DADE CITY — Property Appraiser Mike Wells is extending the deadline for residents who moved between Florida homesteads in the last year to apply to carry their Save Our Homes tax savings to their new property.
Monday was the official deadline to sign up for what's known as Save Our Homes portability. But Wells said he plans to be "extraordinarily lenient" toward late filers — but he wants potential applicants who are still in doubt to call his office as soon as possible.
Wells' office is encouraging eligible residents to complete their applications by April 1, but he said he plans to extend the deadline even further to sometime in August. Wells was on the road Monday, and said he could not specify the exact late filing deadline yet.
"The statute that provided implementation of the transferability of Save Our Homes says it shall be done with homestead exemption, which is March 1, so far as practicable," Wells said, adding his emphasis on the last phrase. "Whoever wrote that was pretty smart."
The portability measure, approved by voters Jan. 29, lets a Florida homeowner transfer the tax savings from a former homesteaded property to a new house, condominium or townhouse in Florida.
Those who sold a homestead property last year and applied for a new homestead exemption after March 1, 2007, are eligible to apply for the portability feature. The new law doesn't apply to first-time home buyers or non-homesteaded properties.
But the application forms to do so didn't reach the Property Appraiser's Office until Feb. 1, and Wells didn't think residents were given enough time to absorb the new rules.
"We've had very few applications so far," Wells said. He could not recall the exact number Monday.
Wells' office typically gets about 200 late filers for homestead exemption each year, he said.
Act now, Wells advised.
"Please ask your readers to get in touch with us as quickly as possible," he said. "Don't wait until Labor Day. The problem we have is that everybody waits, and then it's my fault."
Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 909-4613.