Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Property appraiser Parrish wins homestead case against married couple with two homes

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Broward Property Appraiser Lori Parrish won a recent court battle in a case with some familiar circumstances: a couple claiming two Homestead exemptions, one in Broward, one in Palm.

There's a loophole for unwed couples, but if they are married, they are only entitled to one Homestead.

The state Constitution says, of Homestead exemptions, that "not more than one
exemption shall be allowed any individual or family unit or with respect to
any residential unit.”

But the state Department of Revenue, which sets the rules and regs for taxes, wrote this in the administrative code:
"A married woman and her husband may establish separate permanent residences without showing “impelling reasons” or “just ground” for doing so. If it is determined by the property
appraiser that separate permanent residences and separate “family units” have been established by the husband and wife, and they are otherwise qualified, each may be granted homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation under Article VII, Section 6, 1968 State Constitution.''

The underlying verdict was reached as the couple had an an intact marriage, as such, only one exemption can be given:

"The foregoing law and persuasive authority favor finding that a married couple constitutes a single family unit when the marriage is intact, as opposed to the couple being separated or estranged. A single family unit would thus exist where spouses (even though living in separate primary residences or even separate permanent residences) live together at different periods of time, support each other in some financial or emotional way, and/or present themselves as a married couple (as
opposed to estranged individuals who are just technically still married).''

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