** VALUATION - Values dropped, so why did my assessment go up?
Florida law sets January 1 as the assessment date each year for determining both value and exemption eligibility. While January 1, 2015 is the date used for setting your assessed value for the August 2015 Notice of Proposed Property Taxes ("TRIM Notice") and November 2015 tax bill, the 2015 value is based upon the market value for similar properties in the same or comparable subdivisions during January 2, 2014 - January 1, 2015 (with the greatest weight given to sales from the final quarter of the year). A 2015 drop in market values, if any, will be reflected on your 2016 assessment and tax bill. Likewise, in a year when values increase, those increases will not be reflected until the tax bill the following year.
If you purchase a property in a foreclosure, your actual purchase price may not reflect the just (market) value used for determining your taxes. The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) issued an advisory opinion that foreclosures generally should not be used for assessment purposes. Thus, because of the stabilization of real estate values from sales starting in 2010, we did not qualify foreclosure sales for the 2013 assessments. However, for the 2015 assessments, we qualified short sales for assessment purposes if the property was listed for sale on the MLS open market and the property is in normal/good condition. Regardless of your purchase price, assessments in Florida are done a year in arrears. This means your 2015 assessment is based on the sales in your neighborhood (excluding non-arm's length transactions and other "disqualified" transfers) which occurred between January
2, 2014 and January 1, 2015. A drop in sale prices between January 2, 2015 to January 1, 2016 -- if any -- will be reflected on your 2016 assessment.
Under Florida law, a homestead "recapture" rule may cause some taxable values to rise even when the overall market value dropped from last year. If you are Homesteaded and your "Save Our Homes" (SOH) value is less than the market value as of January 1, Florida Administrative Code Rule 12D-8.0062(5) explicitly orders our office to increase your overall assessed value each year (up to the 3% annual cap level) until it eventually reaches the same amount as the market value. Click here to view the applicable law. The Department of Revenue set the SOH rate this year at 0.8%. Roughly 22,000 Broward homeowners unfortunately experienced the recapture effects of this law in 2015, even though their overall market values fell. Those impacted by recapture are mostly owners who either purchased and homesteaded their properties before 2001 or newer purchasers who recently moved portability savings to a new property. Florida voters in 2012 rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the "recapture" rule.
Finally -- depending upon the city you live in -- your taxes may not have dropped this year because several Broward cities significantly raised their millage (tax) rates and non-ad valorem fees (fire/rescue, drainage, etc.) to make up for declining values. This means you will pay at a higher rate, even if the property is worth less. You can speak-out to protest these proposed tax rate hikes at the public hearings in September listed on your annual Notice of Proposed Property Taxes.