So last year, you sold the home you have lived in for a long time and enjoyed the real estate tax savings under the Save Our Homes Constitutional Amendment of 1992. This Amendment eliminated the “I can’t afford to move” dilemma for Floridians. Hopefully as part of your purchase last year, you became acquainted with Florida’s Portability law. Portability does not mean that you are allowed to transfer your Save Our Homes assessed value from your old home to your new home, but, in the case where you are buying a more expensive home, you do get the Portability Benefit amount equal to the difference between the property appraisers market value of your prior home and your Save Our Homes value on your prior home up to the maximum cap of $500,000.

When downsizing to a less expensive home, this Portability Benefit is first calculated as a percentage by dividing the Portability Benefit amount of your prior home by the tax assessors market value home of your prior home. You would use this prior Portability Benefit percentage to determine the actual dollar amount of your new Portability Benefit by multiplying the tax assessor’s market value of your new home by the prior Portability Benefit percentage.

If you are either moving up or downsizing, your new Save Our Homes assessed value is determined by subtracting from the tax assessors new home market value, your new calculated Portability Benefit amount to arrive at the new Save Our Homes assessed value on your new home.

Don’t worry, each property appraiser’s website has an easy to use Portability Estimator to make this seemingly complex exercise much easier. I also highly recommend the easily understandable Portability chart that is on the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser’s website.

Whether you are moving on up or downsizing, don’t leave your Homestead Tax Exemption Portability on the table.

Philip J. Morgan, Board Certified Real Estate Lawyer

Philip J. Morgan is a Florida Bar board certified specialist in real estate law, concentrating his practice on commercial and residential transactions and the title insurance of those matters. He focuses primarily on working with lenders to successfully close commercial loans secured by real estate or other assets, in addition to loan workouts and foreclosures. He can be reached at 954.522.2200.