About the Appraisal & Taxation System

How is property appraised?

At least once every five years, one of our appraisers will visit and inspect each property as required by Florida law. 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 a strong indicator of values in the real estate market in your vicinity.

To find the value of your property, the Property Appraiser must first know what properties have sold, and how much they are selling for in today’s market. That is why we maintain an accurate data base of real estate information. Each transaction must be studied to make sure it was an arms-length transaction, meaning that a willing seller sold to a willing buyer without any undue pressure or special incentives (such as family relationships), and that the property was on the market for neither an excessive nor short period of time. Once this is determined, we can base the value of a property from other sales of comparable properties. This is the sales comparison approach to valuation.

Our 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, also referred to as CPI (Consumer Price Index), 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 is the third way to evaluate property – usually commercial property. It 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 your kind of property.

How are property taxes determined?

The role of setting the amount of taxes to be paid, as a result of the assessed value of a property is that of the various taxing authorities, including the County Commission, School Board, local municipalities and others.

These bodies use our assessments as a base for setting the millage rate. So, in a manner of speaking, your taxes could go up or down, not due to the assessed value but due to millage rates set by the taxing authorities. Your tax bill is computed by the total taxes required of all the authorities.