Good Fences Make Good Neighbors? Lawmaker Encouraging Tax Tattle-Tales

Sep 30, 2015

Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Maitland) is hoping to stamp out homestead fraud.
Credit David Sawyer via Flickr

Florida doesn’t collect income tax, and whiles that’s nice it makes property taxes much more important.  One state lawmaker is hoping to curb abuse of a popular property exemption.

The homestead deduction exempts $50,000 of a home’s value when calculating property taxes.  Homeowners are only supposed to do it once, but Rep. Bob Cortes (R-Maitland) says it doesn’t always work out that way.

“Very simply, with Florida being so much of a transient state,” Cortes says, “and a lot of people coming from different other states to spend their winters here, we’ve seen in the past that some folks may be claiming homestead exemption in two states.”

Under Florida law, people who turn in cheaters are limited to a 100 dollar reward from the Department of Revenue.  Cortes wants to remove this limitation so state officials like property appraisers can contract with organizations to root out fraud.