Florida is one of a handful of US states that does not charge an income tax. Local governments however do receive revenue from property taxes that are charged each year to property owners throughout the state. Commercial and residential property owners may file property tax appeals if they disagree with the amount that they are assessed by their local counties.
Property tax liability is based on the ad valorem, “just value” or market value of properties as assessed by a local appraiser.
Increases in home or business property value are capped at 3% of the previous year’s assessment. The assessment may also use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as opposed to property value increase to determine the tax liability of any particular property, whichever is less.
Taxes are based on a matrix of “millage rates” which are set by county and city governments throughout the state. The word millage is used to refer to the units in which property tax is measured, mills. 10 mills is equal to 1%. Counties, cities and school districts are permitted by state statute to levy taxes at up to 10 mills each. The total millage rate is multiplied by the value of the property to determine the liability amount in dollars.
Property Tax Exemptions
Florida provides a number of property tax exemptions that can significantly reduce property tax bills for those who qualify. These exemptions include the Homestead exemption on the first $50,000 of a house’s value. Exemptions also apply to homeowners over age 65 as well as in the case of disabled or blind homeowners.
Widows and widowers are entitled to a $500 exemption with caveats that they have not remarried and were not divorced already prior to the spouses death. Veterans may be able to qualify for four different types of exemptions.
Florida Homeowners: What Property Tax Means to You
In the state of Florida, counties are responsible for administering property tax. County property appraisers determine the property’s value as of January 1st of the tax year using nationally recognized assessment methods. Property tax assessments are sent in July or August to property owners in the form of a TRIM (“Truth in Millage”) notice. If you disagree with the ad valorem rate on your TRIM notice, it can be appealed within a limited time frame, usually by mid-September.
Owners of Business Property in Florida: What Property Tax Means to You
Commercial property tax is an annual tax rate that is based on the value of a given commercial real estate property. In the state of Florida, counties are responsible for administering property tax. County property appraisers determine the property’s value as of January 1st of the tax year using nationally recognized assessment methods. The 2019 Florida Statutes follow eight main factors that all property appraisers must consider in serving a “just” valuation. These eight factors include considerations such as the present cash value of the property, the location of said property, the property’s condition, the net proceeds of the sale of the property and other information that impacts a property’s value. Like residential property tax, commercial property tax assessments are sent in July or August to property owners in the form of a TRIM (“Truth in Millage”) notice.
Generally, the various exemptions that apply to residential property taxes do not apply to commercial properties. However, TRIM notices can be appealed to reduce both commercial and residential property tax liability. As with residential property tax, appeals must be made within a limited time frame, usually by mid-September. Exact dates vary by Florida county.
Appealing Property Taxes
If a property owner disagrees with the commercial or residential property tax that they assessed on their TRIM notice, then they have the right to make an appeal. This can be done through the following ways: discussing the assessment with the property appraiser’s office through an informal conference, filing a petition with the county value adjustment board, or filing a lawsuit in court.
Holding an informal conference with the property appraiser is sometimes the first step in the commercial property tax appeals process. By holding an informal conference, both parties may be able to settle the issue without needing a hearing or the involvement of the court. Property owners will bring any documentation they have that supports a change in the commercial property tax assessment. Property owners can also use the conference to ask the property appraiser to present facts that support their assessment of the property in order to discuss and resolve points of disagreement.
“If property owners disagree with the commercial property tax that they assessed on their TRIM notice, then they have the right to make an appeal.”
Another common way to appeal the process is by filing a petition with the value adjustment board of the relevant county. The purpose of the value adjustment board is to hear appeals regarding appraisals, including property value assessments. Property owners or their legal representatives will file petitions with the value adjustment board clerk in the county where the property is located. After filing the petition, property owners will receive a notice detailing information about the official hearing. Both the property owner and property appraiser will have an opportunity to present evidence at the hearing. The clerk will then notify both parties of the value adjustment board’s final decision. The decision notice will explain whether the board made any changes, the information the board considered and the legal basis for the decision. Being represented by a local Florida real estate attorney with extensive experience in property tax appeals is highly recommended.
If a property owner does not agree with the value adjustment board’s decision, they can file a lawsuit in circuit court. Property owners can also file a lawsuit without having met with the property appraiser or filing a petition with the value adjustment board, but typically circuit court is a last resort. The lawsuit must be filed within sixty days of the date of the value adjustment board’s decision or the property appraiser’s certification of the tax roll. In such cases, the county will be represented by lawyers and Florida property owners should beware of attempting to “go it alone”. If you are assessed for more commercial property tax than you should rightfully pay, make sure you are represented by a local Florida real estate attorney with extensive experience in property tax appeals.
Call South Florida Law
Are you a residential or commercial property owner who believes your property has been overvalued? Exercise your right to appeal your TRIM notice. Reach out to South Florida Law at (945) 900-8885 or simply upload your TRIM notice and fill out our Property Tax Appeals form online for immediate attention.