Key West Blog

Portability in Property Tax Exemptions

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Property tax exemptions can be a boon for homeowners, significantly reducing their annual tax burden. One such exemption that often goes unnoticed or misunderstood is the concept of ‘Portability.’ This blog post aims to shed light on this crucial aspect of property tax exemptions, specifically focusing on the state of Florida.

Portability, as defined by the Florida Department of Revenue, is a provision that allows Florida homeowners to transfer the ‘Save Our Homes’ (SOH) benefit from their old homestead property to a new one. The SOH benefit is a property tax exemption that prevents the assessed value of a homestead property from increasing more than 3% annually, regardless of the property’s market value.

The concept of portability was introduced in Florida in 2008 through Amendment 1. It was designed to remove the ‘lock-in’ effect of the SOH benefit, which discouraged homeowners from moving due to potential property tax increases. With portability, homeowners can now carry over all or a significant portion of their SOH benefit, up to $500,000, to a new homestead property.

To qualify for portability, homeowners must establish their new homestead within two years of selling their previous one. They must also apply for the homestead exemption on their new property and submit a Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference, commonly known as the DR-501T form.

The amount of the SOH benefit that can be transferred depends on whether the new homestead property’s market value is higher or lower than the previous one. If the new property’s market value is higher, homeowners can transfer up to $500,000 of their SOH benefit. If it’s lower, the amount that can be transferred is proportionally reduced.

It’s important to note that portability is not automatic. Homeowners must apply for it, and the deadline is usually March 1 of the year in which the portability benefit is sought. Late applications may still be eligible for a reduced benefit.

In conclusion, portability is a valuable provision that can result in substantial property tax savings for Florida homeowners. It encourages mobility and makes homeownership more affordable by allowing homeowners to carry over their SOH benefit when they move. However, understanding the rules and deadlines associated with portability is crucial to maximize its benefits. For more information, homeowners are encouraged to visit the official website of the Florida Department of Revenue or consult with a tax professional.

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