2016 Legislation Information

In 2016, Florida voters approved several constitutional and statutory amendments that affect exemptions for seniors, first responders, homestead property, deployed servicemembers, land used for conservation, and the taxable status of solar or renewable energy source devices in Florida. The amendments create new opportunities for taxpayers to obtain tax relief or expand existing exemptions.

HB 7023 – Ad Valorem Tax Exemption for Deployed Servicemembers – Amends §196.173, Fla. Stat., to update the designated operations for which deployed servicemembers may qualify, extend the March 1 application deadline for qualifying deployments during 2014 and 2015 to June 1, 2016, and provide refund procedures for qualifying deployments during 2014 and 2015. The 17 qualifying operations and their effective dates are as follows:

(a) Operation Joint Task Force Bravo (1995)

(b) Operation Joint Guardian (06/12/1999)

(c) Operation Noble Eagle (09/15/2001)

(d) Operations in the Balkans (2004)

(e) Operation Nomad Shadow (2007)

(f) Operation U. S. Airstrikes Al Qaeda in Somalia (01/2007)

(g) Operation Juniper Shield (02/2007)

(h) Operation Copper Dune (2009)

(i) Operation Georgia Deployment Program (08/2009)

(j) Operation Spartan Shield (06/2011)

(k) Operation Observant Compass (10/2011)

(l) Operation Martillo (01/2012)

(m) Operation Inherent Resolve (08/2014)

(n) Operation Atlantic Resolve (04/2014)

(o) Operation Freedom's Sentinel (01/01/2015)

(p) Operation Resolute Support (01/2015)

(q) Operation Pacific Eagle (09/2017)

Amendment 5 was approved by voters in the general election. The amendment allows cities and counties to extend a tax exemption for certain senior, low-income, long-term residents, if the value of their home grows beyond the $250,000 cap already on the books. It takes effect January 1, 2017, and applies retroactively to exemptions granted before January 1, 2017. The benefits under Amendment 5 are currently not available to seniors in Lee County. In order for it to apply locally, the amendment must first be authorized by a city or the county.

Amendment 4 was approved by voters in the August primary election. It provides that solar or renewable energy source devices installed on properties used for commercial purposes is exempt from Florida’s tangible personal property tax. The changes also authorize the legislature to prohibit consideration of this equipment in assessing the value of real property (residential or commercial) for ad valorem taxation purposes. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2018, and expires on December 31, 2037. It is not self-executing, meaning it will not become effective until the Legislature enacts the implementing language. (A bill is currently pending that would implement the amendment.)

Amendment 3 creates a tax exemption from ad valorem taxes assessed on homesteaded property owned by first responders (firefighters, law enforcement and correctional officers) who are totally and permanently disabled as a result of an injury sustained in the line of duty. It takes effect January 1, 2017 and also is not self-executing; it will not become effective until the Legislature enacts the implementing language.

CS/SB 190 provides that once an original application for an ad valorem tax exemption for property subject to a perpetual conservation easement has been granted, the property owner is not required to file a renewal application until the use of the property no longer complies with the restrictions and requirements of the conservation easement.

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