SAVE OUR HOMES FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What is the Save Our Homes Amendment? “Save Our Homes” (SOH), an Amendment to the Florida Constitution, approved by Florida voters in 1992, effective January 1, 1995. SOH places a limitation of 3% on annual assessment increases on homestead exempt property. For all property first granted homestead exemption in the prior year, that year’s market value will be the base value for the implementation of “Save Our Homes”. Thereafter, the assessed value will not increase more than 3% or the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. The property’s market value may differ from SOH assessed value. SOH assessed value will never be greater than market value. Section 193.155, Florida Statutes, was enacted to implement the amendment to the Florida Constitution to limit annual increases in property value assessments on real property qualifying for and receiving the homestead exemption. Which property is affected? Only homestead property that remains under the same ownership during the calendar year qualifies for the limitation. How does a divorce or death of a spouse affect your SOH cap?  The cap remains in effect upon the change of title due to divorce or death of a spouse as long as the remaining owner originally made application and continues to live on the property as their permanent residence. What types of property are not subject to the Save Our Homes cap? Non-homestead property (such as residences without homestead, vacant land, non-residential property), agricultural property, tangible personal property as well as homestead property that has been sold or otherwise conveyed to a new owner during the calendar year are not subject to the limitation on assessment. (For more information on non-Homestead property assessment capping, see “Non-Homestead Limitation.” What about improvements or additions to the property? The additions or improvements are valued at market value in the year of construction, and that value is then added to your capped assessment.  SOH then applies to these additions/improvements in subsequent years.  How is property with a partial homestead exemption affected? Only that portion of the property receiving homestead exemption is subject to the assessment limitation. The remainder of the property is assessed at full market value under the law. What is the so-called "recapture" rule? In September 1995, the Governor and Cabinet approved a rule directing property appraisers to raise the assessed value of a qualifying homestead property by the maximum of 3% or the CPI, whichever is less, on all properties assessed at less than full market value whether or not that property's value increased during that calendar year. For example, Property A's market value increases by 10% this year. As a homestead property, the property appraiser can only increase its value by 3%, or CPI, whichever is less, under the SOH limitation. In the next year, Property A's market value did not change. Since its assessed value under the limitation remains under market value, the property appraiser must increase the assessed value by 3%, or CPI, to bring its value closer to market value. What happens when a property is sold or otherwise conveyed to a new owner? The assessment on any property which is sold or otherwise conveyed to new owner during a calendar year is raised to full market value according to law. The limitation will be applied to the assessed value in the first year following the year in which the new owner qualifies the property for homestead exemption. Even if the property received a homestead exemption under the previous owner, the limitation - just like the exemption - expires with a change in ownership. The new owner must apply for and receive a homestead exemption. Can my TAXES go up more than SOH capped percentage?  Yes, SOH is a limitation on the assessed value of the homestead property, not the taxes.  Millage rates (determined by the various taxing authorities) may increase or decrease as those taxing authorities determine their budgets.  In addition, on multi-dwelling/agricultural parcels only the homesteaded portion is subject to the SOH limitation.
Santa Rosa County Property Appraiser Gregory S. Brown, CFA
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