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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aug. 15, 2017 – Florida Realtors, the state’s largest professional trade association, officially kicked off its campaign to pass Amendment 2, which gives voters the chance to make a 10 percent cap on annual non-homestead property tax increases permanent. It will appear on the 2018 general election ballot.

Prior to the 10 percent cap, if the value of a business owner’s property increased significantly compared to the previous year, they could see their property tax bill skyrocket. Owners of investment homes also faced steep property tax hikes, which could be passed along to tenants in the form of higher rents.

“Amendment 2 really is good for everybody because if the non-homestead tax cap expires in 2019, every Floridian will be negatively impacted in some way,” says Florida Realtors President Maria Wells. “Whether it’s a business having to increase the cost of their goods and services or tenants having their rent go up a significant amount, communities across the state will suffer.”

Florida Realtors, along with its coalition partners, is planning a comprehensive, direct-to-voter campaign over the next 14 months. The campaign theme, “Everybody is for Amendment 2, because Amendment 2 is for Everybody” signifies the importance the measure holds for every citizen of the state.

“In the current age of partisanship, it’s often difficult to find an issue that people with different viewpoints can agree on, but with Amendment 2 we did just that,” says Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors. “The Florida Senate passed it unanimously, and the House was right behind them with 97 percent voting in favor of the referendum. That level of bipartisanship speaks volumes for the widespread benefits Amendment 2 offers.”

http://everybodyisfor2.com/map/

The 10 percent cap on non-homestead properties was part of the Save Our Homes portability constitutional amendment voters approved in 2008. The 10 percent cap portion of the amendment sunsets on Jan. 1, 2019.

The kick-off includes the launch of the campaign’s website, www.EverybodyIsFor2.com, which features a video outlining the benefits of the amendment.

Amendment 2 Will Impact Properties All Across Florida

Estimated Properties Affected: 5,074,149, See how your area would be affected!

© 2017 Florida Realtors

Pinellas International Council 6th Annual Global Symposium-Thank you to David Bennett CEO of PRO, John-Paul Mario Chair of the PRO Business Affiliates, Susan Inez-Poskus CPA from Roberge Poskus, Maria Grulich from Florida Realtors, Bill Risser, VP of Digital Strategy from Fidelity National Title, Don Gonzalez Attorney, Carlos Fuentes NAR instructor, the nearly 100 attendees and all of the PRO Affiliates who sponsored this informative event. Thank you all for making this such great day!!

Don’t get left out of this important market! Did you know that 22% of all International buyers in the USA bought property in Florida? International buyers are a significant component of the Florida real estate market. 74% purchase with cash & spend an average of $174, 624 for their Florida-based home. According to National Association of Realtors, between April 2015 & March 2016, two out of three Florida Realtors worked with International buyers last year

Please join us for this very informative day. Excellent speakers & 3 hours of CE credit too!

NOW IS THE TIME to get involved with International Real Estate. Attend our Pinellas International Council’s 6th Annual Global Symposium and learn the proper way to work with buyers & sellers from around the world ! Register here: http://www.calendarwiz.com/calendars/popup.php?op=view&id=108868777&crd=pro

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PROFarm Neighborhood Advocates
Penny for Pinellas (January 2017)


Infrastructure is critical to our economic growth, and obviously economic growth impacts the value of your home. Taxes, namely property taxes, also impact real estate. For the last thirty years Pinellas County has levied a 1 cent sales tax to pay for roads, police and fire stations, bridges, etc. In November 2017 voters will decide if the penny tax will continue.

In 1989, 1997, and 2007 Pinellas County citizens voted to increase their sales tax by 1 cent to fund needed infrastructure projects. The goal was to make long-term investments in our future without putting the burden completely on property owners. There were needs across the county and elected leaders were facing the prospect of raising property taxes to fill the funding void. Instead, they put it to the voters for a 1 cent tax, and this Fall they will have the option to re-authorize that tax again.

Penny for Pinellas FAQs:

  • Is the tax permanent? No. As the voters have done three times prior, this vote would authorize the Penny for ten more years, specifically the fiscal years of 2020-2030. If passed in the Fall, voters would have the opportunity to re-authorize again in 2027.

 

  • Who gets the money? The county collects the funds and keeps some for its own infrastructure projects. The majority of the money is spread out to the 24 cities in Pinellas County for various needs. They do have to submit their list of projects prior to the vote, and that list is public. Voters will be able to decide if the projects are worthy of the increased tax.

 

  • What happens if the re-authorization fails? A wide range of projects deemed necessary by many while either not be funded, or elected officials could decide to increase property taxes.

 

  • Where could I find more information about the Penny? The county has set up a website with lots of useful information including list of projects, and the history of Penny for Pinellas. It is www.pinellascounty.org/penny/

This issue has the potential to affect you and our local economy, so I thought that you might be interested. If you have questions regarding this or any real estate needs, please feel free to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – 2016 – The runaway winner in the primary election was at the end of the ballot, as voters in Florida overwhelmingly approved a tax break to encourage businesses to go solar.

The amendment, which will become part of the Florida Constitution, exempts solar and other renewable energy devices on business and industrial property from property taxes for 20 years. The same tax break already exists for residential property owners.

The amendment also exempts renewable energy devices from Florida’s tangible personal property tax.

Amendment 4, the only ballot question in Tuesday’s primary, won more than 70 percent of the vote, according to early returns by the Florida Division of Elections.

Backers of Amendment 4 were all along the political spectrum, including the pro-environment Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Nature Conservancy and Florida Conservation Voters, and the business-backed Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Retail Federation and Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Business groups like tax relief, and environmental groups hope it will now encourage more talk in the conservative state Capitol about climate change and the need to cut dependency on fossil fuels.

“With all of this sunshine, why are we importing so much fossil fuel to power our state?” asked Pete Wilking of A1A Solar in Jacksonville.

“Stop sea levels from rising! Vote Yes on 4!” tweeted an advocacy group, Women4Solar.

The opposition was led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the TV and radio talk show host and president of the National Action Network (NAN), and Bishop Victor Curry of Miami, NAN’s southeast regional director, who said they opposed “unnecessary and unjust tax breaks for corporations.”

It was one of the most cost-effective referendum campaigns in Florida history, as supporters raised less than $150,000.

Lacking the money for a TV ad campaign, supporters built support networks on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #Yeson4) to mobilize voters.

Voters said yes to solar, even if they did not always fully understand it.

The vote of the people was just one step, however. The Legislature, which put Amendment 4 on the ballot, must pass a bill in the next session in 2017 carrying out the will of the voters.

At the same time, a much more potent political battle over solar will play out on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

Known as Amendment 1, the ballot question is an effort by utility companies that would prohibit the sale of solar energy to individual customers and, critics say, would add new regulatory barriers to solar expansion in Florida.

Supporters, calling themselves Consumers for Smart Solar, have raised $19.1 million so far.

Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, TECO Energy and Duke Energy are among Amendment 1’s biggest backers and environmental groups are working to defeat it.

Utilities prevailed on state lawmakers to put Amendment 4 on the primary ballot to avoid confusing voters about their higher priority, Amendment 1.

Susan Glickman of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said moving Amendment 4 to a low-turnout primary was a blessing in disguise, as it turned out.

“It’s a little bit easier because it’s a more informed electorate,” Glickman said.

Copyright © 2016 Miami Herald, Steve Bousquet. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Miami Herald writer Alex Daugherty contributed to this report.

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Neighborhood Advocates Initiative Pinellas Realtor Organization

Here’s an issue for homeowners in Florida to watch.

Education is absolutely critical to our economic growth, and obviously economic growth impacts the value of your home. But, our responsibility goes beyond our property values to our core values. By investing in our schools we are investing in our children and their development.

In 2004 Pinellas County citizens voted to increase their property taxes by a half mill to fund in-classroom spending for public schools. The goal was to make an investment in our children, and therefore a long-term investment in our community. In 2008 and 2012, our community continued this commitment by reauthorizing the half mill for education. Pinellas County voters will have the option to re-authorize once again this fall.

Here’s what the funding goes to:

  • Teacher pay: Each teacher receives an additional stipend that makes their annual pay more competitive with surrounding school districts. Pinellas County Schools is able to attract and recruit a higher caliber of teacher because of this incentive.
  • Well-rounded Curriculum: With tight budgets and restrictions from Tallahassee and D.C., the arts, music, summer programs, state of the art technology, etc. have been cut from most school district budgets. In Pinellas County, we have these programs and classes to offer students because of the half mill increase, giving our children a more well-rounded education.
  • In-classroom spending: Every penny of the millage rate goes to in-classroom spending, avoiding the sometimes expensive administrative bureaucracy of government. Furthermore, there is an independent citizen oversight committee to make sure they funds are being spent as intended, and wisely.

Because this issue has the potential to affect you and our local economy, I thought that you might want to know about it. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com . Thank you so much. Take care.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

 

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house tax form 300x195 Get to Know the Capital Gains Tax Exemption

Bill and Mary. A married couple, they sold their primary residence last year and made a profit. The profit they made on their home sale is subject to a federal capital gains tax—enter the capital gains tax exemption.

The profits Bill and Mary earned on the sale of their home are not taxed because they qualified for a capital gains tax exemption.

Simply put, the capital gains tax is the tax you pay on the profit from selling your home.

Here are some other facts about capital gains taxes:
◾With the home-sale exemption you can exclude up to $500,000 of any profits from your capital gains taxes as a married couple and up to $250,000 as an individual.
◾You can add capital improvements (money spent on improving the value of your home) to the cost basis of your home. This, in turn, lowers the total profit you pay taxes on.
◾In order to take the home-sale exemption from your capital gains taxes, the property you’re selling must be your principal residence.
◾There is no limit to the number of times you take the home-sale exemption from your capital gains taxes.

These are only a few things to know about the capital gains tax exemption and selling your home.

Be sure to get all the details about how capital gains affects you. Go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p523.pdf

Late last night the U.S. House of Representatives voted 257-167 to pass the U.S. Senate’s plan to avert the ‘fiscal cliff.’ President Obama has said he will sign the bill into law. Congress agreed that current tax rates will stay the same for households that make less than $450,000 annually, and $400,000 annually for individual filers. This coupled with the fact that there will be no change to capital gains taxes, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) believes there will be no change financially for the vast majority of home buyers and sellers.

Here are few key issues that affect REALTORS®, home buyers and sellers.

  1. Congress excluded a capital gains tax increase for sale of a principle residence of up to $500,000 ($250,000 for individuals). The tax rate on capital gains would also remain the same, at 15 percent, for most households, but for those earning above the $400,000-$450,000 threshold, the rate would rise to 20 percent.
  2.  The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was extended. This provides relief to troubled borrowers when some portion of mortgage debt is forgiven. This averts the crisis many short sales were facing with the New Year. The mortgage cancellation relief extension is for one year.
  3. Congress extended deductions for mortgage insurance premiums, state property taxes, and local property taxes. The limitation is that he write-off is available only to borrowers who have an adjusted gross income below $110,000.
  4. The mortgage interest deduction was left untouched, continuing tax relief for homeowners.
  5. Tax credits for energy-efficiency home improvements. This provides tax credits of $200 to $500 for owners who install energy-efficient windows, insulation and other upgrades designed to cut energy consumption in 2012 and 2013.
  6. Tax credits for new energy-efficient new houses. This allows builders and contractors to claim a $2,000 tax credit on new homes constructed in 2012 and 2013 that meet federally specified energy-conservation standards. The bill also extends credits for U.S.-based manufacturers of energy-efficient refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers. As with other energy-related tax provisions, this had expired last year and will now be continued through 2013.

Not all aspects of the fiscal cliff have been dealt with, and come February Congress will be required to re-engage the issue to deal with the national debt ceiling and required federal budget cuts.

All in all, it’s not too bad.

Real Estate Tax Talk   By Stephen Fishman Inman News®

Over the  past several years, millions of homeowners have had billions of dollars in  mortgage debt forgiven, either through foreclosure, refinancing or short sales.  It’s important for real estate professionals and homeowners to understand that  mortgage debt forgiveness has significant tax consequences.

Here are 10  things the Internal Revenue Service says you should know about mortgage debt  forgiveness:

1.  Normally, when a lender forgives a debt — that is, relieves the borrower from  having to pay it back — the amount of the debt is taxable income to the  borrower. Thus, a homeowner who had $100,000 in mortgage debt forgiven through  a short sale would have to pay income tax on that $100,000, as an example.

Fortunately,  under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, you may be able to  exclude from your taxable income up to $2 million of debt forgiven on your  principal residence from 2007 through 2012. This means you don’t have to pay  income tax on the forgiven debt.

2. The  limit is $1 million for a married person filing a separate return.

3. You may  exclude from your taxable income debt reduced through mortgage restructuring,  as well as mortgage debt forgiven in a foreclosure.

4. To  qualify, the debt must have been used to buy, build or substantially improve  your principal residence and be secured by that residence.

5. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act applies to home improvement  mortgages you take out to substantially improve your principal residence — that  is, they also qualify for the exclusion.

6. Second  or third mortgages you used for purposes other than home improvement — for  example, to pay off credit card debt — do not qualify for the exclusion.

7. If you  qualify, claim the special exclusion by filling out Form 982: Reduction of  Tax Attributes Due to Discharge of Indebtedness ,  and attach it to your federal income tax return for the tax year in which the  debt was forgiven.

8. Debt  forgiven on second homes, rental property, business property, credit cards or  car loans does not qualify for the tax-relief provision. In some cases,  however, other tax-relief provisions — such as bankruptcy — may be  applicable. IRS Form 982 provides more details about these provisions.

9. If your  debt is reduced or eliminated, you normally will receive a year-end statement,  Form 1099-C: Cancellation of Debt, from your lender. By law, this form must  show the amount of debt forgiven and the fair market value of any property  foreclosed.

10. Examine  the Form 1099-C carefully. Notify the lender immediately if any of the  information shown is incorrect. You should pay particular attention to the  amount of debt forgiven in Box 2  as well as the value listed for your home in Box    7.

The IRS has  created a highly useful Interactive Tax Assistant on its website that you can use to  determine if your canceled debt is taxable. The tax assistant tool takes you  through a series of questions and provides you with responses to tax law  questions.

For more  information about the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, see IRS  Publication 4681: Canceled Debts, Foreclosures, Repossessions and Abandonments.  You can get it from the IRS website at irs.gov.

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including “Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors,  Freelancers and Consultants,” “Deduct  It,” “Working as an Independent Contractor,” and  “Working with Independent Contractors.” He  welcomes your questions for this weekly column

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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