HB 357

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to homestead exemptions for seniors;
3amending s. 196.075, F.S.; authorizing the board of
4county commissioners of any county or the governing
5authority of any municipality to adopt an ordinance
6granting an additional homestead tax exemption up to
7the assessed value of the property to an owner who has
8maintained permanent residency on the property for a
9specified duration, who has attained age 65, and whose
10household income does not exceed a specified amount;
11providing definitions applicable to such additional
12exemption; providing applicability of requirements
13relating to the adoption of a local ordinance granting
14such exemption; providing for annual cost-of-living
15adjustments of the household-income limitation
16relating to such additional homestead exemption;
17amending s. 196.031, F.S.; conforming provisions to
18changes made by the act; reenacting s. 197.252(2)(a),
19F.S., relating to homestead tax deferral, to
20incorporate the amendments made to s. 196.075, F.S.,
21in reference thereto; providing a contingent effective
24Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
26     Section 1.  Section 196.075, Florida Statutes, is amended
27to read:
28     196.075  Additional homestead exemption for persons 65 and
30     (1)  As used in this section, the term:
31     (a)  "Household" means a person or group of persons living
32together in a room or group of rooms as a housing unit, but the
33term does not include persons boarding in or renting a portion
34of the dwelling.
35     (b)  "Household income" means the adjusted gross income, as
36defined in s. 62 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, of
37all members of a household.
38     (2)  In accordance with s. 6(d), Art. VII of the State
39Constitution, the board of county commissioners of any county or
40the governing authority of any municipality may adopt an
41ordinance to allow an additional homestead exemption of up to:
42     (a)  Fifty-thousand dollars $50,000 for any person who has
43the legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains
44thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has attained
45age 65, and whose household income does not exceed $20,000; and.
46     (b)  The amount of the assessed value for any person who
47has the legal or equitable title to real estate and has
48maintained thereon the permanent residence of the owner for at
49least 20 years, who has attained age 65, and whose household
50income does not exceed $15,000.
51     (3)  Beginning January 1, 2001, the $20,000 income
52limitation and beginning January 1, 2014, the $15,000 income
53limitation shall be adjusted annually, on January 1, by the
54percentage change in the average cost-of-living index in the
55period January 1 through December 31 of the immediate prior year
56compared with the same period for the year prior to that. The
57index is the average of the monthly consumer-price-index figures
58for the stated 12-month period, relative to the United States as
59a whole, issued by the United States Department of Labor.
60     (4)  An ordinance granting additional homestead exemption
61as authorized by this section must meet the following
63     (a)  It must be adopted under the procedures for adoption
64of a nonemergency ordinance specified in chapter 125 by a board
65of county commissioners, or chapter 166 by a municipal governing
67     (b)  It must specify that the exemption applies only to
68taxes levied by the unit of government granting the exemption.
69Unless otherwise specified by the county or municipality, this
70exemption will apply to all tax levies of the county or
71municipality granting the exemption, including dependent special
72districts and municipal service taxing units.
73     (c)  It must specify the amount of the exemption, which may
74not exceed the applicable amount specified in subsection (2)
75$50,000. If the county or municipality specifies a different
76exemption amount for dependent special districts or municipal
77service taxing units, the exemption amount must be uniform in
78all dependent special districts or municipal service taxing
79units within the county or municipality.
80     (d)  It must require that a taxpayer claiming the exemption
81annually submit to the property appraiser, not later than March
821, a sworn statement of household income on a form prescribed by
83the Department of Revenue.
84     (5)  The department must require by rule that the filing of
85the statement be supported by copies of any federal income tax
86returns for the prior year, any wage and earnings statements (W-
872 forms), any request for an extension of time to file returns,
88and any other documents it finds necessary, for each member of
89the household, to be submitted for inspection by the property
90appraiser. The taxpayer's sworn statement shall attest to the
91accuracy of the documents and grant permission to allow review
92of the documents if requested by the property appraiser.
93Submission of supporting documentation is not required for the
94renewal of an exemption under this section unless the property
95appraiser requests such documentation. Once the documents have
96been inspected by the property appraiser, they shall be returned
97to the taxpayer or otherwise destroyed. The property appraiser
98is authorized to generate random audits of the taxpayers' sworn
99statements to ensure the accuracy of the household income
100reported. If so selected for audit, a taxpayer shall execute
101Internal Revenue Service Form 8821 or 4506, which authorizes the
102Internal Revenue Service to release tax information to the
103property appraiser's office. All reviews conducted in accordance
104with this section shall be completed on or before June 1. The
105property appraiser may not grant or renew the exemption if the
106required documentation requested is not provided.
107     (6)  The board of county commissioners or municipal
108governing authority must deliver a copy of any ordinance adopted
109under this section to the property appraiser no later than
110December 1 of the year prior to the year the exemption will take
111effect. If the ordinance is repealed, the board of county
112commissioners or municipal governing authority shall notify the
113property appraiser no later than December 1 of the year prior to
114the year the exemption expires.
115     (7)  Those persons entitled to the homestead exemption in
116s. 196.031 may apply for and receive an additional homestead
117exemption as provided in this section. Receipt of the additional
118homestead exemption provided for in this section shall be
119subject to the provisions of ss. 196.131 and 196.161, if
121     (8)  If title is held jointly with right of survivorship,
122the person residing on the property and otherwise qualifying may
123receive the entire amount of the additional homestead exemption.
124     (9)  If the property appraiser determines that for any year
125within the immediately previous 10 years a person who was not
126entitled to the additional homestead exemption under this
127section was granted such an exemption, the property appraiser
128shall serve upon the owner a notice of intent to record in the
129public records of the county a notice of tax lien against any
130property owned by that person in the county, and that property
131must be identified in the notice of tax lien. Any property that
132is owned by the taxpayer and is situated in this state is
133subject to the taxes exempted by the improper homestead
134exemption, plus a penalty of 50 percent of the unpaid taxes for
135each year and interest at a rate of 15 percent per annum.
136However, if such an exemption is improperly granted as a result
137of a clerical mistake or omission by the property appraiser, the
138person who improperly received the exemption may not be assessed
139a penalty and interest. Before any such lien may be filed, the
140owner must be given 30 days within which to pay the taxes,
141penalties, and interest. Such a lien is subject to the
142procedures and provisions set forth in s. 196.161(3).
143     Section 2.  Paragraph (d) of subsection (7) of section
144196.031, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
145     196.031  Exemption of homesteads.-
146     (7)  The exemptions provided in paragraphs (1)(a) and (b)
147and other homestead exemptions shall be applied as follows:
148     (d)  Other exemptions include and shall be applied in the
149following order: widows, widowers, blind persons, and disabled
150persons, as provided in s. 196.202; disabled ex-servicemembers
151and surviving spouses, as provided in s. 196.24, applicable to
152all levies; the local option low-income senior exemption up to
153$50,000, applicable to county levies or municipal levies, as
154provided in s. 196.075; and the veterans percentage discount, as
155provided in s. 196.082.
156     Section 3.  For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
157made by this act to section 196.075, Florida Statutes, in a
158reference thereto, paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
159197.252, Florida Statutes, is reenacted to read:
160     197.252  Homestead tax deferral.-
161     (2)(a)  Approval of an application for homestead tax
162deferral shall defer the combined total of ad valorem taxes and
163non-ad valorem assessments:
164     1.  Which exceeds 5 percent of the applicant's household
165income for the prior calendar year if the applicant is younger
166than 65 years old;
167     2.  Which exceeds 3 percent of the applicant's household
168income for the prior calendar year if the applicant is 65 years
169old or older; or
170     3.  In its entirety if the applicant's household income:
171     a.  For the previous calendar year is less than $10,000; or
172     b.  Is less than the designated amount for the additional
173homestead exemption under s. 196.075 and the applicant is 65
174years old or older.
175     Section 4.  This act shall take effect upon the approval of
176House Joint Resolution 169, or a similar joint resolution having
177substantially the same specific intent and purpose, at the
178general election to be held in November 2012 or at an earlier
179special election specifically authorized by law for that

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.