homestead exemption in s.
  115  196.031 may apply for and receive an additional homestead
  116  exemption as provided in this section. Receipt of the additional
  117  homestead exemption provided for in this section shall be
  118  subject to the provisions of ss. 196.131 and 196.161, if
  119  applicable.
  120         (8) If title is held jointly with right of survivorship,
  121  the person residing on the property and otherwise qualifying may
  122  receive the entire amount of the additional homestead exemption.
  123         (9) If the property appraiser determines that for any year
  124  within the immediately previous 10 years a person who was not
  125  entitled to the additional homestead exemption under this
  126  section was granted such an exemption, the property appraiser
  127  shall serve upon the owner a notice of intent to record in the
  128  public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any
  129  property owned by that person in the county, and that property
  130  must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Any property that
  131  is owned by the taxpayer and is situated in this state is
  132  subject to the taxes exempted by the improper homestead
  133  exemption, plus a penalty of 50 percent of the unpaid taxes for
  134  each year and interest at a rate of 15 percent per annum.
  135  However, if such an exemption is improperly granted as a result
  136  of a clerical mistake or omission by the property appraiser, the
  137  person who improperly received the exemption may not be assessed
  138  a penalty and interest. Before any such lien may be filed, the
  139  owner must be given 30 days within which to pay the taxes,
  140  penalties, and interest. Such a lien is subject to the
  141  procedures and provisions set forth in s. 196.161(3).
  142         Section 2. Paragraph (d) of subsection (7) of section
  143  196.031, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  144         196.031 Exemption of homesteads.—
  145         (7) The exemptions provided in paragraphs (1)(a) and (b)
  146  and other homestead exemptions shall be applied as follows:
  147         (d) Other exemptions include and shall be applied in the
  148  following order: widows, widowers, blind persons, and disabled
  149  persons, as provided in s. 196.202; disabled ex-servicemembers
  150  and surviving spouses, as provided in s. 196.24, applicable to
  151  all levies; the local option low-income senior exemption up to
  152  $50,000, applicable to county levies or municipal levies, as
  153  provided in s. 196.075; and the veterans percentage discount, as
  154  provided in s. 196.082.
  155         Section 3. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  156  made by this act to section 196.075, Florida Statutes, in a
  157  reference thereto, paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
  158  197.252, Florida Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  159         197.252 Homestead tax deferral.—
  160         (2)(a) Approval of an application for homestead tax
  161  deferral shall defer the combined total of ad valorem taxes and
  162  non-ad valorem assessments:
  163         1. Which exceeds 5 percent of the applicant’s household
  164  income for the prior calendar year if the applicant is younger
  165  than 65 years old;
  166         2. Which exceeds 3 percent of the applicant’s household
  167  income for the prior calendar year if the applicant is 65 years
  168  old or older; or
  169         3. In its entirety if the applicant’s household income:
  170         a. For the previous calendar year is less than $10,000; or
  171         b. Is less than the designated amount for the additional
  172  homestead exemption under s. 196.075 and the applicant is 65
  173  years old or older.
  174         Section 4. This act shall take effect upon the approval of
  175  Senate Joint Resolution ____, or a similar joint resolution
  176  having substantially the same specific intent and purpose, at
  177  the general election to be held in November 2012 or at an
  178  earlier special election specifically authorized by law for that
  179  purpose.