published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
McIntyre to discuss new property rules
By BARRY FOSTER
SEBRING -- It appears there may be some changes coming for property appraisals in Florida in the upcoming year. Some may be good and some not so good.
Highlands County Property Appraiser Raymond McIntyre will tell residents about it at the next session of the Highlands County Voters League this Thursday evening at the Homer's Restaurant beginning at 6 p.m.
The information comes from the post-legislative conference of the Property Appraisers Association of Florida earlier this month. There, they discussed some of the new rules and regulations that may affect Sunshine State residents when it comes to their taxes.
"This is where we gather and go over the legislation recently passed by the Florida legislature and cover the bills and new laws that are going to affect us," he said.
McIntyre explained that over the past five years, Florida has undergone an almost constant change in tax reform legislation due to the housing boom.
"But this year we only have a few things that are going to change the way the property appraisers function," he said.
One thing that will be affected is how devices for renewable energy, such as solar panels, are taxed. Because the state is unable to determine what value they might add to a property, they now will be exempted.
Another change will be in homestead exemption. Under the new statutes, residents can lose their exemption if they rent their property out for more than 30 days a year in two consecutive calendar years.
"What this does is define it more exactly," McIntyre explained. "Previously, it simply said that rental of a homestead property constituted abandonment if it was rented for two years consecutively."
McIntyre said the new language came in response to areas where there were people who rented out their homes during large-scale national events such as golf tournaments and such.
The property appraiser had some good news for the upcoming fiscal year in terms of exemptions for seniors and disabled veterans.
The first one is the result of the passage of Amendment 11, which will affect low-income seniors. It could grant an additional $50,000 exemption for seniors who meet certain income requirements provided local officials sign off on the idea.
"This will come at the option of Highlands County commissioners and council members in the cities. They first must pass them," McIntyre said.
"Another will be for combat-related disabled veterans.
"This has been in effect already in our state, but it has been amended to include some additional folks," McIntyre explained.
To be eligible previously, one needed to have been a Florida resident when the disability occurred. Now the exemption will be offered to veterans regardless of where they were living at the time their combat-related disability occurred.
McIntyre is set to give a complete presentation at the Voters League meeting Thursday, then will field questions from the audience.
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