OKEECHOBEE -- Can those who live in RVs qualify for homestead exemptions?
“The Okeechobee County Property Appraiser has requested an opinion from the Attorney General’s Office concerning matter relating to whether or not RVs parked anywhere in the county can serve as a permanent residence for the purpose of getting a homestead exemption,” County Attorney Wade Vose explained at the April 26 meeting of the Okeechobee County Commission.
He said Property Appraiser Mickey Bandi’s office is maintaining the position that under Okeechobee County code, there is code provision that specifically says an RV cannot constitute a permanent residence for the purpose of tax laws.
He said the Attorney General Office has asked if the county is joining in the request for this opinion, since the decision would impact the county’s collection of taxes.
“You have a county code provision that very clearly states residing in an RV cannot provide the basis of permanent residency to get a homestead exemption,” said Vose.
He said the problem apparently stems from a former property appraiser’s actions.
“I understand a prior property appraiser had granted homestead exemption to those individuals notwithstanding the ordinance provision,” said Vose.
“The only reason I know there are some now is that we had a Value Adjustment Board situation where somebody came," said Commissioner Kelly Owens. "He was upset that he didn’t have a homestead exemption when everybody else around him did."
The commissioners agreed to join in the request for an opinion from the Florida Attorney General’s Office.
In the state of Florida, for those who qualify for homestead exemption, a $25,000 exemption is applied to the first $50,000 of your property's assessed value if your property is your permanent residence and you owned the property on January 1 of the tax year. This exemption applies to all taxes, including school district taxes. An additional exemption of up to $25,000 will be applied if your property’s assessed value is between at least $50,000 and $75,000. This exemption is not applied to school district taxes.