Gainesville, FL Real Estate Property Taxes - How do they work?

how do real estate taxes work

City of Waldo St Johns WMD

To determine which taxing authority your property falls under, search for your property on the Alachua County Property Appraiser website, contact the Property Appraiser's office, or contact a local Gainesville Realtor .

To determine the taxes owed, take the sum of the property appraiser's value for land, building, and miscellaneous items to get total market value. From the total market value, subtract any Save Our Homes Deferred values to determine the assessed value. Subtract any exemptions such as the homestead exemption from the assessed value to determine the taxable value. Your taxable value in thousands is multiplied by the appropriate millage rate to get the county tax bill. School board and city taxes may also be included to get the toal tax bill.

The property appraiser's office in Alachua county is one of the friendliest government units in Alachua county. Someone always answers the phone and usually they will help you with any questions you may have about current, future, or past taxes.

Alachua County Property Appraiser's FAQs:

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 and every year. If you agree that the market value of your property as of January 1 this year was at least as much as shown on the notice, then the tax bill you receive in November will be based upon that value. However, if you have any questions, we encourage you to contact our office. An appraiser will be glad to review and discuss your valuation. You will be able to acquaint yourself with actual property market values, as opposed to 'rumors' you may have heard about your area. You will then have the opportunity to make us aware of any special circumstances about your property which may affect the value.

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, the City Commissions and the MSTU. The MSTU tax is also levied by the Board of County Commissioners to pay for services such as building inspections, land planning, and the Sheriff's road patrols delivered to the unincorporated areas. 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 Board of County Commissioners 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. In Alachua County, we have non ad valorem assessments to pay for refuse collection service, rural collection centers and special road paving projects. These fees are based upon equivalent residential units. If you have questions about this fee or its applicability to your property, please call the County Waste Collection Department at (352) 338-3233.

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.

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. The theory is that two wrongs do not make a right. If you point out that someone else is too low, our correct response is to raise the other person, not lower your property value. 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?

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 continuing 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?

Furnishings located in rental property, attachments to mobile homes on rented lots, and furnishings, fixtures and equipment used for a business purpose are tangible personal property. All are taxable and must be reported on the Tangible Tax Return available from the Property Appraiser's Office. The filing deadline for Tangible Personal Property returns is April 1st of each year.

By Allison Ables Real Estate Agent with Allison Ables Real Estate

Posted on October 10, 2009 09:42 PM

Source: activerain.trulia.com

Category: Taxes

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