Florida Senate - 2019 SJR 344 By Senator Diaz 36-00634A-19 2019344__ 1 Senate Joint Resolution 2 A joint resolution proposing an amendment to Section 6 3 of Article VII and the creation of a new section in 4 Article XII of the State Constitution to authorize the 5 Legislature, by general law, to provide a homestead 6 tax exemption from school district levies to persons 7 65 years of age or older who have legal or equitable 8 title to homestead property and who have maintained 9 permanent residence thereon for at least 25 years, and 10 to provide an effective date. 11 12 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 13 14 That the following amendment to Section 6 of Article VII 15 and the creation of a new section in Article XII of the State 16 Constitution are agreed to and shall be submitted to the 17 electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next 18 general election or at an earlier special election specifically 19 authorized by law for that purpose: 20 ARTICLE VII 21 FINANCE AND TAXATION 22 SECTION 6. Homestead exemptions.— 23 (a) Every person who has the legal or equitable title to 24 real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the 25 owner, or another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner, 26 shall be exempt from taxation thereon, except assessments for 27 special benefits, up to the assessed valuation of twenty-five 28 thousand dollars and, for all levies other than school district 29 levies, on the assessed valuation greater than fifty thousand 30 dollars and up to seventy-five thousand dollars, upon 31 establishment of right thereto in the manner prescribed by law. 32 The real estate may be held by legal or equitable title, by the 33 entireties, jointly, in common, as a condominium, or indirectly 34 by stock ownership or membership representing the owner’s or 35 member’s proprietary interest in a corporation owning a fee or a 36 leasehold initially in excess of ninety-eight years. The 37 exemption shall not apply with respect to any assessment roll 38 until such roll is first determined to be in compliance with the 39 provisions of section 4 by a state agency designated by general 40 law. This exemption is repealed on the effective date of any 41 amendment to this Article which provides for the assessment of 42 homestead property at less than just value. 43 (b) Not more than one exemption shall be allowed any 44 individual or family unit or with respect to any residential 45 unit. No exemption shall exceed the value of the real estate 46 assessable to the owner or, in case of ownership through stock 47 or membership in a corporation, the value of the proportion 48 which the interest in the corporation bears to the assessed 49 value of the property. 50 (c) By general law and subject to conditions specified 51 therein, the Legislature may provide to renters, who are 52 permanent residents, ad valorem tax relief on all ad valorem tax 53 levies. Such ad valorem tax relief shall be in the form and 54 amount established by general law. 55 (d) The legislature may, by general law, allow counties or 56 municipalities, for the purpose of their respective tax levies 57 and subject to the provisions of general law, to grant either or 58 both of the following additional homestead tax exemptions: 59 (1) An exemption not exceeding fifty thousand dollars to a 60 person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and 61 maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has 62 attained age sixty-five, and whose household income, as defined 63 by general law, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars; or 64 (2) An exemption equal to the assessed value of the 65 property to a person who has the legal or equitable title to 66 real estate with a just value less than two hundred and fifty 67 thousand dollars, as determined in the first tax year that the 68 owner applies and is eligible for the exemption, and who has 69 maintained thereon the permanent residence of the owner for not 70 less than twenty-five years, who has attained age sixty-five, 71 and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation 72 prescribed in paragraph (1). 73 74 The general law must allow counties and municipalities to grant 75 these additional exemptions, within the limits prescribed in 76 this subsection, by ordinance adopted in the manner prescribed 77 by general law, and must provide for the periodic adjustment of 78 the income limitation prescribed in this subsection for changes 79 in the cost of living. 80 (e) Each veteran who is age 65 or older who is partially or 81 totally permanently disabled shall receive a discount from the 82 amount of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead 83 property the veteran owns and resides in if the disability was 84 combat related and the veteran was honorably discharged upon 85 separation from military service. The discount shall be in a 86 percentage equal to the percentage of the veteran’s permanent, 87 service-connected disability as determined by the United States 88 Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for the discount 89 granted by this subsection, an applicant must submit to the 90 county property appraiser, by March 1, an official letter from 91 the United States Department of Veterans Affairs stating the 92 percentage of the veteran’s service-connected disability and 93 such evidence that reasonably identifies the disability as 94 combat related and a copy of the veteran’s honorable discharge. 95 If the property appraiser denies the request for a discount, the 96 appraiser must notify the applicant in writing of the reasons 97 for the denial, and the veteran may reapply. The Legislature 98 may, by general law, waive the annual application requirement in 99 subsequent years. This subsection is self-executing and does not 100 require implementing legislation. 101 (f) By general law and subject to conditions and 102 limitations specified therein, the Legislature may provide ad 103 valorem tax relief equal to the total amount or a portion of the 104 ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property to: 105 (1) The surviving spouse of a veteran who died from 106 service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the 107 United States Armed Forces. 108 (2) The surviving spouse of a first responder who died in 109 the line of duty. 110 (3) A first responder who is totally and permanently 111 disabled as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the 112 line of duty. Causal connection between a disability and service 113 in the line of duty shall not be presumed but must be determined 114 as provided by general law. For purposes of this paragraph, the 115 term “disability” does not include a chronic condition or 116 chronic disease, unless the injury sustained in the line of duty 117 was the sole cause of the chronic condition or chronic disease. 118 119 As used in this subsection and as further defined by general 120 law, the term “first responder” means a law enforcement officer, 121 a correctional officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical 122 technician, or a paramedic, and the term “in the line of duty” 123 means arising out of and in the actual performance of duty 124 required by employment as a first responder. 125 (g) In addition to any other exemption provided or 126 authorized in this section, the legislature may, by general law, 127 provide an exemption from school district levies to a person who 128 has attained age sixty-five, who has legal or equitable title to 129 homestead property, and who has maintained permanent residence 130 thereon for at least twenty-five years. 131 ARTICLE XII 132 SCHEDULE 133 Homestead tax exemption from school district levies for 134 certain persons who have attained age sixty-five.—This section 135 and the amendment to Section 6 of Article VII, authorizing the 136 legislature to provide a homestead tax exemption from school 137 district levies to a person who has attained age sixty-five, who 138 has legal or equitable title to homestead property, and who has 139 maintained permanent residence thereon for at least twenty-five 140 years, shall take effect January 1, 2021. 141 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be 142 placed on the ballot: 143 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 144 ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6 145 ARTICLE XII 146 HOMESTEAD TAX EXEMPTION FROM SCHOOL DISTRICT LEVIES FOR 147 CERTAIN PERSONS AGE 65 OR OLDER.—Proposing an amendment to the 148 State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, 149 to provide a homestead tax exemption from school district levies 150 to persons 65 years of age or older who have legal or equitable 151 title to homestead property and who have maintained permanent 152 residence thereon for at least 25 years. This amendment takes 153 effect January 1, 2021.