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Amendment 5 ‘Yes’ Vote Helps Florida Buyers

Florida homeowners have two years to “port” tax savings to a new home, but in some cases that can be barely more than one year. A “yes” on Amendment 5 creates a two-year minimum.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – As you head to the polls to vote in the general election, Florida Realtors® asks you to strongly consider voting YES on Amendment 5 – Limitations on Homestead Assessments.

Under Florida law, homeowners can “port” property tax savings from a current home to a new home, but they only have two years to do so. If approved, Amendment 5 would extend the portability period of homestead exemptions by an additional year, giving homeowners three years of portability instead of two.

An increase in the portability period would benefit some homeowners by allowing them to maintain their property tax benefits longer as they transition between living situations.

The history of this issue dates back to January 2008, when 64% of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing a homestead property owner to transfer up to $500,000 of their “Save Our Homes” tax benefits in a current homestead property to a new homestead property. This became known as “portability.”

However, the timeframe can be misleading. Even though current law allows two years for portability, some homeowners only get about one year due to the way the law works. The reason for this: Portability is allowed only if the new property receives the homestead exemption as of January 1 in either of the immediately preceding two years. Because of this, home sellers can wind up with barely more than a year for portability, depending on when they sold their previous home.

If Amendment 5 is approved by voters, the extended portability period would go into effect Jan. 1, 2021, and apply to the 2021 property tax roll.

For details on all the constitutional amendments found on the 2020 ballot, view Florida Realtors’ summary of general election constitutional amendments document.

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