This one has come up twice recently. A husband and wife buy a property and homestead it. Some years later they have accumulated a savings on their tax bill and decide to get divorced. This decision will necessitate that the title to the property be taken out of the joint name and perhaps sold to a third party or perhaps the husband or the wife is going to retain the house in the settlement.
Who gets the benefit of that accumulated tax shelter?
Don’t overlook the value of this. Let’s pick some reasonable numbers. It would not be out of the question to have 200k in tax portability savings. This would be the difference between what the property is appraised for and what it is assessed for. So the appraised value of the property is 500k and the assessed tax value is 300k. Note that I did not deduct the 50k from this. With the average millage rate being about 2% this saves the couple 2% of 200k (500k-300k) or 4,000 every single year.
Now if one of the couples is renting for the next few years or moving out of state they should assign this benefit to the other party. If both parties intend to stay here in Florida and buy another property then it should be split equally between the two parties. And you have 2 years to port this saving into a new property. So, if one were to apply for a homestead exemption in 2018 (apply by March 1st 2018 for the bill you will receive in November 2018) then you must have had a homestead exemption in place for 2016 or 2017.