Welcome to The Home Equity Theft Reporter, a blog dedicated to informing the consumer public and the legal profession about Home Equity Theft issues. This blog will consist of information describing the various forms of Home Equity Theft and links to news reports & other informational sources from throughout the country about the victims of Home Equity Theft and what government authorities and others are doing about it.
Sunday, April 02, 2017
Miami Property Tax Official Threatens Homeowners w/ Loss Of Homestead Tax Exemption, Monetary Penalties, Possible Fraud Charges For Renting Out Their Homes On Airbnb For Over 30 Days/Year
In Miami, Florida, the South Florida Business Journal reports:
Miami-Dade County’s property appraiser raised an argument against Airbnb last week that likely few in South Florida had heard before: Use of the platform can constitute tax fraud.
Property owners who receive Homestead Exemption and host on the home-sharing platform could lose their tax exemption and be subject to a penalty fee, states the advisory, issued Friday by county property appraiser Pedro Garcia.
In an interview with the Business Journal, Garcia explained that in Miami-Dade County Homestead Exemption caps annual property tax rates for primary residences at 3 percent, aiming to shield certain homeowners from rising taxes.
However, state statutes state the exemption no longer applies if the residence — even just one of its bedrooms — is rented out for more than 30 days in a year. The property owner is also subject to a penalty fee of 50 percent in back taxes with 15 percent interest tacked on.
“Homestead exemption is for people who live in that particular house … so they can pay a smaller amount of property taxes,” Garcia said. “But if they start renting … and if they go above the 30-day limit, they’re committing homestead fraud. You can make your own decisions, but be careful.”
About 6,800 properties in Miami-Dade County were available on the Airbnb platform in 2016. According to ads by the San Francisco-based company, 66 percent of Miami-Dade hosts use the money they make by renting out their homes to pay their rent or mortgage.
“When I see so much talk about Airbnb and ads from them to encourage people to use the service, it could be motivating people to make a mistake,” Garcia said.
Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit said the home-sharing platform, similar to homestead exemptions, “empower the middle-class” by providing an alternative income source for homeowners.
“Most places recognize a homestead exemption was established to let middle-income homeowners keep their homes,” Breit wrote in an email.
CBC News: Betrayal of Trust (A CBC investigation reveals how lawyers across Canada have misappropriated and mishandled clients money, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, or sometimes even charging vulnerable people top dollar for shoddy services)
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