Frequently Asked Questions
These are examples of questions frequently asked. There are many individual circumstances which can impact upon the appraisal and filing process. The Property Appraiser welcomes your inquiries. This office is here to serve you and all residents of Glades County to ensure fair and equitable appraisal of property. Appraisal Questions What does the property appraiser do? 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. Does the property appraiser levy or collect taxes? 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 calculates the amount of taxes due in order to bill and collect all taxes levied within the county. How is property appraised? At least once every five years, the property appraiser or a staff appraiser 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 the 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 data base 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. What is market value? 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. Can I get a tax exemption? In addition to determining values, the property appraiser accepts applications for and administers property tax exemptions. Several types of exemptions are available. The type of exemption benefiting the largest number of property owners is the HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION. If you own property which you use as your primary residence as of January 1, you may apply for homestead exemption. This will reduce the taxable value of your home by up to $50,000, resulting in substantial savings on your property taxes. Any new exemption or change in exemption status should be filed as soon as possible, but no later than March 1. Besides Homestead, what other exemptions are available under law? Widow/ Widowers Exemption ($500)- To file for Widow or Widower's Exemption you must be a widow or widower prior to January 1st of the tax year and bring proof of your spouse's death. (Divorced persons do not qualify for this exemption.) Disability Exemption ($500)-  In addition to proof of Florida residency, you must provide one of the following:          1. Proof of total and permanent disability from a licensed Florida physicians, or Social Security Administration 2. Present proof of legal blindness. Total exemption from ad valorem taxation on homestead property for totally and permanently disabled- Section 196.101, F.S., provides that property owners qualifying for the homestead exemption on January 1, who are quadriplegic, paraplegic, hemiplegic, or other totally and permanently disabled persons, who must use a wheel chair for mobility, or are legally blind and produce certification of that fact from two [2] professionally unrelated licensed Florida physicians, or the U.S. Veteran's Administration, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation. Except for quadriplegics & Veterans, there is also a gross income limitation for this exemption, governing all persons residing upon the homestead, which is adjusted annually. Section 196.081, F.S. , provides that property owners qualifying for the homestead exemption on January 1, who are veterans honorably discharged with a service connected total and permanent disability, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation. Confirmation of the disability from the U.S. Veteran's Administration is required for this exemption. A surviving spouse could enjoy the benefit of this exemption if the veteran was a permanent resident of Florida on January 1 of the year he or she died. Disability Veteran ($5000) - Any ex-service member disabled at least 10% in war or by service-connected misfortune is entitled to a $5000 exemption. Please bring certificate from Department of Veterans Affairs. When will I know the amount of my tax bill? 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. Fees not related to your property value may also appear on your TRIM notice for garbage collection, roads, lighting and other government services. These fees are set by your taxing authority and are not affected by any change in the value of your house or property. What if I think the appraised value of my property is too high? 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. What is an "AG" classification? 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 sub-division plat is recorded; Land which is purchased for a price three or more times the agricultural appraisal placed on the land. Amendment 10 "Save Our Homes" Value Cap What is the Save Our Homes amendment? 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. How does the amendment limitation apply? 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). How is my property affected? The year following the granting of homestead exemption, the property is subject to the limitation. What about any changes, additions or improvements to the homestead property? 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. What properties are not subject to 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. Why would my assessment increase when my market value stayed the same? This is probably due to the "recapture" rule. In 1995, the Department of Revenue adopted a rule, approved by the Governor and Cabinet, directing property appraisers to raise the assessed value of a qualifying homestead property by the maximum of 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less, on all properties assessed at less than full market value (just value). What happens if a property is sold or conveyed to a new owner? 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.
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Glades County Property Appraiser
Lorie Ward