The property appraiser is responsible for identifying, locating, and fairly valuing all property, both real and personal, within the county for tax purposes. The “market” value of real property is based on the current real estate market. Estimating the “market” value of your property means discovering the price most people would pay for your property in its current condition. What is important to remember is that the property appraiser does not create the value. People establish the value by buying and selling real estate in the market place. The property appraiser has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly. The property appraiser also:
- tracks ownership changes
- maintains maps of parcel boundaries
- keeps descriptions of buildings and property characteristics up to date
- accepts and approves applications from individuals eligible for exemptions and other forms of property tax relief
- and most importantly, analyzes trends in sales prices, construction costs, and rents to best estimate the value of all assessable property.
No. The property appraiser assesses all property in the county and is neither a taxing authority nor a tax collector. The property appraiser has nothing to do with the amount of taxes levied or collected. Three separate government entities each having unique and distinct roles in producing your November tax bill. First, the property appraiser annually appraises all property in your county at the market value as of January 1. Next, each taxing authority within the county sets their own millage rate based on the amount of tax dollars necessary to fund their annual budget. Finally, the tax collector takes the amount of taxes due in order to bill and collect all taxes levied within the county.
At least once every five years, the property appraiser or field evaluator will visit and inspect each property. However, individual property values may be adjusted between visits in light of sales activity or other factors affecting real estate values in your neighborhood. Sales of similar properties are strong indicators of value in the real estate market.
To estimate the value of a property, the property appraiser must identify the properties that have sold, their sale prices and the terms and conditions of each sale. Each transaction must be studied to make sure that it is an arms-length transaction.
An arm’s length transaction is a sale involving a willing seller and a willing buyer without any undue pressure or special incentives (such as family relationships). An arm’s length transaction also means that the property was on the market for neither an excessive nor short period of time.
Once this is determined, the property appraiser can base the value of a property on sales of comparable properties. That is why property appraisers maintain an accurate database of real estate information and this is the sale comparison approach to value.
The Florida Constitution has been amended effective January 1, 1995 to limit any annual increase in the assessed value of residential property with a homestead exemption to 3 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. This limitation does not include any change, addition, or improvement to a homestead (excluding normal maintenance or substantially equivalent replacement). During subsequent years, any improvements will fall under the Constitutional limitation.
Two other methods are used to appraise property – the cost approach and the income approach. The cost approach is based on how much it would cost today to build an almost identical structure on the parcel. If your property is not new, the appraiser must also determine how much the building has lost value over time. The appraiser must also determine the value of the land itself – without buildings or any improvements. The income approach (usually performed on commercial property) requires a study of how much revenue your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, an office building and so on. The appraiser must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return or profit most people would expect on the type of property you own.
Florida Law requires that the just value of all property be determined each year. The Supreme Court of Florida has declared “just value” to be legally synonymous to “full cash value” and “fair market value.” The fair market value of your property is the amount for which it could sell on the open market. The property appraiser analyzes these market transactions annually to determine fair market value as of January 1.
Each August, the property appraiser sends a Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice to all property owners as required by law. This notice is very important — look for it in the mail! You’ll recognize it by prominent lettering, “DO NOT PAY – This is not a bill.” The TRIM notice tells you the taxable value of your property. Taxable value is the just value less any exemptions. The TRIM notice also gives you information on proposed millage rates and taxes as estimated by your community taxing authorities. It also tells you when and where these authorities will hold public meetings to discuss tentative budgets to set your millage tax rates. The Bay County Tax Collector will send each taxpayer a bill on November 1 of each year.
An agricultural classification is the designation of land by the property appraiser, pursuant to F.S. 193.461, in which the assessment is based on agricultural use value.
To qualify for Agricultural classification, a return must be filed with the property appraiser between January 1 and March 1 of the tax year. Only lands which are used for bona fide agricultural purposes shall be classified agricultural.
”Bona fide agricultural purposes” means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land. The property appraiser, prior to classifying such lands, may require the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s representative to furnish such information as may reasonably be required to establish such lands are actually used for a bona fide agricultural purpose.
The property appraiser may deny agricultural classification to the following lands:
- Lands which are not being used for or diverted from agricultural use;
- Land that has been zoned non-agricultural at the request of the owner;
- Land on which a subdivision plat is recorded;
- Land which is purchased for a price three or more times the agricultural appraisal placed on the land.
If you think the taxable value shown on your TRIM Notice is not correct, you are encouraged to contact your property appraiser’s office to speak with an appraiser. The appraiser can show you the information used to determine your property’s value.
See the Property Tax Bill of Rights for information on your property tax rights and the obligations of property appraisers, tax collectors, local governing boards and the Department of Revenue in property tax matters.
No. you must own the property on which you make an application. If you own a mobile home, but not the land on which it sits, you would not qualify for the homestead exemption. The mobile home would not be assessed on the tax roll. You would be required to purchase an annual mobile home tag through the Tax Collector’s office.
You could then qualify for homestead exemption. Even if you did not qualify for homestead exemption, you are required by Florida Statutes to purchase real property (RP) stickers for the mobile home. The mobile home would then be assessed as part of the real estate on the tax rolls.
Each applicant will have to fill out an application (form DR-501T) in the office of the property appraiser of the county in which their new home is located. Required information will include the following: the date which the previous homestead was sold or no longer used as a homestead, the address and parcel identification number of the previous homestead, a list of all other owners listed on the tax roll, an affirmative statement that none of the previous owners remained in the homestead and continued to receive a homestead exemption, and a sworn statement attesting to his or her entitlement to the assessment difference transfer. See the frequently asked questions on portability at https://floridarevenue.com/property/Documents/pt112.pdf.
If you already have a homestead exemption on your property, you don’t have to do anything, the property appraiser will automatically apply the exemption to your assessed value. If you don’t have a homestead exemption on your property, you must complete and submit Form DR-501 to your county property appraiser by March 1 of the tax year.
Owners of tangible personal property must file a return this year as always. The first $25,000 in assessed value is exempt from taxes and the property appraiser will apply the exemption to your assessed value. If the assessed value of the property is $25,000 or less, you do not have to file a return in future years until that value exceeds $25,000. There are penalties involved if the value exceeds $25,000 and you do not file. See the frequently asked questions on the $25,000 tangible personal property exemption at https://floridarevenue.com/faq/pages/faqsearch.aspx?keywords=&cat=7&subcat=74
You don’t need to do anything to receive this assessment increase limitation. The property appraiser will assess your property every year as of January 1 and apply the 10% assessment increase limitation to eligible non-homestead property that did not change ownership or control in the previous calendar year. If a non-homestead property changes ownership or control and a deed is not recorded with county clerk of court, the new owner is required to file a Form DR-430 Change of Ownership or Control with the property appraiser in the county where the property is located within 60 days of the change of ownership or control. When a non-homestead property changes ownership or control, the current 10% assessment increase limitation is removed from the property, the property is assessed at just value, and a new 10% assessment increase limitation is put in place as of the January 1 in the year following the change of ownership or control.
If I buy a property, which currently has a homestead exemption, do I get the benefit of that exemption for the remainder of the year?
If the seller had homestead exemption, the buyer may have the advantage of the seller’s homestead exemption for the remainder of the sale year. However, the ”carried over” homestead exemption will be removed as of December 31st of the sale year. The new owner must apply by the deadline for homestead exemption in their name for the following year. For example, if you purchase a homesteaded home in June of 2020, you will get the benefit of the previous owner’s homestead exemption until December 31, 2020. For 2021, you must file an original homestead exemption application by March 2, 2021.
Real property shall be assessed at full market value (just value) as of January 1 of the year in which the property first receives the homestead exemption. The following year the property is reassessed and any changes from the prior year’s assessed value is not to exceed the lesser of 3% of that prior year assessed value or the Consumer Price Index percentage change, (except capital improvements, additions, or improvements). For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2020, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2021. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.
New construction or additions shall be assessed at full market value as of the first January 1 after the changes are substantially completed. In these circumstances, it is possible that the assessed value may exceed the amendment limitations. However; after the first year that the changes are assessed at full market value, they are also subject to the amendment limitations. : For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2020, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2021. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.
If you currently have a homestead exemption and purchased a new home in the same county, you must come into the office to do a transfer. A deed to the new property and a former tax bill or homestead card from the old property will be required. Additional documents will be required if the named property owners differ from one property’s title to the other. Please call for details for your specific case.
Citizenship is not a requirement to file for homestead exemption. However, an applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must prove that they have permanent residency status when they apply. Please bring your INS issued permanent residency photo ID card when filing a homestead application.
The applicant must furnish this office with a copy of the trust agreement. Florida law specifies those situations under which the resident may obtain homestead exemption. The Florida Constitution requires that the homestead claimant have legal title or beneficial title in equity to the property.
Amendment 10 “Save Our Homes” Value Cap
Section 193.155(1) of the Florida Statutes was enacted to implement an amendment to the state constitution to limit annual increases in property value assessments on real property qualifying for and receiving homestead exemption.
Real property shall be assessed at full market value (just value) as of January 1 of the year in which the property first receives the homestead exemption. The following year the property is reassessed and any changes from the prior year’s assessed value is not to exceed the lesser of 3% of that prior year assessed value or the Consumer Price Index percentage change, (except capital improvements, additions or improvements). For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2010, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2011. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.
New construction or additions shall be assessed at full market value as of the first January 1 after the changes are substantially completed. In these circumstances, it is possible that the assessed value may exceed the amendment limitations. However; after the first year that the changes are assessed at full market value, they are also subject to the amendment limitations. : For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2006, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2007. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.
Residences without homestead, non-residential property, vacant land, tangible personal property, commercial property, and agricultural property are not eligible for the amendment limitation.
Once the property has been conveyed to the new owner (and the homestead exemption is interrupted), it is raised to full market value (just value) January 1 of the following year. The new owner must qualify and apply to receive homestead exemption. Even if the property received a homestead exemption under the previous owner, the limitation, just like the exemption, expires January 1 of the year following a change of ownership.
How long has Greenbelt been available; and, is it available in every Florida county? Why can't I find any Greenbelt literature?
It has been available Statewide since the implementing statutes were adopted in 1959; but, the Greenbelt name won’t be found anywhere in the statutes. Article VII, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution provides for classification and assessment of agricultural property based on use. Florida Statutes 193.441, 193.451, and 193.461 contain the provisions for Agricultural Classification (Greenbelt) and assessments, defining any assessment at less than the full value as a Classified Use assessment.
It is not an exemption, but is an assessment based on land use. It provides far greater relief from tax liability than most exemptions. For some agricultural land uses, the reduction in taxes for Greenbelt Classification versus market value may exceed 90%!
The appraisal is based on what appraisers statewide call an “income approach,” and has nothing to do with the market value of the property. The actual agricultural use of the land and the soil fertility or capability are determined, such as Cropland and Timber Class. These determinations have associated site indexes. The higher the site index the faster trees grow. Site indexes have associated yield factors. A higher site index has a higher yield factor and when that factor is multiplied by the price-per-cord per-acre the gross income per-acre is determined. The associated cost per-acre is then subtracted resulting in the net income per-acre. The net income is then divided by an appropriate cap rate resulting in the per-acre value. Example: A parcel in Bay County with the agricultural classification that has a net income per acre of $19, when a 10% cap rate is applied will yield an approximate taxable value of $190 per acre. At the County millage rate of $12 per $1000, the taxes per-acre would be $2.28.
The average tax collected per acre in Bay County was higher than most of 13 NW Florida counties recently surveyed. The survey indicated that Bay County properties assigned an agricultural classification have been both properly classified and valued in accordance with DOR mandated guidelines.
The Greenbelt Classification allows our farmers and agri-business to continue in the business of growing agricultural products, including affordable food for our tables and renewable resource fiber for clothing, paper, construction, and bio-energy. Agricultural land provides immense environmental benefits such as open spaces, clean water, clean air, wildlife, recreation, and shields land from development. On average 77% of neighboring counties land is classified as agricultural; 61% of Bay County’s land is classified as agricultural. Example: A parcel with a Bay County millage rate of $12 per $1,000 that has the Greenbelt agricultural use with a $19 per acre net income and a $190 per-acre assessment pays $2.28 in taxes per acre vs. $30 per acre for the same parcel with a market value of $2500 per-acre and a millage rate of $12. With a tax liability that far exceeds net income an agriculturally-related business cannot be maintained.