Imagine the savings if you were able to claim a homestead exemption in every state that has the exemption. We would all be buying up property across the country. However, buyer beware! While we all try to find tools to save money, homeowners should be especially careful in using homestead exemptions to cut corners and save on their property tax bills.
Last week, the 4th District Court of Appeal in Florida ruled that “only one homestead exemption was allowed, regardless of the location[,]” “only one homestead exemption was allowed, regardless of the location[,]” as it relates to Florida real estate. Ultimately, the court concluded, it is clear that “not more than one exemption shall be allowed for any individual or family unit.” This is especially important for homeowners who own property in different states.
The case involves a couple, the Endsleys, who owned properties in Indiana and in Broward County, Florida, and each spouse claimed the homestead exemption on one of their properties. When the Broward County Property Appraiser discovered the double-dipping, the exemption renewal was rejected. After cancelling the exemption in Indiana, Mrs. Endsley was able to reobtain the exemption in Broward County, but it cost an arm and a leg! Although she was granted the homestead exemption, she lost the Save Our Homes benefit causing the taxable value of the property to go from about $84,000 to $284,000!
Ultimately, the court was unsympathetic towards Mrs. Endsley “[b]ecause [she] benefitted from homestead exemptions both in and out of the state of Florida” for over 20 years!
From the Trenches,