Frequently Asked Questions


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1. What is Portability?

In 2008, the voters of Florida established a mechanism which allows homeowners to "port" or transfer all or part of the homestead assessment difference they have gained since they established their homestead exemption. Save our Homes provided protection to homeowners from drastic fluctuations in the market by limiting the increase in the Assessed Value to 3% or the CPI, whichever is less. However, if the homeowner purchased a new home, this capped savings was lost. Amendment 1 solved this problem by allowing the transfer of this Save Our Homes benefit to another property purchased.

If you are eligible, portability allows most Florida homestead owners to transfer their SOH benefit from their old homestead to a new homestead, lowering the tax assessment and, consequently, the taxes for the new homestead.

2. How do I "qualify" for portability?

In order to qualify for portability in a given tax year, the homeowner must have received a homestead exemption on their previous homestead in one of the last two years.

3. How much of my Port Amount can I transfer?

Port is limited to a person's ownership share and cannot exceed $500,000.

If your new home's market value is higher than your old home's market value, you may transfer the entire "Save our Homes" benefit (difference between the market and assessed values of your old home) to your new home up to $500,000. This amount would be subtracted from the market value of your new home to create a new assessed value.

If your new home's market value is lower than your old home, you may transfer the benefit as a percentage (the difference as a percentage of the old market value) and apply that to your new home's market value.

4. How long do I have to apply for Portability?

You have up to two years to transfer the previous assessment difference to a new homesteaded property.

  • To transfer the SOH benefit, you must establish a homestead exemption for the new home within two years of January 1 of the year you abandoned the old homestead (not two years after the sale). For example: the previous homestead exemption is abandoned March 2015, the applicant must establish the new homestead exemption by January 1 of 2017.
  • If the applicant is granted a homestead exemption, but does not apply for portability within two consecutive years, he/she may apply at a future date. The assessment difference (Save Our Homes Cap Savings), from the year in which the homestead exemption was abandoned, will be applied to the assessed value of the new homesteaded property in the year that the portability is first approved. However, property taxes will not be subject to refunds for previous years (Section 193.155 (8)(k), Florida Statues).

5. How do I get my portability?

You must file form DR- 501T for the Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference (AKA Portability) with your homestead application. The deadline to file these forms is March 1.

6. What happens after I apply?

After receiving your application for portability, we will send it to the Property Appraiser in the county of your previous homestead if other than Monroe County. Then, your previous Property Appraiser will issue a "Certificate of Portability" (DR-501R) which will be mailed back to us. We then calculate your portability benefit and apply it to your new homesteaded property.

7. How will I know if I qualified for Portability?

If you do not qualify based on the DR-501R we receive from your previous Property Appraiser, we will notify you by July 1st of the applicable tax year. No formal notice is mailed if you qualify until the TRIM notice which will be sent to you in August.

8. Do I have to sell my property before I can qualify for Portability?

No. However, all the recipients of the homestead exemption must abandon the previous homestead exemption before the assessment limit is ported.

9. Do I have to purchase a new property to get the portability benefit?

No, if you already own another property (2nd home, beach house, etc.) you can abandon the homestead from the old property and apply for homestead and the portability benefit on the new property.

10. If I had homestead exemption with other persons at my previous property can I Port my assessment difference?

Yes. However, all recipients of the homestead exemption of the previous property must abandon the previous homestead before the assessment limitation can be ported and the portability is distributed according to the ownership share of the previous property.

11. What happens when two people who previously owned separate homestead properties move in together and establish a new homestead?

If two people who each have their own homestead decide to acquire a new homestead together, the Property Appraiser will use whichever prior homestead would result in the highest cap differential, and thus the highest tax savings. However, once again, the cap differential may not exceed $500,000.

12. What happens when joint owners abandon homestead property and acquire new, separate homestead properties?

The cap differential they are allowed to port is calculated as described in the above situation. However, the cap differential is then divided by either the number of owners of the prior homestead or, in the case of property owned as tenants in common, by each owner's proportionate interest in the prior homestead.

For example, if two joint owners would be allowed to port a $100,000 cap differential to the same new residence, if they move to separate new residences, they would each be permitted to port $50,000.

13. What happens if I get divorced?

Both husband and wife must abandon the previous homestead before the assessment limitation can be ported. Also, Florida law allows a husband and wife to assign their port differences over to each other using form DR-501TS

14. Can I transfer my portability savings outside of Monroe County?

Yes, you can port to any county within the state of Florida (same rules of upsize, downsize, split, and combine apply).

15. Can I "port" a savings from another state?

No, portability applies only if you had a State of Florida homestead exemption within the past 2 years.

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