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Calculator for homeowners
The property appraiser's Web site helps people figure out which homestead exemption to take.
By DAVID DECAMP, Times Staff Writer
Published August 21, 2007
If you're a Pasco County homeowner wondering how a proposed "super" homestead exemption affects you, some crucial answers became available Monday.
The Property Appraiser's Office launched a calculator on its Web site. It allows you to figure whether you would do better under the super exemption or the existing Save Our Homes protection.
If voters approve the super exemption in January, owners of homesteaded property will be given a choice. Accept an exemption of up to $195,000 or keep their existing $25,000 exemption and the Save Our Homes benefit, which caps tax increases to 3 percent a year.
It's a one-time option.
Making the wrong choice could cost you a bundle.
That's why using the calculator is so important.
It allows you to adjust variables, such as the annual rate of increase of inflation and property values.
According to Property Appraiser Mike Wells, your decision comes down to how long you plan to stay in your home. The longer you stay, the more likely you will be better off keeping Save Our Homes.
"Eventually, regardless of circumstances, if a person keeps the current system, they're going to benefit," Wells said.
People with visions of living in their homes for several decades will find changing to the super exemption will be more costly at some point as property values rise, Wells said. People with only short-term plans may do better giving up Save Our Homes.
A longtime homeowner of a $360,000 house could see the savings dry up in several years if the super exemption is taken. But the buyer of a $225,000 house last year could take the super exemption and see savings last a decade or more.
"It's my opinion that the decision that homeowners have to make here is how long they plan on living in their house," Wells said.