Florida Senate - 2019 SJR 886 By Senator Brandes 24-01624-19 2019886__ 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 provide that 5 the homestead property tax discount for certain 6 veterans who had permanent, combat-related 7 disabilities carries over to the benefit of the 8 veteran’s surviving spouse under certain circumstances 9 until he or she remarries or sells or otherwise 10 disposes of the property, to provide that the discount 11 for the surviving spouse is transferrable to another 12 homestead under certain circumstances, and to provide 13 an effective date. 14 15 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 16 17 That the following amendment to Section 6 of Article VII 18 and the creation of a new section in Article XII of the State 19 Constitution are agreed to and shall be submitted to the 20 electors of this state for approval or rejection at the next 21 general election or at an earlier special election specifically 22 authorized by law for that purpose: 23 ARTICLE VII 24 FINANCE AND TAXATION 25 SECTION 6. Homestead exemptions.— 26 (a) Every person who has the legal or equitable title to 27 real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the 28 owner, or another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner, 29 shall be exempt from taxation thereon, except assessments for 30 special benefits, up to the assessed valuation of twenty-five 31 thousand dollars and, for all levies other than school district 32 levies, on the assessed valuation greater than fifty thousand 33 dollars and up to seventy-five thousand dollars, upon 34 establishment of right thereto in the manner prescribed by law. 35 The real estate may be held by legal or equitable title, by the 36 entireties, jointly, in common, as a condominium, or indirectly 37 by stock ownership or membership representing the owner’s or 38 member’s proprietary interest in a corporation owning a fee or a 39 leasehold initially in excess of ninety-eight years. The 40 exemption shall not apply with respect to any assessment roll 41 until such roll is first determined to be in compliance with the 42 provisions of section 4 by a state agency designated by general 43 law. This exemption is repealed on the effective date of any 44 amendment to this Article which provides for the assessment of 45 homestead property at less than just value. 46 (b) Not more than one exemption shall be allowed any 47 individual or family unit or with respect to any residential 48 unit. No exemption shall exceed the value of the real estate 49 assessable to the owner or, in case of ownership through stock 50 or membership in a corporation, the value of the proportion 51 which the interest in the corporation bears to the assessed 52 value of the property. 53 (c) By general law and subject to conditions specified 54 therein, the Legislature may provide to renters, who are 55 permanent residents, ad valorem tax relief on all ad valorem tax 56 levies. Such ad valorem tax relief shall be in the form and 57 amount established by general law. 58 (d) The legislature may, by general law, allow counties or 59 municipalities, for the purpose of their respective tax levies 60 and subject to the provisions of general law, to grant either or 61 both of the following additional homestead tax exemptions: 62 (1) An exemption not exceeding fifty thousand dollars to a 63 person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and 64 maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, who has 65 attained age sixty-five, and whose household income, as defined 66 by general law, does not exceed twenty thousand dollars; or 67 (2) An exemption equal to the assessed value of the 68 property to a person who has the legal or equitable title to 69 real estate with a just value less than two hundred and fifty 70 thousand dollars, as determined in the first tax year that the 71 owner applies and is eligible for the exemption, and who has 72 maintained thereon the permanent residence of the owner for not 73 less than twenty-five years, who has attained age sixty-five, 74 and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation 75 prescribed in paragraph (1). 76 77 The general law must allow counties and municipalities to grant 78 these additional exemptions, within the limits prescribed in 79 this subsection, by ordinance adopted in the manner prescribed 80 by general law, and must provide for the periodic adjustment of 81 the income limitation prescribed in this subsection for changes 82 in the cost of living. 83 (e)(1) Each veteran who is age 65 or older who is partially 84 or totally permanently disabled shall receive a discount from 85 the amount of the ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead 86 property the veteran owns and resides in if the disability was 87 combat related and the veteran was honorably discharged upon 88 separation from military service. The discount shall be in a 89 percentage equal to the percentage of the veteran’s permanent, 90 service-connected disability as determined by the United States 91 Department of Veterans Affairs. To qualify for the discount 92 granted by this subsection, an applicant must submit to the 93 county property appraiser, by March 1, an official letter from 94 the United States Department of Veterans Affairs stating the 95 percentage of the veteran’s service-connected disability and 96 such evidence that reasonably identifies the disability as 97 combat related and a copy of the veteran’s honorable discharge. 98 If the property appraiser denies the request for a discount, the 99 appraiser must notify the applicant in writing of the reasons 100 for the denial, and the veteran may reapply. The Legislature 101 may, by general law, waive the annual application requirement in 102 subsequent years. This subsection is self-executing and does not 103 require implementing legislation. 104 (2) If a veteran who is receiving the discount described in 105 paragraph (1) predeceases his or her spouse and if, upon the 106 death of the veteran, the surviving spouse holds the legal or 107 beneficial title to the homestead property and permanently 108 resides thereon, the discount carries over to the benefit of the 109 surviving spouse until he or she remarries, sells the property, 110 or otherwise disposes of the property. If the surviving spouse 111 sells the property, a discount not to exceed the dollar amount 112 granted from the most recent ad valorem tax roll may be 113 transferred to the surviving spouse’s new homestead property, if 114 used as his or her permanent residence and he or she does not 115 remarry. 116 (f) By general law and subject to conditions and 117 limitations specified therein, the Legislature may provide ad 118 valorem tax relief equal to the total amount or a portion of the 119 ad valorem tax otherwise owed on homestead property to: 120 (1) The surviving spouse of a veteran who died from 121 service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the 122 United States Armed Forces. 123 (2) The surviving spouse of a first responder who died in 124 the line of duty. 125 (3) A first responder who is totally and permanently 126 disabled as a result of an injury or injuries sustained in the 127 line of duty. Causal connection between a disability and service 128 in the line of duty shall not be presumed but must be determined 129 as provided by general law. For purposes of this paragraph, the 130 term “disability” does not include a chronic condition or 131 chronic disease, unless the injury sustained in the line of duty 132 was the sole cause of the chronic condition or chronic disease. 133 134 As used in this subsection and as further defined by general 135 law, the term “first responder” means a law enforcement officer, 136 a correctional officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical 137 technician, or a paramedic, and the term “in the line of duty” 138 means arising out of and in the actual performance of duty 139 required by employment as a first responder. 140 ARTICLE XII 141 SCHEDULE 142 Ad valorem tax discount for surviving spouses of certain 143 deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related 144 disabilities.—This section and the amendment to Section 6 of 145 Article VII, providing for the ad valorem tax discount for 146 certain deceased veterans who had permanent, combat-related 147 disabilities to carry over to the benefit of their surviving 148 spouses, shall take effect January 1, 2021. 149 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following statement be 150 placed on the ballot: 151 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 152 ARTICLE VII, SECTION 6 153 ARTICLE XII 154 AD VALOREM TAX DISCOUNT FOR SPOUSES OF CERTAIN DECEASED 155 VETERANS WHO HAD PERMANENT, COMBAT-RELATED DISABILITIES. 156 Provides that the homestead property tax discount for certain 157 veterans who had permanent, combat-related disabilities carries 158 over to the benefit of the veteran’s surviving spouse, if 159 certain conditions are met, until he or she remarries or sells 160 or otherwise disposes of the property. If the surviving spouse 161 sells the property, the discount is transferrable to another 162 homestead used as a permanent residence if he or she remains 163 unmarried. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2021.