Amendment 5 could impact 300,000 Palm Beach County property owners

If passed, tax roll window would be extended
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Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 19:39:02-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Two amendments on the November election ballot deal with property taxes.

If you are a homeowner with homestead exemptions, you have probably noticed Amendment Five.

It would extend the portability window when you buy a new home.

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If approved, it could potentially apply to 300,000 property owners in Palm Beach County alone.

After 35 years, Willie Denson retired from the Palm Beach County School District, but he has already taken on a new job driving people to the polls.

Willie Denson
Willie Denson missed his portability window when he sold his house in West Palm Beach and moved to Riviera Beach.

"[I drive a] charter bus, I got the home of my dream. I'm just living the life," said Denson, who works for Bus One LLC.

In May 2018, he sold his West Palm Beach home that had a homestead exemption. He moved into his dream home located in Riviera Beach in August 2019.

What he hasn't done is carry or "port" his tax benefit to his new home.

Based on the current homestead exemption rule, Denson has missed his portability window.

He would have had to move his homestead status to the new address on or before Jan. 1 of the second year after selling his old home.

This is also known as two tax roll cycles.

Dorothy Jacks
Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks says property owners who do not have a homestead tax exemption will not be impacted by Amendment 5.

"Right now, if you miss that two tax roll window, you're out of luck. It goes away. We can't do anything to get it back for you," said Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks.

Amendment Five would extend the window from two tax roll cycles to three. The county tax collector explained a change would not affect other homeowners.

"Are they going to cause my taxes to go up if I'm not receiving the benefit, but others are? [The answer is] no," Jacks said.

"You're going to be in a tough position, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, to oppose any kind of a tax break -- even if it's a small one -- for homeowners, especially in a population where we have a lot of people who are on fixed incomes," said WPTV political analyst Brian Crowley.

If passed, Amendment Five will go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Click here to learn more about the property tax exemption for a homestead property.