Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question to find the answer.
Where can I view Tax Roll Statistical Reports (Pursuant to HB909)?
What are the Property Appraiser’s duties?
The Property Appraiser is charged by the State Constitution and statutes with appraising all property in Alachua County at 100% of market value as of January 1 every year. This means that Florida is on an annual reappraisal cycle so your property value could change each year. Duties include the valuation of all vacant and improved real property and tangible personal property. It is also the responsibility of the Property Appraiser to maintain ownership records and maps as well as administer exemptions and classifications.
What are ad valorem taxes?
Ad valorem property taxes are levied by the School Board, Board of County Commissioners, the Library District, the Water Management Districts and the City Commissions. The Property Appraiser does not set taxes. The taxing authorities use the Property Appraiser’s value to determine the distribution (who will pay what part) of the taxes they levy. If you have questions about the taxes you are paying, you should call the taxing authorities at the phone numbers listed on the TRIM notice. If you have questions about how your money is being spent or want to protest the amount you are paying, you should either call the taxing authorities or attend their budget hearings held at the place, date, and time listed on the TRIM notice.
What are non-ad valorem assessments?
Non-ad valorem assessments are fees levied against property by the taxing authorities to pay for a particular service. The fees are expressed in a dollar amount instead of a millage rate. They are directly related to the service provided and the money is not used for any other purpose. If you have a question about these fees, you should call the taxing authority that implemented the fee. Contact information will be included on the TRIM notice.
How is market value determined?
Market value is determined by analyzing the sales of similar properties, the cost to reproduce your property and the ability of your property to earn income. In Alachua County we use a computer assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system. The CAMA system incorporates our conclusions from these three analyses. It then applies these decisions to all properties equally. Although this seems complicated, please keep in mind that we feel the best evidence of your market value is the sale, prior to January 1, of several properties similar to your property.
How do I appeal my appraisal?
Informal: The first and most successful option for appeal of your property value is a meeting with one of our appraisers. In this meeting, you will review the physical information on your property (i.e., Is the property measured correctly and are the correct building materials reflected in our records?) and review sales of other properties and other pertinent information. If you have the time to review our record of sales and information on your property before your appointment, you will feel better prepared and the process will go more quickly. In any case, we encourage you to ask for an appointment if you have questions.
VAB: The Value Adjustment Board is the next step in the appeal process. However, this procedure is slightly more complex and formal than an informal meeting with one of our appraisers. It is highly recommended that you exhaust the informal approach prior to undertaking this step. The Value Adjustment Board is a process administered by the Clerk of the Court.
Circuit Court: If you are still not pleased after the VAB, your next step is to file a suit against us in circuit court. This proceeding gets very formal and has a lot of rules. If you are considering this option, you should talk to an attorney.
One last note which applies to all levels of appeal: There is no provision in Florida law for your value to be reduced because of personal hardship or inability to pay. While we definitely empathize with the many difficult personal situations people experience, we cannot lower values because of them. Likewise, what other properties are appraised for is irrelevant in the appeal process. Please be prepared to talk about your market value. Market value and the exemptions are the only place in the process where we have any control.
What is Amendment 10 (Save Our Homes)?
In November, 1992, voters approved Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution which limits the size of the annual increase in the assessed values of owner occupied residential properties which have homestead status. Under Amendment 10, increases in the annual assessment of homestead residential property shall not exceed the lower of either (1) three percent (3%) of the assessment of the prior year or (2) the percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers in the U.S. Amendment 10 does NOT apply to new construction or improvements to existing properties in the year following the year the changes were completed. However, in subsequent years, the cap provided by Amendment 10 will be in effect for both the property and the changes. In addition, when a property sells the process begins again.
What are exemptions?
Exemptions are a reduction of the market value for taxation thus reducing the taxes. There are several types of exemptions concerning property with the Homestead Exemption being the most prevalent.
To qualify you must: Make application by March 1, possess recorded title by January 1, and be a Florida resident living on the property with the intent of making it your permanent residence on January 1.
A Homestead Exemption is NOT TRANSFERABLE. You must personally file a new application even if you received an exemption last year but established a new residence prior to January 1. Additionally, if you purchased your property after January 1, and your TRIM notice reflects a Homestead, this is an exemption which was granted to the prior owner. This exemption ceases on December 31 of that year. Thus, if you wish to qualify for a homestead exemption, you must file an original application in our office by March 1. If you no longer qualify for an exemption, please notify our office of the change immediately. For further information concerning exemptions, you may contact our office at (352) 374-5230.
What is Tangible Personal Property?
Tangible Personal Property is any goods, chattels, and other equipment or furnishings owned by and /or used for a business purpose. This includes equipment personally owned, fully depreciated, or written off for Internal Revenue Service’s purposes. Any assets reported on IRS form 4562 along with Section 179 assets are considered Tangible Personal Property. Some examples of Tangible Personal Property include but are not limited to: computer equipment, security equipment, office equipment, furniture, fixtures, medical, dental, manufacturing equipment, capital leases, signage and leasehold improvements. Class 94 vehicles (vehicles registered as a tool & not as transport) are Tangible Personal Property. Vehicles not registered as Class 94 (tool) may have equipment attached such as air compressors, power cranes, and tool boxes that are considered Tangible Personal Property. The filing deadline for Tangible Personal Property returns is April 1st of each year.
When is new single-family construction added to the tax roll?
Per Florida Statute 192.042, all property shall be assessed according to its just value on January 1. As related to real property, the statute reads, “Improvements or portions not substantially completed on January 1 shall have no value placed thereon. “Substantially completed” shall mean that the improvement or some self-sufficient unit within it can be used for the purpose for which it was constructed.” Therefore, when a final inspection is issued prior to January 1 by the Building Department, the new construction will be added to the following tax roll. In the event a structure is being occupied without having received a final inspection, it too will be added to the next tax roll because it is being used for its intended purpose.
The Property Appraiser is not a revenue agency!
Our concern in the Property Appraiser’s Office is that values are both lawful and equitable. We are not rewarded for increases in value. State law requires that property be valued at market value. Every year the State tests our roll to assure everyone that we are meeting that threshold. ,if we are not, they have the authority to compel us to do so or to step in and do it themselves.
Not for Profit Property Tax Exemption?
Florida has no Not for Profit property tax exemption. There are property tax exemptions for which being a Not for Profit helps you qualify, but none for simple being a Not for Profit. For example, there is a property tax exemption for qualifying charitable organizations. Being Not for Profit is one of the qualifying conditions for discerning if you are charitable or not. It is important to understand that ownership is not the only criteria for exemptions, qualifying use is also required. So, a charitable organization may qualify a property for exemption if they are a qualifying organization, own the property and the use of the property is charitable as well.
This is a misnomer. There is no agricultural exemption for property in Florida. The correct title is “Agricultural Classification”. The tax value for properties that qualify for agricultural classification are determined on their use, whereas non qualifying properties are valued based on what they would sell for. Depending upon the agricultural crop or use of the property and the location, the classified use may or may not be greater than the market value.
People are not entitled to Exemptions.
In Florida, only properties qualify for exemptions, never people. The circumstances of the ownership and use of the property are determinant factors in qualifying properties for exemption. This is why when you sell your home, the exemption stays behind on the property until the following year because the property receives the exemption, not the person.