Florida Estate Planning and Probate Law Blog focused on recent case law and planning ideas.

ONLY ONE RESIDENCY TAX EXEMPTION AT A TIME: DON'T BE GREEDY

FloridaHomestead law provides two major benefits: (i) creditor protection; and (ii) partial exemption from ad valorem tax. However, each of these benefits can be lost if you claim a residency based tax exemption in another state (you can’t be a resident of two states at the same time). The recent Fourth District Court of Appeals ruling in Venice L. Endsley, Appellant, v. Broward County, Finance and Administrative Services Department, Revenue Collections Division, Appellees. 4th District. Case No. 4D14-3997. March 23, 2016, makes that fact abundantly clear.

In Endsley, a husband, with a residence in Indiana, and a wife, with a residence in Florida, simultaneously received residency based property tax exemptions. In August 2006, the Broward County Property Appraiser, in reliance on Article VII, Section 6(b) of the Florida Constitution ("[n]ot more than one exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit or with respect to any residential unit") challenged the wife’s eligibility for the Florida Homestead exemption. The challenge dated back to 1996, the first year the couple had simultaneously claimed a residency based property tax exemption in Indiana and Florida, and removal of the Save our Homes protection. Both the trial court and 4th DCA found that the plain language of the Florida Constitution meant that only one homestead exemption was allowed, regardless of location.