Sunday, March 25, 2007

Expensive Homes Pay Less Property Taxes

The Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel found that under the current property tax and tax relief proposal back by Marco Rubio have one thing in common. The wealthy get bigger tax breaks.

A South Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis of property records shows owners of palatial estates and waterfront mansions pay taxes on less than half of their home value. However, the owners of the most modest homes and condos are taxed on two-thirds of their home value.

Former football star Dan Marino, auto dealer Rick Case and JM Family Enterprises founder Jim Moran are among the biggest beneficiaries. Others include Swap Shop owner Preston Henn, local real estate investor M. Austin Forman and former Philadelphia 76ers basketball team owner Harold Katz.

According to property appraiser Joe Zdanowicz, the reason for the difference is so expensive homes can increase in value.

"If I have a single-family property off West Davie Boulevard in a nice neighborhood, it may be nice but the appreciation is not going to be as high as a property on the Intracoastal Waterway," Zdanowicz said.

Attorney Bob Montgomery is candid enough to know he is getting a good deal on his Palm Beach County home.

Celebrities such as radio personality Rush Limbaugh, golfer Jack Nicklaus and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer are among those with the biggest savings.

"I love it, obviously," said attorney Bob Montgomery, who saves $265,000 in annual taxes on his $24 million Palm Beach mansion. He still pays $173,000 in property taxes per year.

"I pay it with a sigh of a relief and a thanks to the heavens," Montgomery added.

The Orlando Sentinel analysis found that the biggest beneficiaries of of the Florida House rollbacks would be Disney, the Marriott and Progress Energy. A homeowner whose property is appraised at $300,000 would receive a $400 tax savings.

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