Florida Amendment 2 Would Allow Tax Breaks for Disabled Veterans

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Florida residents will have seven amendments to vote on in the upcoming November election, involving a number of contentious issues from abortion to religious funding. Two of the proposed amendments involve taxes. Case in point: Florida Amendment 2. The amendment, if passed, will allow a homestead property tax exemption for qualifying disabled veterans.

Since the proposal requires a constitutional amendment, a slight majority will not suffice. The amendment will require at least 60 percent voter approval in order to become law. The proposal was approved by both the House and Senate in Florida with unanimous approval. Sixty percent approval is required in order for an amendment to receive ballot approval.

Specifically, the amendment pertains to veterans wounded as a direct result of combat injury. Since 2010, veterans have been eligible for this ad valorem tax discount as long as they were Florida residents upon entering the military. This measure was approved by voters at the polls by a margin of 78 to 22. Incidentally, the 2010 measure was also called Amendment 2.

The new amendment extends this benefit to all combat-disabled veterans in Florida, even if they were residents of other states when they entered the military. The new bill is very explicit in extending the rights beyond their original reach:

Every person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate and maintains thereon the permanent residence of the owner, or another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner, shall be exempt from taxation thereon.

The exemption only applies to homestead properties, meaning that the owner must have a deed and maintain permanent residence within the home. If approved, the amendment will take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The amendment is expected to pass, based on the overwhelming voter approval of the 2010 amendment.

The amendment will appear on the 2012 Florida General Election ballot in November.

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