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Frequently Asked Questions







** ESTIMATING FIRST-YEAR TAXES - How can a new homebuyer estimate first-year taxes?

When you purchased your home this year, you inherited the seller's exemption status for the current tax year. Please review your closing statement, as the seller likely gave you a deduction for the seller's pro rata share of the current year taxes. Because of that, you will be responsible for payment of the entire tax when it arrives in November. Next year, your home will be reassessed based upon your purchase price this (and the sale prices this year of other qualified market sales in your neighborhood). Finally, remember that you will need to file for a homestead exemption on the property for next year as the seller's exemptions will automatically be removed at the end of this year.

Note: The Home-Buyer's Tax Estimator on our website will give you a rough estimate of the property taxes on your home for the tax year immediately AFTER you purchased it.


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** FIRST-YEAR TAXPAYER - Why are my taxes so much higher this year versus when I purchased my house last year?

When you purchased your home last year, you inherited the seller's homestead exemption savings and the seller's existing Save Our Homes reduced assessment -- but those savings automatically expired at the end of last year. This year your home was reassessed based upon your purchase price last year (and the sale prices of other qualified market sales in your neighborhood last year). This reassessment is explicitly required by Florida law (Sections 192.042, 193.011 and 193.155, Florida Statutes). Finally, remember that you will need to file for a homestead exemption on the property for this year if you want to claim these tax savings for yourself and establish a new base value for the 3% Save Our Homes cap.

Another reason you -- and many Broward residents -- may be seeing higher taxes this year is because several municipalities in Broward significantly increased their property tax rates and non-ad valorem fees (fire/rescue, waste, drainage, etc.) last year. You can find more specific details about this on the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes ("TRIM Notice") you received in the mail in August, which compares your tax RATES this year versus last year. If you are upset about the proposed rates, you need to contact the Taxing Authorities who set them. You will find this contact information listed on the notice.


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** 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, 2014 is the date used for setting your assessed value for the August 2014 Notice of Proposed Property Taxes ("TRIM Notice") and November 2014 tax bill, the 2014 value is based upon the market value for similar properties in the same or comparable subdivisions during January 2, 2013 - January 1, 2014 (with the greatest weight given to sales from the final quarter of the year). A 2014 drop in market values, if any, will be reflected on your 2015 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 2014 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 2014 assessment is based on the sales in your neighborhood (excluding non-arm's length transactions and other "disqualified" transfers) which occurred between January 2, 2013 and January 1, 2014. A drop in sale prices between January 2, 2014 to January 1, 2015 -- if any -- will be reflected on your 2015 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 1.5%. Roughly 40,500 Broward homeowners unfortunately experienced the recapture effects of this law in 2014, 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.


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ADDRESS CHANGE - What if I change my address?

Use this address to download a Change of Address form:

http://bcpa.net/forms/addrchng1.pdf

Please submit a separate form for each property you own. Sign and send the form to our office so we can change our records. Every year, hundreds of people don't receive the notices we send because they failed to inform us of their address change. Don't let this happen to you.


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ADJUSTED SQUARE FEET - Why does the BCPA.net measurement of my house size differ from the actual square foot measurements?

We use the "adjusted square foot" ("Adj.Bldg.S.F.") measurement of a building to determine the value of your property. A real estate agent or a fee appraiser may use the actual square feet -- unadjusted -- which usually refers only to living space or air-conditioned space, and may result in measurements higher or lower than the numbers we use. Adjusted square feet are measured from the outside walls of the building, and include garages, open patios, covered entries, second floors, carports, and so forth. These parts of a building are calculated using a fraction of their actual square feet to determine the adjusted square feet. This ensures all properties in Broward are measured and assessed on an identical basis. (Note: We use the actual square foot measurements for land size.)


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ADVERSE POSSESSION - What is Adverse Possession?

When the possessor has been in actual continued possession of real property for 7 years under a claim of title exclusive of any other right, but not founded on a written instrument, judgment, or decree, or when those under whom the possessor claims meet these criteria, the property actually possessed is held adversely if (1) the person claiming adverse possession paid, subject to s. 197.3335, all outstanding taxes and matured installments of special improvement liens levied against the property by the state, county, and municipality within 1 year after entering into possession; (2) made a return of the property by proper legal description to the property appraiser of the county where it is located within 30 days after complying with payment of all outstanding taxes and matured installments of special improvement liens levied against the property by the state, county, and municipality within 1 year after entering into possession, and; (3) has subsequently paid, subject to s. 197.3335, all taxes and matured installments of special improvement liens levied against the property by the state, county, and municipality for all remaining years necessary to establish a claim of adverse possession.


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AGRICULTURAL - If I board horses, have a plant nursery or grow fruit on my property, can I get an agricultural tax break?

For land to be granted agricultural classification, the use of the land must be primarily for bona fide commercial agriculture.

First and most important, the "use" of the land must be for "agricultural purposes." The Greenbelt Law defines agricultural purposes as including but "not limited to, horticulture; floriculture; viticulture; forestry; dairy; livestock; poultry; bee; pisciculture, when the land is used principally for the production of tropical fish; aquaculture; sod farming; and all forms of farm products and farm production." While this list is broad and inclusive in its general terms, it does not necessarily exclude categories not specifically listed. The courts have ruled, for example, that horses are livestock; therefore, using the land to keep livestock, whether breeding, boarding, training or for other commercial purposes is agriculture. The term "livestock" does not include greyhound dogs, therefore, use of the land for raising or training dogs for racing is not an agricultural use.

Second, agricultural use must be the "primary" activity taking place on the land. If the owner's residence is on the land, the area of the house and grounds will be excluded from the agricultural classification, although it is still eligible for Homestead Exemption. On the remainder of the land, the agricultural use must be the most significant activity and not merely an incidental use.

Third, the agricultural use must be "commercial," which the courts have defined as meaning done with a profit motive or intent to make a profit. The Courts have also ruled that it is not necessary to have the expectation of meeting the investment costs of the land and realizing a profit overall to be "commercial." However, it is not enough to grow fruit or vegetables for your own use or keep a pet cow or only your own horses for pleasure or sport. While the "commercial" requirement is not as strict as the IRS business standards, you should be trying to make money from the agricultural use of your land.

Fourth, the agricultural use must be bona fide. Again, the courts have ruled this means good faith: as in real, actual and genuine, and not a sham or deception. For example, if you apply for agricultural classification for a horse boarding farm, you should be actually boarding other people’s horses on your land. If you apply as a nursery, then you should be growing and selling plants on your land, not using the land to store equipment for a lawn mowing business.

For more detailed information, please click here or contact our Agricultural Section at 954.357.6822.



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APPEALS – What is the deadline for filing a challenge with the Value Adjustment Board?

The deadline for filing a challenge with the Value Adjustment Board is in mid-September of each tax year. For 2014 appeals, the timely filing deadline is September 17, 2014. (Note: If you miss the timely filing deadline for 2014 for a VALUATION issue, you must contact the Value Adjustment Board directly for more information about "good cause" late filing.) The timely filing deadline is an absolute deadline for EXEMPTION issues, per state law. Therefore, for exemption issues, no opportunity to late file via "good cause" exists. Click here to read more about the VAB appeal process.


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ASSESSMENTS - How often are properties reassessed?

Per Section 192.042, Florida Statutes, all property in the state is reassessed every year. Also, Florida law sets that assessments are done a year in arrears with January 1 being the statutory date for determining the annual assessment (i.e., what the property was worth as of 1/1/14). This means your 2014 assessment -- the amount used for your November 2014 tax bill -- is based on the qualified sales in your neighborhood (excluding non-arm's length transactions, etc.) between January 2, 2013 and January 1, 2014. Any drop or increase in value after January 1, 2014, will be reflected in your 2015 assessment.


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BROWARD COUNTY RECORD SEARCH - How do I perform a search using the Broward County Official Records system?

Please click here for instructions on how to perform a search within the Broward County Official Records system.


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CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP NOTICE - What is a Section 193.1556 "Change of Ownership" notice and when do I need to file one?

The Legislature adopted Section 193.1556, Florida Statutes, in 2008 in response to the voter passage of the constitutional amendment which granted a 10% annual assessment increase cap to all non-homesteaded property. A change in ownership requires the assessment to be reset to full market value. You are NOT required to file a notice when a deed is recorded for the ownership transfer. However, if the transfer is one without any deed (i.e., the private sale of controlling interest in a business owning such property), then the new owner must give written notice to the Property Appraiser. Click here to download the Department of Revenue's DR-430 Notice Form. This notice requirement ONLY applies to non-homesteaded properties.


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CHINESE DRYWALL - How is the Property Appraiser assessing properties with Chinese drywall problems?

As has been extensively reported in the news, some homes constructed in Broward within the past few years contain contaminated Chinese drywall. This drywall -- over time -- emits sulfur odors and seemingly causes visible corrosion to copper pipes and air conditioner evaporator coils. However, until a homeowner contacts our office to notify us, we have no way of independently identifying which homes contain contaminated Chinese drywall. These drywall problems seriously impact the value of these homes. To ensure fair assessments for these damaged properties, Florida law was changed in 2010 to reduce the building value portion to $0 for single family homes "if the building CANNOT be used for its intended purpose without remediation or repair" -- subject to the owners providing us with sufficient documentation of the condition. Additionally, the law only applies if "the purchaser was unaware of the [contaminated] drywall at the time of purchase" -- so we examine the real estate listings to see if the condition was disclosed prior to the most recent sale.

The documentation we are seeking includes (but is not limited to):

  • Letters from the property owner's builder/developer confirming the presence of contaminated Chinese Drywall within the residence;
  • Inspection reports performed by an independent inspection company OR an inspection report completed by the builder's inspection company OR an insurance company inspection reports;
  • Insurance company's claim determination letter (which, in all cases we've seen to date, is a denial letter) referencing the cause of the denial as a building defect of Chinese drywall;
  • Proof of a filed law suit claiming damage caused by Chinese drywall OR with WCI-built homes, asserting legal claims made in WCI's bankruptcy case stating Chinese drywall as reason for the claim. Note: Typically, filed lawsuits contain additional information such as inspection reports and some of the other above items.
It is not necessary to supply us with all of the above documentation. However, you must submit sufficient documentation to confirm the presence of contaminated Chinese drywall within the building or residence. Note: You do not need to resubmit this documentation to us if you previously submitted it in any prior year. Also, once the property is repaired ("remediated"), it will receive a new assessment reflecting the full market value comparable to other similar properties that do not contain contaminated drywall.

To request an assessment reduction, please contact Deputy Appraiser Larry Singh of our office or at 954.357.7216 to notify us if your home has documented Chinese drywall issues.

As for Homestead-related issues, we are treating the drywall damage issue similar to hurricane damage. The owners can maintain their homestead while they move out and rebuild. Please contact our Customer Service & Exemptions Department if you plan to do this so we can keep your exemption intact.

Finally, we'd note the State of Florida maintains a website containing some very useful Chinese drywall resources and news. Click here to view the site.


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CONFIDENTIALITY - Can I have my name removed from the property search on the website?

In most circumstances the answer is no. Property ownership records, in general, are public records pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. Florida law specifically provides confidentiality protection ONLY for present and former law enforcement officers, fire fighters, judges, prosecutors, juvenile justice officers, revenue collection officers, public defenders, and a limited number of other specified "at risk" government occupations. If you believe you may qualify for this program, please contact our Department of Professional Standards & Compliance at 954.357.6850 for more information. However, if you are not covered by the current confidentiality laws and believe they should be broadened to cover additional categories, please contact your State Senator and State Representative to suggest changes in these Florida Statutes.


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CONFIDENTIALITY - Is my homestead application (or other tax return) confidential? Will others be able to view it?

Pursuant to Section 193.074, Florida Statutes, your application (and/or tax returns) is strictly confidential when filed with our office. Interested persons may NOT obtain a copy of it through Florida's Public Records Act -- unless it is requested through a lawful subpoena or court order -- as it is generally exempt from public disclosure.


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DEEDS - How can I add someone to my title without losing my exemptions?

We often hear from taxpayers -- all well-intentioned -- who lost or seriously compromised their valuable exemptions or Save Our Homes (SOH) protection when they made "do-it-yourself" changes to a deed. While we always recommend you seek professional advice from a qualified attorney when making title changes, we created a page of helpful information that should help you better understand the key differences between the most common forms of home ownership if you still decide to risk making these changes on your own. Click here to read about potential deed changes and how differing ownership types may impact your exemptions.

IMPORTANT: Deeds related to Broward County properties must be recorded with the Broward County Records Division in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Click here to visit the County Records Division website.


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DEEDS - Must a property deed be recorded within a certain period of time?

No, there is no Florida law requiring a title be recorded within a certain period of time. However, our office does not recognize unrecorded deeds.


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DEEDS - What is a Special Warranty Deed? A Warranty Deed? A Quit Claim Deed?

A WARRANTY DEED (WD) is typically used when a full title history search was conducted and the property was sold with title insurance coverage. When the owner of a piece of real estate (grantor/seller) wants to transfer ownership or partial ownership of the property to another person (grantee/buyer), the seller needs to affirm that he/she is entitled to do so, so that the new owner can be assured that he or she will hold good title to the property. A Warranty Deed means the grantor (seller) guarantees s/he is selling good title, guaranteed from the beginning of time through the date of the sale.

A SPECIAL WARRANTY DEED (SWD) is much like a Warranty Deed, but ONLY warrants against title defects arising during the ownership of the current seller. Unlike a general Warranty Deed, a SWD does NOT guarantee there are no claims arising from the actions of earlier owners. These are commonly used for properties sold through short-sales and foreclosures.

A QUIT CLAIM DEED (QCD) is the least formal type of deed -- but it is still a valid deed in Florida for conveying property if correctly executed, delivered to the grantee (buyer), and is publicly recorded. With a Quit Claim Deed, the seller is simply warranting to convey the seller's interests in the property to another. This is true regardless of whether or not the seller owns the property. Someone who holds good title may use a QCD to transfer property. However, if you acquire rights through a QCD from a seller who had no legal right to the property, you have acquired nothing (i.e., you purchased all of the seller's rights to that property).


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DEEDS - Where can I find a copy of my deed?

Go to the Property Search page, read the statement shown, and click on "Accept." Click on the "Owner Name" button, and search by your Last Name, followed by a comma, and then your First Name. Do not use a space.

After hitting the SEARCH button, you must select your property from a list. To select your property, click on the Parcel Number that is in the same row as your address. All of the information on your property should be displayed. More than half way down this document, there will be a section labeled "Sales History." Click on top Book Number (colored blue) to be sent to the most current version of the deed.

Copies of recorded deeds and mortgages related to Broward properties are also directly searchable online at the Broward County Records Division website. You may search for deeds, mortgages, liens, release of liens, court judgments, condo declarations, and various other recorded documents on their website. If you have questions for the County Records Division, they may be reached at 954.831.4000. There is no fee for viewing any of these documents. (Note: the County Records Division is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)

Many homeowners receive solicitation letters from private companies offering to mail them a certified copy of their deed for as much as $80. It is unnecessary to pay this much for your deed. A certified copy of your deed can be purchased through the Broward County Records Division for $1 per page, and a $2 certification fee per document. Click here for more information on obtaining certified documents through the Broward County Records Division.


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DEEDS - Where can I find the full legal description instead of the abbreviated one?

You would look at the legal description on the deed. It's usually Exhibit A. You look up the most recent sale under Sales History and click on the first set of blue numbers it will link you with county records and the deed.


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DEEDS - Why does the legal description for my condo unit not list the assigned parking space and/or dock space?

Regardless of whether you "purchased" the exclusive USE of a specific numbered parking space (or dock slip), all you "own" is the right to USE that limited common element of the condominium complex. However, as a common element of the condominium (as set forth in the recorded Declaration of Condominium for your complex), the common elements/limited common elements are owned by the condo complex as a whole. The recorded agreements assigning the parking spaces are certainly enforceable as a matter of law as to parties bound by the agreements ... but the unit owners do not own the parking space (or dock space) land portion in fee simple. Thus, we do not list them on any legal descriptions for condominium units (unless the space is truly owned in fee simple by the condo unit owner).


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DEPLOYED MILITARY - How can I qualify for the extra exemption for active-duty deployed US military service members?

To qualify, you must submit US military documentation which clearly shows the applicant's dates of active duty military service outside the United States during the immediate prior year in support of one of the designated military operations (Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Noble Eagle). This exemption requires the holder to submit new supporting documentation each year to retain these valuable savings. This exemption grants a total exemption to an additional percentage of your assessed value, based upon the percent of the prior year you were deployed overseas in support of one of the specified military operations. Click here to download the application.


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EFFECTIVE YEAR - What does "Effective Year Built" mean on the property record pages?

The "Effective Year Built" (or "effective age") is the age of the building, adjusted for significant renovations or neglect. For example if a home was built in 1983 and updated several years later with new kitchens and baths, and was well cared for, the effective age might be adjusted to 1990. Or, if the 1983 home had been badly neglected to the extent it was in much worse condition than other homes built at the same time, it might have an effective age adjusted to 1975.


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FLOOD ZONE (FEMA) - How can I find the Flood Zone of a property?

Click here to search Broward County's FEMA flood map.


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FORECLOSURES & LIENS - How many foreclosures have there been in Broward County?

Number of foreclosures by year:

2004: 780
2005: 361
2006: 516
2007: 3,616
2008: 10,415
2009: 14,385
2010: 18,427
2011: 10,148
2012: 11,278
2013: 9,660

Number of foreclosures by month (as of May 01, 2014):

2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
01/2008: 555
02/2008: 484
03/2008: 574
04/2008: 1,057
05/2008: 885
06/2008: 1,002
07/2008: 1,177
08/2008: 1,015
09/2008: 1,054
10/2008: 959
11/2008: 810
12/2008: 843
01/2009: 780
02/2009: 861
03/2009: 806
04/2009: 895
05/2009: 1,338
06/2009: 1,371
07/2009: 1,450
08/2009: 1,140
09/2009: 1,419
10/2009: 1,700
11/2009: 1,376
12/2009: 1,249
01/2010: 1,681
02/2010: 1,360
03/2010: 1,882
04/2010: 1,634
05/2010: 1,727
06/2010: 1,671
07/2010: 2,016
08/2010: 1,927
09/2010: 1,794
10/2010: 1,056
11/2010: 764
12/2010: 915
01/2011: 1,154
02/2011: 808
03/2011: 1,207
04/2011: 650
05/2011: 767
06/2011: 977
07/2011: 766
08/2011: 720
09/2011: 690
10/2011: 873
11/2011: 976
12/2011: 570
01/2012: 1,219
02/2012: 1,516
03/2012: 1,213
04/2012: 882
05/2012: 903
06/2012: 745
07/2012: 789
08/2012: 832
09/2012: 753
10/2012: 953
11/2012: 1009
12/2012: 464
01/2013: 980
02/2013: 1,064
03/2013: 713
04/2013: 828
05/2013: 951
06/2013: 733
07/2013: 752
08/2013: 726
09/2013: 844
10/2013: 859
11/2013: 725
12/2013: 485
01/2014: 935
02/2014: 1355
03/2014: 807
04/2014: 630

Click here for foreclosures recorded by city.


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FORECLOSURES - Where can I find information on bidding on foreclosed properties the court has ordered sold?

Our office is not involved in selling any properties. Foreclosed properties are sold at public auction by the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The Clerk established a special website for these foreclosure auctions here: www.broward.realforeclose.com. The properties on the Clerk's site are listed by sale date. The list of cases that have sale dates set can be obtained online at the Clerk’s main website www.browardclerk.org. However, it is not easily searched as the Clerk does not list them by property address (note: foreclosures are only listed by case number and sale date). You can obtain information on sales and bidding at www.broward.realforeclose.com and view the Clerk's FAQs for more information. There are also Clerk's office customer service contact numbers listed on each of the websites to obtain any additional information you may not find online. Finally, the contact phone number for the Clerk's Foreclosure Department is 954.831.5745.


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FORECLOSURES - Where can I research property foreclosures?

Copies of recorded deeds and mortgages related to Broward properties are directly searchable online at the Broward County Records Division website. You may search for recorded notices of foreclosure, liens, lis pendens, release of liens, court judgments, and various other documents on their website. You can limit your search, for example, to just a specific topic like foreclosures (or liens) by using the CATEGORY feature on their search page. If you have questions for the County Records Division, they may be reached at 954.831.4000. There is no fee for viewing any of these documents. If you are interested in learning more about foreclosure sales conducted by the Clerk of Courts, please visit browardclerk.org and www.broward.realforeclose.com for more information. (Note: the County Records Division and the Clerk of Courts are NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)


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FUNDRAISING DISCLOSURE FORMS - Where can I find them?

The Campaign Fundraising for Other Candidates Disclosure Forms are available by clicking here.


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GRANNY FLAT EXEMPTION - What is a "Granny Flat" and how do I claim that exemption?

Taxpayers who build additions onto an existing home or perform extensive renovations to provide living quarters for a parent or grandparent may be entitled to a special exemption equal to the amount of the new construction (up to 20% of the homestead value). To be eligible, the property owner must have a Homestead Exemption on the property where the parent or grandparent quarters are constructed. The construction or reconstruction must be properly permitted and comply with all local land development regulations. Copies of all permits, certificate of occupancy, and plans must be submitted to the Property Appraiser’s Office. Construction or reconstruction must be substantially complete after January 7, 2003 and before January 1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. Application must be filed with the Property Appraiser’s Office annually on or before March 1st of each year. The occupant(s) of the quarters must be a parent or grandparent. The occupant(s) must be at least 62 years of age by January 1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) must permanently reside on the property on or before January 1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) cannot receive any benefits requiring a declaration of permanent residency on any other property in any other county or state. The Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office will conduct a site visit annually upon review and prior to approval of the application for assessment reduction. For more information, please contact Bob Wolfe at 954.357.6871. You may also download a Granny Flat application here (PDF format).


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Can I rent out my homestead and keep the exemption on it?

Generally, the answer is no. Section 196.061, Florida Statutes, says that rental of a dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes "shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead." If the rental begins after January 1 of a year (regardless of the shortness of the rental period) and there is a rental covering ANY part of the next consecutive year, that is an abandonment of the homestead under the law as of the second year. A seasonal rental (February-March) in two consecutive year would disqualify the property for homestead. Likewise, a one-time rental from December-February would also disqualify the property as it would involve portions of two consecutive years.

The only individuals allowed under the law to rent out a homesteaded property while retaining the exemption are active duty military personnel. Simply provide us with a copy of your military orders and we'll keep your exemption intact. Note: State law formerly extended these rights to other federal employees (FBI, DEA, civilian DOD, congressional employees, etc.) on duty assignments outside of Florida -- but that law was changed in the late 1960s during the Vietnam War to limit this rental option only to active duty military. The Legislature felt this was appropriate because active duty military personnel do not have the option of quitting the job and staying at home -- versus all others who have the option of resigning their positions.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Do I need to re-apply for my Homestead Exemption every year?

No. Each January, our office mails a Renewal Receipt/Change Card to every Homesteaded property owner in Broward. If there are NO changes to the use and/or ownership of the property, simply keep the card as your receipt that you were automatically renewed for another year. However, if there are changes, please mark the Change Card accordingly and return it to our office.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Does my existing Homestead Exemption move with me to my new house?

HOMESTEADS DO NOT TRANSFER. A Homestead Exemption does NOT move with an owner from place to place. You MUST file for a new Homestead Exemption if you move. However, with Florida's "portability" law (see below), homesteaded owners may move their Save Our Homes benefit from one homestead to the next.

Also: If the former owners of your new home had Homestead on the property, their old Homestead will automatically expire at the end of the same year you purchased the property. But, if the former owner applies for portability onto another Florida property this year, the homestead may come off in the year in which you purchased it. Additionally, please note that an adult child who inherits a home from a deceased parent does not inherit the Homestead.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - How do I file a "Notice of Homestead" to protect myself from creditors?

The debtor/creditor protections granted by Florida law are entirely unrelated to any functions of our office -- but we can point you in the right direction. The confusion arises because Florida law has at least three separate sets of legal rights -- all vaguely related through the concept of permanent residency -- which are each named "homestead."

Our office handles matters involving the $50,000 Homestead Exemption on property taxes on a primary residence. This type of "homestead" is covered by Chapter 196, Florida Statutes. However, our office is not involved with any of the debtor/creditor protection rights provided by Chapter 222 (beyond processing the applications for the property tax Homestead Exemption).

Florida provides important debtor/creditor protection to a primary residence -- also called "homestead" -- under Chapter 222, Florida Statutes. If you are trying to find information about these important rights, please follow the link to Chapter 222. Pay specific attention to Section 222.01, Florida Statutes, which has a sample of the Notice of Homestead form you MUST file with the County Recording Division to take advantage of these legal rights. NOTE: Under Sec. 222.01, you CANNOT file a creditor protection Notice of Homestead until AFTER a court judgment has been recorded against you.

FYI: The term "homestead" also is used in Florida law as relates to the probate process. This refers to the Order of Probate signed by the Circuit Court Judge declaring a Florida county to be the last known permanent residence of a decedent and the proper venue to probate the decedent's will.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - How do you assess new additions to previously Homesteaded properties?

A property owner needs to understand how the existing Save Our Homes value will be impacted if s/he builds an addition onto an already Homesteaded property. The Answer: We generally use what is called "THE COST APPROACH" (i.e., the South Florida fair market replacement construction cost -- on a square foot basis -- for an addition of the same quality). Thus, if the fair market construction cost of your addition is $100,000, you would see no more than $100,000 added to your pre-existing Save Our Homes value. In the future, the combination of your pre-existing Save Our Homes value plus the cost-basis value of the addition would be your new Save Our Homes base value (subject to the 3% increase cap). If you have specific questions, please call our Residential Property Division at 954.357.6831.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - How is the $50,000 exemption applied?

The Florida Constitution was amended by the voters to increase the Homestead Exemption to $50,000. This amendment, however, is a bit complicated for a few reasons:

1. The first $25,000 of the exemption applies to all taxing authorities, and to first $25,000 of you property's assessed value.

2. The second $25,000 exemption does NOT apply to school portion of your tax bill. The school budget -- at roughly 37% of the entire property tax bill -- makes up the single largest portion of your tax bill.

3. The second $25,000 of the exemption only applies to the portion of assessed value between $50,000 - 75,000. This means you will not receive the full benefit of the second $25,000 if your property is assessed at less than $75,000. And -- if your property is assessed at less than $50,000 -- you will not receive any additional savings from this second $25,000 exemption.

The bottom line: An eligible Broward County property owner with a property assessed at $75,000+ will save anywhere from $640 to $1,152 (depending upon your city's millage rate) in taxes due to the $50,000 Homestead Exemption.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - How much will I save with a Homestead Exemption?

An eligible Broward County property owner in 2013 saved anywhere from $640 to $1,152 (depending upon the millage rates in your city) in taxes due to the Homestead Exemption. In 2013, the average Broward homeowner with Homestead also saved an additional $620 in taxes because of the Save Our Homes benefit. Additionally -- once the real estate market rebounds -- all Homesteaded properties will benefit from the "Save Our Homes" 3% tax assessment cap that automatically comes with the Homestead Exemption (starting in the year after you first obtain homestead). The SOH cap limits assessment increases during years of rising market values.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - My market value dropped so why did my assessment go up?

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 this year's SOH rate at 1.5%. Roughly 40,500 Broward homeowners unfortunately experienced the recapture effects of this law in 2013, 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.



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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - What are the requirements for a Homestead Exemption?

You are entitled to a $50,000 Homestead Exemption if as of January 1 of the year for which you are applying, you are:

  • A permanent resident of Florida;
  • who owns real property ("legal title" or "beneficial title in equity" - i.e., the property is held in a trust);
  • and the instrument by which you hold title is recorded in the official records of Broward County;
  • and you reside thereon and in good faith make the same your permanent residence, or the permanent residence of another or others legally or naturally dependent upon you.
What does all that mean? This is what you need to know:

To be eligible for an exemption in the current year, you must have owned AND resided in your Broward home, condo or co-op unit as your permanent residence as of January 1 of this year. You would also be eligible if you hold a life estate interest in the property, or reside on the property owned by a Trust and live there pursuant to the terms of the Trust. You must be a US Citizen, a Permanent Resident Alien, or hold "PRUCOL" asylum/refugee parole status in the US. You MUST either be a registered Broward voter or file a notarized Declaration of Domicile form with the Broward County Recording Office. You MUST have either a Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID Card (for non-drivers only). You CANNOT keep a valid driver's license from another state. For non-US Citizens, you must show a copy of your Permanent Resident Card or documentation of your "PRUCOL" asylum/refugee parole status in the U.S. Homesteads do not transfer. If you had Homestead on a previous property, you must file for a new Homestead Exemption if you purchase and move into a new permanent residence. It is unlawful to claim an exemption this year in Broward, if you or your married spouse are also claiming a Homestead or other permanent residency-based tax exemption or credit (like New York’s STAR program) this year in any other county, state or country.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - What documents do I need to file for a Homestead Exemption?

FOR ALL APPLICANTS:
* Florida Drivers License (or Florida I.D. Card is acceptable for non-drivers only); AND
* Proof of Broward Voter Registration OR a Declaration of Domicile.

FOR PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS:
The above items, PLUS ...
* Permanent Resident "Green Card," or proof of asylum/parole refugee status, or INS I-485 letter showing that application to convert to permanent resident status is approved.

NOTE: You must surrender your out-of-state license in favor of a Florida license in order to qualify for Homestead.



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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - What is "PRUCOL"?

PRUCOL ("Person Residing Under Color of Law") is a fancy sounding term created by the federal courts in the Holley v. Lavine case in 1978. As the court explained, the basic concept means "that an alien was residing in the United States with the knowledge and permission, express or implied, of the [USCIS] and that the [USCIS] did not contemplate enforcing his or her departure." Under Florida law, only U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, or someone holding PRUCOL status is eligible for a Homestead Exemption. A person in the U.S. with asylum or parole refugee status is considered PRUCOL. If you have completed the I-485 status adjustment application process to become a U.S. permanent resident, please contact us to review your documentation to see if you may also be eligible for PRUCOL status.

A person in the US under an E-, F-, H-, J-, L-, M-, N-, O-, P-, TC- or R-class visa is NOT eligible for Homestead, pursuant to Rule 12D-7.007(3), Florida Administrative Code, as they are all deemed "temporary" visas. A person in the U.S. under "Temporary Protected Status" (TPS) is also not eligible. This is true under Florida law no matter how long you have owned your home and lived/worked in Florida -- and regardless of how many times you are legally able to renew your visa.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - What is "Save Our Homes"?

"Save Our Homes" is an amendment to the Florida Constitution that the voters passed in 1992. A taxpayer AUTOMATICALLY receives the Save Our Homes protection starting the year after first obtaining a Homestead Exemption. This law limits the increase in assessed value for properties receiving the Homestead Exemption to no more than 3% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), no matter how much larger the increase in just value would otherwise be. The limit does not cover new construction or construction that was not taxed before the "Save Our Homes" limit applied to a particular property. It also does not apply when a property sells -- because the new owner starts the limitation all over again once he or she qualifies for Homestead Exemption. The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) makes this statutory determination each January. Click here to view the DOR website page setting the annual SOH rates for each year since 1995. For 2014, the SOH maximum increase will be 1.5%.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - What is a Declaration of Domicile, do I need one, and where do I get a copy?

A Declaration of Domicile is a sworn statement indicating your place of residence. It is required for Homestead Exemption when the applicant is not registered to vote. You may obtain a copy of Declaration of Domicile form by clicking here.

More information about Declarations of Domicile can be found on the Broward County Records Division website.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - What is the history of the Homestead Exemption?

The Great Depression began in 1929. As the Depression deepened, many Florida property owners found themselves unable to pay their property taxes and in serious danger of losing their homes. In response to this serious problem, State Representative Dwight Rogers of Fort Lauderdale in 1933 proposed and successfully passed legislation to place the $5,000 Homestead Exemption Amendment on the state ballot. Florida's voters overwhelmingly approved the Homestead Exemption Amendment in 1934 (Article X, Section 7, as it was numbered before the 1968 Florida Constitutional re-write). The initial Homestead Exemption sought to ease the burden on homeowners by exempting property taxes on the first $5,000 of a homeowner's residence. The exemption was increased by the Florida Legislature by statute to $10,000 during the 1960s, although this was not incorporated into the constitution. By a court ruling in 1969, the Homestead was extended to owners of individual condominium units. By Constitutional amendment adopted by a landslide in 1980, it was further increased to $25,000. The "Save Our Homes" amendment -- which caps the annual increase in assessed value on Homesteaded properties to no more than 3% -- was adopted in 1994. In 2008, voters adopted a constitutional amendment which increased the Homestead Exemption to $50,000 (but the second $25,000 does not apply to all taxing authorities and only applies to the portion of assessed value between $50,000-75,000 -- meaning you will not receive the full benefit of the second $25,000 if your property is assessed at less than $75,000). The 2008 amendment also created the "portability" right to move the Save Our Homes benefit from one homestead to the next.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Where do I file for a Homestead Exemption?

You can file for a Homestead Exemption online by clicking here ... or in person at our office in downtown Fort Lauderdale (click here for our office location and hours). We also hold community outreach events at various locations throughout the year.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Will I lose my exemptions if I add people to my title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship?

Your Homestead Exemption will stay intact if you transfer title of the homestead property to yourself plus another/others as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. This will also protect your existing Save Our Homes value.

Note: After your death, your exemptions will also expire, the property will be reassessed at market rate the next year. However, IF your co-owner(s) also filed for homestead on the property during your lifetime, the existing Save Our Homes value will be continue riding with the surviving homestead interest. Important: this presumes they moved onto the property, filed for and obtained Homestead during your lifetime.


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Will I lose my exemptions if I place my home in a life estate for me, and with a remainder to my kids?

Your Homestead Exemption will stay intact if you transfer a future interest to your children (or domestic partner, friend or others) but retain a life estate for yourself. This will also protect your existing Save Our Homes value.

Note: After your death (which will automatically end your life estate), your exemptions will also expire, the property will be reassessed at market rate the next year, and your remainder heirs will need to qualify for a new Homestead Exemption (if they move onto the property and want to claim Homestead).


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HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION - Will I lose my exemptions if I place my home into a trust?

So long as you retain sufficient control over the trust (i.e., including the right to live on the property) OR are the named beneficiary of the trust with the right to live upon the property for life (or for at least 98 years), it should not cause any problems for maintaining your Homestead and other exemptions. Once you place the property into a trust, please complete and return a notarized Certificate of Trust form to our office to ensure your exemptions and Save Our Homes value remain intact. Ask your attorney for advice, as creating a proper trust can be complicated.


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INSPECTION PROGRAM - What role does the Property Appraiser play in the County's "40-Year Building Safety Inspection Program"?

Very little. The Property Appraiser, upon request by the Broward County Board of Rules and Appeals, provides a list of buildings within a designated area that are at least 40 years old. That is the end of the Property Appraiser's role in the inspection process. You can read more about the County's program by clicking here.


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LIENS - Where can I find copies of recorded property liens?

Copies of recorded liens related to Broward properties are directly searchable online at the Broward County Records Division website. You may also search for deeds, mortgages, release of liens, court judgments, condo declarations, and various other recorded documents on their website. If you have questions for the County Records Division, they may be reached at 954.831.4000. (Note: the County Records Division is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)


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MAILING ADDRESS - Why does my mailing address show a different city from the site address city, when they are the same address?

For US Postal Service (USPS) reasons, we are required to use the city names that USPS demands in order to be able to send mass-mailings with reduced postage rates. However, the city listed for the site address is the correct city indicating the actual municipal location of the property.


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MILLAGE RATES - Where can I find the adopted final millage rate for a given city?

Click here to access the millage rate listings.


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MORTGAGES - Where can I find a copy of my mortgage?

Copies of recorded mortgages related to Broward properties are directly searchable online at the Broward County Records Division website. You may also search for deeds, liens, release of liens, court judgments, condo declarations, satisfactions of mortgage, and various other recorded documents on their website. If you have questions for the County Records Division, they may be reached at 954.831.4000. (Note: the County Records Division is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)


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OWNERSHIP LISTING - How can I identify the owner of a property?

Use the PROPERTY SEARCH menu option at the top of our website (right under Lori's picture) ... or click here. You may search property records by owner last name, address, legal subdivision name, or property ID number.


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OWNERSHIP LISTING - Why does it say "H/E" after my name on the ownership records?

Due to the antiquated system we inherited, our property ownership listings often look like this for co-owners of homesteaded properties. Here is a typical listing:

SMITH,JOHN H/E
JONES,MARY

The "H/E" following John's name is our internal flag that John is the resident who qualified for the homestead exemption. In this example above, Mary does not have homestead and would not be protected if something happened to John before she obtains homestead.


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OWNERSHIP LISTING - Why does my property record page on your website incorrectly say my middle name is "LE"?

The use of LE -- as shown below -- is not a middle name but a type of ownership for homestead purposes. Example:

SMITH,JOHN LE
JONES,MARY

The "LE" following John's name is our internal flag that John resides on the property and qualified for homestead due to his owning a LIFE ESTATE. Mary, who is listed on the second line with no annotation following her name, is owns the remainder (or future) interest in the property that begins after John dies. Mary is not eligible for homestead until John's life estate ends.


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PARCEL NUMBERS - How can I find the parcel number for the common area of our condominium complex?

We receive many requests seeking the common area parcel numbers for Condominium Associations. In reality, none exist in most cases. Once a property is converted to a condominium by means of a Declaration of Condo, the "parent" parcel number is typically deleted when the individual unit parcel numbers are created. Each owner then shares in an undivided interest or ownership for the entire property's common areas.

We understand various private entities -- as well as some cities -- require the use of an "overall" parcel number for the ease of doing business with a condominium. However, we cannot create a parcel number without placing a nominal value on the parcel -- and this does not always coincide with legal land descriptions or state regulations.

Our suggestion is to use the parcel number of the person within the condo association with the decision-making authority (usually the condo president or the treasurer authorized to make payments on behalf of the association). Please note that the use of these parcel numbers will NOT impact the individual unit owner's assessed value (as we rely on market analysis to arrive at condo unit valuations, not the building permits). If you have any questions about this, please contact our Condo Division Supervisor Maureen Morrison at 954.357.6303.


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PHOTOGRAPHS – Can I have the photographs on your website of my home taken down?

Photographs taken by the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office in the course of our appraisal duties are public records and are not exempt from disclosure. Remember, as a general rule in the United States, if it can be seen from a public place there is no expectation of privacy. At the behest of Florida Statutes Chapter 119.01(e), the Property Appraiser’s Office strives to make as many public records as possible, including field inspection photographs, available by remote electronic means. Therefore, photos taken in the course of our duties will not be removed from our website.


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PORTABILITY - Do we have a full two years to transfer our portability to a new property from the date we sell or move from our former home?

No, your deadline to transfer your Portability to a new Homestead property is not 2 years from the date you sell, or no longer permanently reside at, your previous Homestead property. Your deadline to transfer your Portability value is based upon obtaining a new Homestead Exemption for one of the following 2 tax-years. The amount of time you will have to do this, will depend on when you sell your previous Homestead property or no longer claim it as your permanent residence.

From whichever tax-year you "abandon" your previous Homestead Exemption (by selling, or no longer permanently residing at the property), you must then be approved for a new homestead exemption on another property for one of the two immediately following tax-years, to transfer a Portability value. Note: to obtain a homestead exemption you must actually reside in that property on January 1st of the year you apply for the exemption. Therefore, your "2 years" is limited by both the January 1 requirement for your new homestead exemption, and by the date you sell or move from your previous property.

As a general rule: If you sell or move from your previous Homestead property in January, you will have up to 23 months to obtain a new Homestead Exemption and transfer your Portability value. However, if you were to sell or move from the previous property in December, you would have only up to 12 months to obtain a new homestead exemption and transfer your portability value. Important: You must file for and obtain homestead on the new property in order to qualify for moving your portability benefit.

Example: You sell and move out of your property with homestead exemption in July, 2012. Therefore, 2012 is the year you abandoned the homestead exemption on the previous homesteaded property. You may then transfer any portability value from this property to a new 2013 or 2014 homestead exemption on another property. Because you must occupy this new property by January 1 of either 2013 or 2014 to receive a homestead exemption for one of those tax years, you will have -– at the very latest -– until January 1, 2014, to purchase and occupy a new homestead property. As you sold the previous homestead property in July, 2012, you will have, at the most, only 16 months to obtain your new Homestead Exemption and transfer your Portability value.


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PORTABILITY - How does "downsizing" work?

Downsizing occurs when your New Homestead Property has a lower Just (Market) Value than your Previous Homestead property's Just Value from the last year you held a Homestead exemption there. When you downsize, you transfer a "portability factor", which is a multiplier used to determine the portability deduction from your new Homestead property's Just Value. To determine your Portability factor: first, deduct your Save Our Homes Value from your Just Value for the last year you held a Homestead exemption on the Previous Homestead property - this is your Homestead assessment difference; second, divide the assessment difference by the Just Value of the Previous Homestead property – the result is your Portability factor. Your Portability factor is then multiplied by the Just Value of your New Homestead property to determine your actual Portability value that will be deducted from the new property's Just Value. You may use the portability calculator at the top of any property record page to see an estimate of how this would work -- or use our generic portability calculator to get a general idea of the numbers. However, we suggest you use the calculator linked at the top of the specific property you are interested in to get a more accurate estimate.


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PORTABILITY - How does "upsizing" work?

Upsizing occurs when your New Homestead Property has an equal or greater Just (Market) Value than your Previous Homestead property’s Just Value from the last year you held a Homestead exemption there. When you upsize, you transfer the full Portability value (up to $500,000) from your Previous Homestead property. To determine your Portability value from your Previous Homestead property: deduct your Save Our Homes Value from your Just Value for the last year you held a Homestead exemption on the Previous Homestead property – this is your "Homestead Assessment Difference", or your Portability value. Your Portability value then transfers to your New Homestead property, where it is deducted from the new property’s Just Value, thereby lowering the new property’s assessed value. You may use the portability calculator at the top of any property record page to see an estimate of how this would work -- or use our generic portability calculator to get a general idea of the numbers. However, we suggest you use the calculator linked at the top of the specific property you are interested in to get a more accurate estimate.


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PORTABILITY - What is homestead "portability" for Save Our Homes?

The "Save Our Homes" (SOH) Amendment in Florida’s Constitution was intended to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes due to rapidly rising real estate values. It met that goal, but caused many other problems along the way.

That is why Florida voters adopted a "portability" constitutional amendment in 2008 to allow eligible homesteaded owners to move savings from one property to the next. Homesteaded owners may now move their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit -- up to $500,000 -- from one homesteaded property to the next within Florida. To be eligible to move these SOH savings, the new Homestead must be established within two tax years of the "abandonment" of Homestead at the previously Homesteaded property. Owners of Homesteaded properties sold (or "abandoned as homestead") are eligible to move their SOH savings to a newly purchased property so long as the owner obtains homestead on the new property within the strict period allowed by law (see above). Portability applies to both upsizing and downsizing in value, based upon specified formulas. Portability may be used an unlimited amount of times and may be used for moves to anywhere within Florida. Portability does not require you to sell your previous home, but merely that you no longer claim it anywhere as your permanent residence.

If you are applying for a new Homestead Exemption AND you held a Homestead Exemption on a previous property within the last 2 tax-years anywhere in Florida, you should also submit a Portability application with your Homestead application. Note: a Portability application transfers any tax savings you have earned, but it does NOT transfer your Homestead Exemption from one property to another. You MUST first apply for a Homestead Exemption in order to be eligible for Portability. Click here to begin the online Homestead application process and you will automatically be prompted to print and complete a Portability application if your application information indicates you held an eligible Homestead exemption on a previous Florida property.



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PORTABILITY - Where did my portability savings from last year go, as nothing is listed this year in the portability box on my property record page and TRIM Notice?

A portability deduction is only posted to your property record page the first year that you receive your new Homestead exemption. The portability savings from the first year form the basis of your new Save Our Homes value on a going forward basis and -- in subsequent years -- will rise or fall based upon market just value changes and the 3% cap, as your new Save Our Homes value has incorporated your portability savings. When our website is updated to display subsequent year property values, your portability deduction is no longer shown independently because it is already factored into your new Save Our Homes value.

As to the annual Notice of Proposed Property Taxes ("TRIM Notice"), you will only receive the specific amount of your original portability deduction during the first tax-year your portability is approved and deducted from your property's value. After the first year, the "SOH Reduc./Portability" box on the TRIM Notice will display whatever is the running amount of the Save Our Homes differential between the Just/Market Value and your SOH 3% capped value. This number will rise, fall, or even entirely vanish (if there is zero differential) based upon actual market values each year.


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PROPERTY APPRAISER - What does the Property Appraiser' Office do?

Our office is responsible for properly assessing every parcel of real and taxable personal property in Broward County on the tax rolls every year. We also take applications for various tax-saving exemptions and make sure everyone receives all the exemptions to which he or she is entitled.

The Property Appraiser DOES NOT set your tax rates! The tax rates are set by the various "taxing authorities" (County Commission, School Board, City Commission, Water Management District, Hospital District, etc.) in whose jurisdiction your property lies. Likewise, our office does NOT collect taxes -- as your payments are sent directly to the Broward County Revenue Collection Division.

If you have any questions about the amount of your assessment, you should contact our office. Questions about tax rates (i.e., the amount of your taxes) should be directed to the taxing authority in question. You should contact the Broward County Revenue Collector if you have any questions about payment of taxes. You will receive a tax bill (or an information copy if your mortgage company receives the original) around November 1. If you do not receive a tax bill, your address may be incorrect. You can download a Change of Address form for your property by clicking here. Please contact Revenue Collection at 954.831.4000 for a duplicate tax bill.


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PROPERTY IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS - What is a "Parcel ID Number"? What is a "Folio Number"?

We assign every parcel of land in Broward County a unique number called a PARCEL I.D. NUMBER. The State of Florida is divided into geographic land measurements called "townships." These townships are based upon east and west lines every six miles (radiating outward from Tallahassee, which is the "zero township"). The townships in Broward County are South Townships 47, 48, 49, 50 and 51. There are north-south "range" lines every six miles (also beginning in Tallahassee). The ranges in Broward County are East Ranges 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43.Within each six mile square, are thirty-six "Sections", approximately one mile on a side, numbered 01 through 36.

The Folio Number -- which our office used for many years -- is a shortened version of the complete Parcel ID Number. Before recent upgrades, the office's aging mainframe computer system could not handle a property number with the full number of digits. Thus, the folio system was developed (dropping the first and third digits). So, a folio number beginning "0212" would describe land in Section 12, Township 50 South, Range 42 East. If you know the first four numbers of the folio, you know within a square mile where the property is located. The first four digits of folio numbers are the second digit of the township followed by the second digit of the range, and both digits of the section.

Many computerized commercial real estate systems use the complete number, so if you were in a broker's office looking for a property, you might use the number "504212" to begin finding the same property on that system.

The next two numbers of the Parcel ID tell quite a bit about the property. If the numbers are "00", it means you are looking for unplatted acreage. The first subdivision to be recorded in the section is assigned number "01", and so forth. So, if you have folio number 0212 00, you know you are looking at unplatted acreage in Section 12, Township 50 South, Range 42 East. The first condominium or co-op unit to be recorded in a section is lettered "AA"; the second is "AB", and so forth. So, from the middle numbers, we know if we are looking for unplatted acreage, land in a subdivision, or a condo or co-op.

The final three or four numbers tell us which parcel we are looking for. In subdivision "01", we begin numbering "001" for Lot 1 in Block 1, "002" for Lot 2 in Block 1, etc. Should Lot 1 be split, we would number the newly-created parcel "0011". So, Lot 1, Block 1 in Las Olas By the Sea Amended Plat, would be 0212 01 001.

If we miss improvements and make a back-assessment in a future year, we will typically create a new folio number for the back-assessment, which will typically be "xxx9".



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PROPERTY INFORMATION SURVEY – How can I complete the BCPA Property Information Survey?

The BCPA property information survey is a helpful tool used by our office to assist in correctly valuing your property and other similar properties. While completing the property information survey is purely voluntary, any assistance you can provide would help guarantee you pay no more than your fair share in taxes. Click here to complete your property information survey online. NOTE: To access the online survey, you will need to obtain your property’s unique PIN, which is available on your Homestead Renewal Notice mailed to you each January, or by contacting our office at or 954.357.6830.


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PROPERTY SURVEYS - Where can I find a copy of my property survey?

Unfortunately, the Property Appraiser's Office does not have copies of any property surveys. Owners are not required to file surveys with our office -- unless they are seeking to split-off an unplatted portion of their property -- so we very rarely see copies of any surveys. Contact your mortgage company, as it is possible they retained a copy of your survey.


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REFINANCING - Does refinancing a property cause it to be reassessed?

Refinancing a property does not cause it to be reassessed, nor does it re-set an existing Save Our Homes cap. However, keep in mind that ALL property is Florida is reassessed EVERY year -- regardless of whether it sells -- per Section 192.042, Florida Statutes. The reassessment value is based upon all of the qualified sales for like properties in the same or similar areas. A homesteaded property with Save Our Homes protection is also reassessed every year, in that the just (market) value will change -- although the taxable assessment cannot rise by more than 3% a year due to the Save Our Homes law.


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SALES - How can I find the recent sales in a neighborhood?

Using our PROPERTY SEARCH link (above), look up a property in the neighborhood you want to research. Once you are on a property record page, there are two convenient ways you can view all sales since January 2007 in any subdivision or condo. To view a list of all sales, simply look up a property and scroll down to the Sales History section on the page. Click the blue Search Subdivision Sales link to display all the sales.

The other option -- if you prefer a more visual approach -- is to use our VIEW MAP feature on the property record pages. Click on the VIEW MAP button at the top of the property record page. Once you reach the aerial for your chosen property, on the left side of the picture simply change the drop-box reading "No Sales" to "2014 Sales" and all 2014 sales will light up on the map. Prior year sales are also available with this map feature.


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SAVE OUR HOMES - Can someone "inherit" the Save Our Homes value when inheriting a family-owned property?

Florida law requires all property to be assessed annually at market value, unless it is protected by a Homestead Exemption (and the related Save Our Homes cap). A Homestead Exemption applies to specific persons at a specific location. In general, a person by law cannot "inherit" a Homestead Exemption (and Save Our Homes value) when s/he inherits ownership of the property. The only exceptions of specific persons allowed to "inherit" the existing Save Our Homes value are set forth in Section 193.155 (3), Florida Statutes:

A surviving spouse may retain the existing Save Our Homes value -- even if the survivor was not previously on title -- so long as the surviving spouse subsequently files for Homestead;

OR

The person inheriting the property -- or being granted a life estate or beneficial rights under a trust -- was a dependent of the decedent AND was permanently residing on the property at the time of the decedent's death.

In all other instances, the person inheriting the property must file for a new Homestead Exemption and lock in a new Save Our Homes value based upon the current just (market) value of the property in the year in which title was granted to the heir.


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SAVE OUR HOMES - How is the annual Save Our Homes percentage rate set?

Section 193.155(1), Florida Statutes, sets forth that beginning in 1995, or the year after the property first receives homestead exemption, an annual increase in assessment shall not exceed the lower of the following: (1) three percent of the assessed value of the property for the prior year; or (2) the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all urban consumers, US city average for the preceding calendar year as initially reported by the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) makes this statutory determination each January. Click here to view the DOR website page setting the annual SOH rates for each year since 1995. For 2014, the SOH maximum increase will be 1.5%.


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SENIOR EXEMPTION - Do I need to re-apply for my Low-Income Senior's Additional Exemption every year?

Yes. By Florida law, you must sign and return a renewal card to our office each year to maintain your Low-Income Senior Exemption. Once you have qualified for this exemption, our office will mail you a renewal card every year in early February.


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SENIOR EXEMPTION - How can I qualify for the Low-Income Senior's Additional Exemption?

Many Florida senior citizens are eligible to claim an additional exemption on Homesteaded property. This additional exemption -- which applies only to the County's portion of the taxes and city taxes for residents of cities that also adopted the additional exemption -- saves the average Broward senior nearly $300 each year in taxes. In order to qualify for the Low-Income Senior's Additional Exemption for this year, an applicant must be 65 or older as of January 1 of this year AND have a combined HOUSEHOLD adjusted gross income for last year (2013) not exceeding $27,994 (adjusted annually by the percentage change in the average cost-of-living index). Please click here to learn more about filing for the Senior's Additional Exemption.



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SENIOR LONG-TERM RESIDENCY EXEMPTION

LOW-INCOME SENIORS WHO MAINTAIN LONG-TERM RESIDENCY. Amendment 11 authorizes cities and the county to grant full homestead property tax relief to low-income seniors who have lived in their home for at least 25 years. In short, it would eliminate the entire ad valorem property tax bill for the county and/or city portion for qualifying seniors. Homeowners who meet ALL of the following requirements would be eligible: (1) aged 65 and older on January 1; (2) have a household income of less than $27,994 (adjusted annually); (3) own a home with a market value of less than $250,000; and (4) have lived in the home for at least 25 years. Your city commission and county commission must each pass the exemption by a supermajority vote before this exemption can be offered. So far, the cities of Miramar and Oakland Park have approved this additional exemption which applies to the city portion of the ad valorem property tax bill for qualified seniors for the 2014 tax year. To apply for this exemption, please visit our office or meet with a representative at one of our many outreach events in your area.



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SUBDIVISIONS - How many subdivisions are there in Broward County?

There are currently 15,229 subdivisions in Broward County (as of July 2013).


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TAX CERTIFICATES / TAX DEEDS - How can I bid on purchasing tax certificates and tax deeds?

The Property Appraiser does not collect the property taxes, as that work is done by Broward County Revenue Collector. Thus, it is the Revenue Collector who sells the tax certificates and tax deeds when delinquent taxes are owing. The Revenue Collector has a special website which handles all tax certificate and tax deed sales: BidBroward.com.


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TAX CERTIFICATES / TAX DEEDS - How can I learn more about buying tax certificates and tax deeds?

The Property Appraiser neither collects the property taxes nor sells the tax certificates and tax deeds. That is done by the Broward County Revenue Collector. The Revenue Collector publishes online info on tax certificates and tax deeds: Revenue Collector's Tax Certificates FAQ and Revenue Collector's Tax Deeds FAQ.


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TAXES - Can I pay my tax bill in installments?

Our office does NOT send out the tax bills -- nor do we collect the tax payments. The office you need to contact is the Broward County Revenue Collection Division (telephone: 954.831.4000). The Revenue Collection Division does have an installment plan for taxpayers. You can read more about their installment plan by clicking here.


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TAXES - How can I appeal my non-ad valorem assessment?

The short answer is that there is no "appeal" of the non-ad valorem assessments and fees. Examples of these non-ad valorem items include city fire/rescue assessment, city solid waste assessment, storm water assessment, and so on. Instead, the law provides the taxing authorities (your city, community development district for infrastructure, etc.) leving these non-ad valorem assessments must hold noticed public hearings before fixing these annual rates. The information on these hearings is set forth in the TRIM Notice of proposed taxes we annually send to each property owner every August. Attend the hearings and speak up if you have concerns over these assessments.


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TAXES - How can I calculate the estimated taxes on a house I want to buy?

That's easy. If you do not have any Save Our Homes savings to move to your new property, simply click here and follow the easy instructions. However, if you have Save Our Homes savings to move to your new property due to portability, you should instead use our portability calculator. Both these calculators probably skew slightly high in most circumstances with the estimated amount -- but that conservative figure will better help with your mortgage planning. Note: Neither of these calculators include any amount for the non-ad valorem fees on your property that the city or local taxing districts charge, so be sure to add roughly $100-350 to the total for single-family residential properties to get a more accurate total. You can see the non-ad valorem fees for a specific property by viewing the online TRIM notice for the most recent year.


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TAXES - How can I determine the seller's pro rata share of taxes this year for the home I'm buying?

Generally, in typical real estate transactions, the seller is responsible for a pro rata share of the property taxes for the year in which the property is sold. In most circumstances, the closing statement apportioning property taxes is calculated using the amount of last year's total taxes. This is not particularly accurate, as both assessed values and tax rates change from year-to-year. For the current year, the buyer will inherit the exemption status of the seller at the time of sale. For example, if the property had a homestead exemption at the time of purchase, that exemption and the Save Our Home assessed value will remain on the property for the current tax year. The exemptions, if any, will automatically expire at the end of the year in which the property was sold -- so be sure to quickly apply for exemptions (if you are eligible) on your new home.

Read your closing statement carefully BEFORE completing the closing transaction. The closing statement will give the buyer a credit for the seller's pro rata share of the current year taxes (note: these are not actually paid in cash to the buyer -- nor paid in taxes to the County in advance -- but are deducted from the amount the buyer must pay to the seller at closing). The buyer is responsible for paying the ENTIRE current year tax bill when the Revenue Collector mails it in November. The year following your purchase, we will reassess your property at approximately 90% of your purchase price. We will then deduct from your assessment any new exemptions you have applied for and been approved for on the new home.

The New Homebuyer's Tax Calculator on our website gives you an estimate of your taxes for next year based on the tax rates of LAST YEAR -- so these numbers will certainly change before you receive the tax bill in November of next year. We only learn the proposed new (current year) tax rates in August of each year, shortly before the TRIM Notices of Proposed Taxes are mailed to owners. We simply have no way of knowing or estimating the tax rates for next year as our office does not set the tax rates or collect the taxes. Those rates are set by the County and City Commission, the School Board, Hospital District, and other taxing boards.


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TAXES - How can I find my tax bill?

You can look up your current tax bill and view the tax payment history for recent years for any property in Broward County by clicking on the blue-colored word Tax on any property record page on our website. Clicking there will take you directly to the Tax Collector's website. Click here to research tax bills on the Tax Collector's website. Note: The Property Appraiser is entirely independent of the Tax Collector. If you have questions for the Tax Collector, please call her office at 954.831.4000.


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TAXES - How can the assessed value on my homestead go up when my just value went down?

Under Florida law, a "recapture" provision may cause your taxable value to rise on a homesteaded property even if your market value dropped from last year. If you have homestead and your "Save Our Homes" (SOH) value is less than the just (market) value, state law requires that your overall assessed value increase each year by the 3% annual cap level until it eventually reaches the same amount as the market value. Click here to view the applicable law. Roughly 40,500 Broward homeowners unfortunately experienced the recapture effects of this law in 2013, 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.


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TAXES - How do I get a copy of my tax bill?

The Broward County Revenue Collection Division sends out the tax bills by November 1 of each year. If you have an escrow account with your mortgage company, the bill is sent directly to the mortgage company and you are sent a courtesy copy. If you want to obtain a copy of your tax bill, please contact the Revenue Collection Division at 954.831.4000. You may also research your tax bill and recent payment history on the Revenue Collection Division website.


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TAXES - My neighbor and I have identical homes, so why are my taxes so much higher?

"... The homes are identical, both were built in the same year and sit on identical sized lots. My neighbor bought her house six years ago and I just purchased my home last year. My estimated tax bill for this year is $10,530 -- but my neighbor’s bill is only $6,220. There must be a mistake!"

Unfortunately, we frequently hear this from owners. A provision in Florida’s Constitution -- the "Save Our Homes" Amendment -- causes this disparity and confusion. Overwhelmingly adopted by Florida voters, Save Our Homes was intended to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes in the face of rapidly rising real estate values. The Save Our Homes cap limits increases in assessed value of Homesteaded properties to no more than 3% per year -- regardless of how much more the properties increase in market value.

Because of this, Florida law favors owners -- during years of rising values -- who stay in their Homesteaded property for many years. The longer you stay and the more your property rises in market value, the more you’ll save. If you purchased your home last year and obtained Homestead for this year, your new assessed value is based upon your sale price and other recent sales. Thus, the market value and assessed value of your property are identical this year. Next year, you’ll likely see the market value climbing at a rate much higher than your assessed value. Your taxes will never drop to the level of your neighbor because of Save Our Homes -- but, when she sells her home, you should see the next buyer paying quite a bit more in taxes than you.


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TAXES - What is a "Nuisance Abatement" assessment on my proposed tax bill?

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, several Broward cities have adopted "Nuisance Abatement" non-ad valorem assessment (fee). The "Nuisance Abatement" fee covers the costs for the city to maintain an abandoned property. Every time the city cuts the grass, cleans the pool, repairs the fence, etc., the city charges a fee. These fees, per city ordinance, are converted each year to a non-ad valorem assessment which appears on the annual tax bills. This ensures the taxpayers are reimbursed for the costs the city incurred in maintaining abandoned, private properties.


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TAXES - What is a "TRIM Notice"?

In 1980, the Florida Legislature passed the "Truth In Millage" (TRIM) law. The law is designed to inform you of your rights as a taxpayer. Our office mails TRIM Notices to every property owner of record each year in mid-August. To protect your rights as a taxpayer, the TRIM Notice tells you:

1. The proposed market value and assessed value of your property this year as compared to last year;

2. Tax-saving exemptions, if any, on your property this year and last year; and

3. The tax amounts and special fees proposed by each of your various taxing authorities (School Board, County Commission, City Commission, etc.); a comparison of the proposed new taxes versus last year’s taxes; and the locations and dates of the public hearings where you can voice your views on the proposed rates.

If you believe the proposed TAXES are too high: Exercise your rights as a citizen by speaking out. Attend the public hearings listed on the TRIM Notice. Let your elected officials hear from you! (Note: The Property Appraiser does NOT set any tax rates.)

If you believe the ASSESSED VALUE of your property is higher than the fair market value: Contact our office to discuss your property’s value with one of our Deputy Appraisers. If we are not able to quickly resolve the matter, you must file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board by the mid-September filing deadline. Likewise, if an EXEMPTION is missing from your property, please contact us immediately before the mid-September filing deadline expires.

IMPORTANT: If you wait until you receive your tax bill in November, it will be TOO LATE to make any changes to your assessed value and the tax rates.


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TAXES - When do I get my tax bill? What if I don't get one? Can I pay it online?

The Broward County Revenue Collection Division sends out the tax bills by November 1 of each year. If you have an escrow account with your mortgage company, the bill is sent directly to the mortgage company and you are sent a courtesy copy. After November 1, you may also pay your property taxes online using the above link to the Revenue Collector.

If you do not receive a bill, it is your duty under the law to go to the Revenue Collector's office, find out the amount of taxes owing, and to pay them. If you don't pay them by April 1 of the following year, the Revenue Collector's Office will sell a tax certificate to an investor -- and this will cost you extra dollars to resolve. Don't let that happen!

We send all property-related notices to the address shown on the deed by which you obtained title to your property, unless you notify us otherwise. If you address changes, please notify us promptly.


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TAXES - Who sets my taxes?

The amount of your tax bill depends on two factors. The first is the assessed value of your property, which is our responsibility. The second is the tax rate, expressed as dollars per thousand, for each taxing body in which your property is located. For example, your property might be subject to taxes by Broward County, the School Board, a City, a Hospital District and multi-county districts such as the South Florida Water Management District. The sum of each of these tax rates is multiplied by your assessed value and equals the amount of taxes you are called on to pay. If you believe your assessment is too high, contact our office. If you think your taxes are too high, contact the governing body of the jurisdiction in question. Each taxing body is required to hold two hearings before they set the tax rate. They welcome responsible comments from taxpayers like you when setting their budgets and tax rates.


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TAXES - You processed a correction to my tax bill. When will I get the refund check?

While our office processes the corrections paperwork, the Broward County Revenue Collection Division is responsible for issuing the refund payments. The Revenue Collection Division typically issues refund checks 8-10 weeks after our office prepares the paperwork.

Note: Refunds involving previous tax years must also be approved by the Florida Department of Revenue in Tallahassee. This can often add an additional delay to the processing time.



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TIMESHARES - How can I find my timeshare deed?

For timeshares recorded in 1978 or later, click here to visit the Broward County Recording Division website. For deeds recorded prior to 1978, you may have to visit the Broward County Records Division in person. Call them at 954.831.4000 for more information about researching pre-1978 deeds.

Once on the Records search screen, type your name (example: Smith, Jane) in the "Name" field as it would have appeared on your deed. You can use a partial name search, if you are not sure if you used middle initials, etc. In the "Document Search" field, type "AGR" (this stands for Agreement, and is how the Interval Deed -- a special kind of timeshare deed -- is identified on the County Records website). Leave the date fields as you find them and then click the "Search Records" button.

The result will be a list which includes all timeshares sold to anyone with a name like yours (if your name does not appear and you have a co-buyer on the deed, try searching by his/her last name instead). Sort through the list to find your document, then click on the link to reveal the deed. When you find your unit number, simply follow the timeshare search directions here to find the Parcel ID for your development.


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TIMESHARES - How can I find my timeshare development Folio/Parcel ID number?

Go to the PROPERTY SEARCH menu, click on the TIMESHARE search button and you will be taken to a complete list of all the timeshare developments in Broward County. Clicking on the blue number to the left of your timeshare's name will reveal the folio number for the development.



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TIMESHARES - Why can't I find my timeshare unit using the "owner name" property search for my name?

Timeshares are not updated in the Broward County Property Appraiser's system by individual ownership names -- unlike individual condominium unit owners per DOR guidelines we no longer assign folio number for the individual timeshare units.

Florida Statutes and DOR guidelines direct us to list each timeshare development on the assessment roll as follows:

“The combined individual time-share periods or time-share estates of a time-share property as contained in a single entry on the tax roll.” (12D6.006(4)(a),F.A.C.)

“The assessed value of each timeshare development shall be the value of the combined individual timeshare periods or timeshare estates contained therein.” (Section 192.037(2), F.S.)

This means the management company gets the tax bill each year, and not the individual owners. For this reason, the management company is listed as the "owner" in our online records. We do not record or track who owns each individual week, so you will not find your name in our property records.



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TIMESHARES – How can I find my timeshare unit number?

Don't have an assigned unit number? Think you only have points? Can't find your unit listed? If your unit number was assigned at the time of purchase, you should be able to locate it on your deed in the Broward County Public Records by following the directions here. NOTE: If you've never had a specific unit number assigned, or if you've only been assigned points, or if your building's address does not appear in our records, please contact your timeshare management company directly to determine which unit they have assigned to you. Once the unit number is known, you can follow the directions above to find the Parcel ID for your timeshare development located in Broward County.



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TPP - Do we need to file a TPP return if we are a church, school or non-profit group?

If you are a church, school, or other non-profit entity which may be eligible for a total exemption from TPP and/or real property taxes, please click here to read more about these special exemptions.


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TPP - How can I obtain a tangible personal property return (DR-405 Form)?

If you did not receive a return in the mail, please click here to download a copy of the DR-405 form. Be sure your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Social Security Number, and the Property Appraiser's account number (####-###-X) appear on the return you file. Please contact us at 954.357.6836 if you do not know your account number. If you operate under a DBA (Doing Business As) name, please indicate the legal name of the entity and the DBA.


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TPP - How do I file for the $25,000 exemption on tangible personal property?

If you are a business owner required to file a tangible personal property tax return, your return also serves as your application for the exemption. No additional application form is required.


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TPP - Is there a minimum value that I do not have to report?

There is no minimum amount that exempts you from the filing requirements. You must report all tangible personal property. However, if your resulting tax amount is less than $30, you will not receive a tax bill.


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TPP - Must I report tangible personal property that belongs to someone else, or which I furnish to another business?

Yes. Page 2 of the return requires you to list property used in your business which is owned by others. Typical examples are postage meters, telephone systems, copiers, etc. If you own tangible personal property that you lease to others and is typically located in Broward County, you must report this property on Page 1, line 22 of your return.


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TPP - What are the TPP filing deadlines? What are the non-filing penalties?

Your return must be filed with our office by April 1 (pursuant to Section 193.062, Florida Statutes). If you are unable to file your return before April 1, you may file a request for a 30-day extension. Pursuant to Section 193.063, Florida Statutes, this request must be filed in a reasonable amount of time BEFORE the April 1 deadline so our office may act upon it in a timely manner before the due date.

After April 1, if you did not make a timely request for extension, we are required by state law (Section 193.072, Florida Statutes) to apply a penalty of 5% per month (up to a maximum of 25%) for late-filed TPP returns, a 15% penalty for unreported property, and a 25% penalty when no return is filed.


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TPP - What happens if I do not file a TPP return?

Even if a tax return is not timely filed by April 1, we are still required to assess all tangible personal property. We will make our best estimate based on similar equipment and assets owned by other similar businesses. The assessment will also include a 25% penalty for non-filing -- so it is in your best interest to file a timely return every year.


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TPP - What if I buy or sell an existing business during the year?

Tangible personal property taxes constitute a lien against the property, and are not a personal obligation of the owner. If you buy tangible personal property during the year, you should obtain a copy of paid tax bills for prior years and the seller's return and make an agreeable proration of the current year's taxes. Most title companies do not search the public records for unpaid tangible personal property taxes. You must report the property at your cost rather than your seller's cost. Please furnish our office with any allocation of purchase price documents, including I.R.S. Form 8594 (Allocation of Purchase Price), if the personal property was acquired with other assets.


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TPP - What if I don't agree with the assessed TPP value that appears on my TRIM Notice of proposed property taxes?

Each year, we send a TRIM Notice of proposed property taxes listing your assessment for that year. If you have any questions about the value, we encourage you to call our office at 954.357.6836 to discuss your assessment. If you have information that the appraised value is higher than the market value of your property, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you and review all of the pertinent facts. If, after speaking with us, you are still not satisfied, you have 25 days from the August mailing date of the TRIM Notice to file a petition with the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB). This deadline is always in mid-September of each year. Click here to read more about the VAB appeal process.


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TPP - What if I have no Tangible Personal Property to report?

Almost every business owner has some personal property to report, even if it is only supplies, rented/leased equipment or fully depreciated/expensed property. If your total tangible personal property is worth under $25,000 -- the amount exempted by law -- your initial TPP tax return is also treated as your application for exemption. Thus, by filing, you are automatically applying to have the first $25,000 of your TPP items be exempt from taxation.


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TPP - What if I was sent more than one tax return?

You must file a return for each physical location in Broward County where you have tangible personal property. You will notice that the account numbers are different on each return. Even if you have sold the business or no longer have tangible personal property at a particular location, you must return the form with an explanation.


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TPP - What is Residential Personal Property (RPP)?

If you own residential rental property, what would normally be household goods if you were living there such as stoves, refrigerators and furniture becomes taxable Tangible Personal Property which must be reported each year. All Tangible Personal Property must be reported, even if it has been fully depreciated or has been "expensed" on your books.


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TPP - What is Tangible Personal Property (TPP)?

According to Section 192.001, Florida Statutes, "Tangible Personal Property" means all goods, chattels, and other articles of value capable of manual possession and whose chief value is intrinsic to the article itself.

Inventory held for resale and household goods for the owner's personal use are exempt from taxation.

While real property is not subject to taxation as Tangible Personal Property, many items such as signs, parking lot bumpers, exterior lighting, alarm systems and leasehold improvements are taxed as personal property.

The comprehensive guidelines for the assessment of Tangible Personal Property are determined by the Florida Legislature and are enforced by the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR). Click here to view the DOR Tangible Personal Property Appraisal Guidelines.



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TPP - Who must file a Tangible Personal Property return?

Any person or entity that owns or possesses Tangible Personal Property located in Florida, as of the January 1 tax assessment date, must file a DR-405 tangible property return with the Property Appraiser in the county where the property is (or was) physically located on the assessment date.


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TPP - Why was I sent a Tangible Personal Property return?

You either filed a return last year showing a total TPP value in excess of $25,000 or our office believes you have property that should be reported. Please contact our TPP Division at 954.357.6836 if you have any questions.


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VALUATION - Does the bed/bath count in your records impact my property's assessed value?

Generally, the answer is no. The bed/bath count is largely for informational purposes only. As the Property Appraiser is a "mass appraiser" per state law, we use the adjusted square foot size of the building improvements to form the building value. Thus, a 2,000 square foot house is treated as simply a 2,000 square foot house for our assessment purposes, regardless of the number of bedrooms or bathrooms.


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VALUATION - How do we appraise your property?

Every year, we examine the market in all types of property. We look at income and expense information from income-producing properties. Additionally, we look at construction costs, particularly for properties that don't often sell. This information is used in our Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system which helps our highly skilled residential and commercial appraisers value your property.

We rely heavily on the forms which are presented to the Broward County Recording Division when deeds are recorded. Those forms tell us whether there was personal property or unusual terms of sale involved with a particular transaction. The documentary stamp tax on deeds only applies to real estate, so buyers and sellers of property should be certain not to stamp the deed for anything other than real estate.


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VALUATION - How does the 10% non-homestead assessment limitation cap work? Do I need to apply for it?

No, you do not need to apply for it. It is automatically applies to all non-homesteaded properties. Further, the cap automatically resets any time the property is sold or ownership otherwise transfers. As to how the cap works, the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) created a helpful document explaining how the 10% cap applies in various situations, and answers many common questions. Click here to view the DOR document.


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VALUATION - My neighbor and I have identical homes, so why are my taxes so much higher?

Here's a common story we hear: "My neighbor and I own identical homes. Both were built in the same year. Both sit on identical sized lots. My neighbor bought her house six years ago and I just purchased my home last year. My estimated tax bill for this year is $10,530 -- but my neighbor’s bill is only $8,220. There must be a mistake!"

Unfortunately, we hear this story several times a day. A provision in Florida’s Constitution -- the "Save Our Homes" Amendment -- causes this disparity and confusion. Overwhelmingly adopted by Florida voters, Save Our Homes was intended to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes in the face of rapidly rising real estate values. The Save Our Homes cap limits increases in assessed value of Homesteaded properties to no more than 3% per year -- regardless of how much more the properties increase in market value.

Because of this, Florida law favors owners who stay in their Homesteaded property for many years. The longer you stay and the more your property rises in market value, the more you’ll save. In 2013, the average Broward homeowner with Homestead saved $620 in taxes because of Save Our Homes (plus between $640 to $1,152 -- depending upon the millage rates in your city -- in additional tax savings from the $50,000 Homestead Exemption itself). If you purchased your home last year and obtained Homestead for this year, your new assessed value is based upon your sale price and other recent sales. Thus, the market value and assessed value for your property are identical this year. Once market values start increasing again, you’ll likely see the market value climbing at a rate much higher than your SOH-protected assessed value. Your taxes will likely never drop to the level of your neighbor because of Save Our Homes -- but, when she sells her home, you should see the next buyer paying quite a bit more in taxes than you.



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VALUATION - What is "just value"?

The Florida Constitution requires us to value all property at its "just value." The Florida Supreme Court settled the matter by ruling in the 1965 case of Walter v. Schuler that "just value" is the same as "market value." Market value is the cash amount a hypothetical willing buyer would pay for your property to a hypothetical willing seller on the open market under normal financial conditions (and minus a reasonable cost of sale). Thus, the actions of people who buy and sell property like yours set the value of your property. The just values displayed on our property records were set in compliance with Sec. 193.011, Fla. Stat., and include a reduction for costs of sale and other adjustments required by Sec. 193.011(8).



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VALUATION - What is the average market value of a single family home? Condo?

The most recent statistics we have are for Tax Year 2013. The average market value for a single family residence (non-condominium) was $219,766. The average market value for a condominium unit was $105,181.


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VALUATION - Why do some building values on your website appear to be zero (or far below market value)?

This is due to a requirement of Section 192.042, Florida Statutes, which states:

"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."

Thus, Florida law requires that a building under construction be assigned zero value for tax purposes until the building is substantially completed. Once a building is substantially completed as of the January 1 assessment date, the building value will be added to the tax roll starting in that tax year.

In the case of larger condo and office projects, one structure may be substantially complete prior to the entire project being completed. In those circumstances, just the structure substantially complete as of January 1 will be added to the tax roll then. The value for the remainder of the structures on the same property will be added in the following tax years in which they were deemed substantially complete.


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VALUATION - Why doesn't my recent purchase price match the proposed market value assessment for this year for my home?

Per Florida law, assessments in Florida are done a year in arrears with January 1 being the statutory date for determining the annual assessment (i.e., what the property was worth as of January 1, 2014). This means your 2014 assessment is based on the qualified sales in your area of like properties during January 2, 2013 through January 1, 2014. Greater weight is placed on sales which occurred later in the year and closer to the assessment date. Adjusting for reasonable costs of sale and other statutory factors, we roughly value property at 90% of actual market prices for our assessment purposes. A purchase in 2014 will NOT be part of the market pool for determining the 2014 assessment. Instead, it will be part of the market used for 2015 assessments.


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VALUATION - Will my assessment go up every year?

That would depend largely upon the real estate market. In most instances -- and especially with residential properties -- your assessment is based upon market sales of comparable properties in the same or similar neighborhoods. The actions of people who buy and sell properties like yours determine the value of your property. We analyze the sales data to make our best estimate of what a buyer would pay for your property in an arms-length transaction on the open market. Even if you are not looking to sell your property, it still has a market value.


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VALUATION - You are using the wrong purchase price, as there were furnishings included in the sale. How do I get this corrected in your records?

If your purchase price (as reflected in the doc stamps paid when you recorded your deed) included furnishings, etc., please provide us with a copy of the closing statement or contract which explicitly sets out a separate amount paid for those items. We need proper documentation in order to consider any adjustment below the recorded sale price. Keep in mind, under Florida law, the document stamp tax paid when the deed was recorded was only supposed to reflect that portion of value paid for the real property (land, building and fixtures) -- and not for any tangible property (furnishings and other non-fixtures).


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VETERANS EXEMPTION - What are the requirements for a Veteran's Exemption?

There are three different types of Veteran's Exemptions. With the exception of the $5,000 Veteran's Disability Exemption, a Homestead Exemption is required as a pre-condition for obtaining any of the following additional exemptions:

$5,000 VETERAN'S DISABILITY EXEMPTION. What we need: A copy of your Certificate of Disability from the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (or its predecessor agency). The disability must be military service-related and incurred during a period of wartime service or by misfortune. The service-related disability must be to a degree of at least 10% before January 1 of this year. The surviving spouse of an eligible disabled veteran may also claim this exemption, provided he/she has not remarried, and the deceased veteran was a Florida permanent resident at the date of death.

ADDITIONAL EXEMPTION FOR COMBAT-WOUNDED FLORIDA DISABLED VETERANS. This exemption provides an additional discount from the amount of property taxes on the homestead of a partially or totally permanently disabled veteran, age 65 or older as of January 1, whose disability was combat-related. Under this new law, a veteran will receive a total exemption from property taxes equal to the percentage of combat-related disability (example: a 60% combat-related disability would exempt 60% of the total value of the homesteaded residence from ad valorem property taxes). Please provide us with documented proof your disability was combat related (i.e., copy of Purple Heart Medal award paperwork), a certificate from the US Government or US Department of Veterans Affairs attesting to the percentage of your permanent disability.

FULL EXEMPTION FOR VETERAN'S SERVICE-CONNECTED TOTAL AND PERMANENT DISABILITY. What we need: A certificate from the US Government or US Department of Veterans Affairs. Any honorably discharged veteran with a service-connected total and permanent disability, surviving spouses of qualifying veterans and spouses of Florida resident veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the US Armed forces are entitled to an exemption on real estate used and owned as a homestead.

FULL EXEMPTION FOR TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED PERSONS. What we need: A certificate from two licensed doctors of this state or a certificate from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. To be entitled to this exemption, you must be a (1) quadriplegic or (2) paraplegic, hemiplegic or other totally and permanently disabled person who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who is legally blind. For persons entitled to this exemption under number two (2) above, the prior year (2013) gross income of all persons residing in or upon the homestead shall not exceed $27,289. This amount is adjusted annually and a statement of gross income must accompany the application.

For more information, please contact us at 954.357.6830.


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WEBSITE - How often is the website updated?

The website is updated once daily.


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WEBSITE - Should I use your site for title search purposes? Should I rely on all of the data displayed in property searches.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Our office makes every effort to produce and publish the most accurate and current information available. We change our ownership records based on deeds as recorded with the Broward County Recording Division. We are not an abstract company so we don't determine who has the better title to property if the public records conflict as to ownership. The assessed values shown here may not be the latest or certified values. We do not have any information as to whether taxes have been paid for any particular property; for this information, you should contact the Broward County Revenue Collector. Most of our dimensions (building and land) are "adjusted" in a consistent and accurate manner for use in our appraisal system, but are not the same square footages that would be measured with a tape measure. For example, if our records show a lot as having 110 front feet, the lot may actually be 100 feet on the street with an extra depth factor. Condominium & co-op square footages represent our best estimates of the 'under air' unit sizes, developed primarily from the original developer information and recorded documents. We invite property owners to help us improve our records by providing us with original materials (such as surveys, floor plans, brochures, etc.) if you believe that an adjustment to our posted figures is warranted. We are furnishing you this information without warranty, express or implied, of merchantability, fitness, fitness for any particular purpose, or accuracy.


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WEBSITE - Why does your website display my Social Security Number?

Actually, it is NOT our office displaying the Social Security Number (SSN) you saw online on your deed -- even though you followed a link from our website to view the deed -- because the website displaying your deed is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office. The website displaying your deed is operated by the Broward County Records Division (954.831.4000). To have County Records remove your SSN from the displayed documents, please click here to request they remove your SSN and other protected information.


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WIDOW/WIDOWER EXEMPTION - What is required to obtain this exemption?

A Homestead Exemption is required as a pre-condition for obtaining the $500 widow/widower exemption. To obtain this exemption, simply provide us with a copy of your spouse's death certificate, newspaper obituary or memorial card. This exemption saves a person roughly $10 each year in taxes.


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YEAR BUILT - Why do you display the "Year Built" data on a plain white screen?

Our office has received a steady stream of complaints from taxpayers regarding insurance companies (most frequently Citizen Property Insurance Corporation) erroneous use of Broward County Property Appraiser Office's "Effective Year" data to either deny coverage or justify increased premiums. We routinely receive complaints from taxpayers due to misinterpretation of ownership and homestead information on our website which has led to either a denial, or threat of denial, of insurance coverage.

Although our office uses an effective year to make adjustments to property assessments for renovation, additions, or other work performed on improvements, it is in no way a reflection how a property would fare in storm conditions, nor does it necessarily reflect the age of all structures on a parcel. The effective year merely reflects our opinion, for ad valorem tax assessment purposes, of the overall effective age of all improvements. It is in no way indicative as to whether the roof deck attachment, roof covering, roof to wall connectors, electrical, plumbing, or any other part of the improvements have or have not been updated to meet current building code standards.

Also, while we strive on a daily basis to update and verify the information contained in our system, the fact remains that there are inaccuracies on many properties as to the "Actual Year Built." We continue to make every effort on our own, and with the assistance of property owners, to check and correct our information as necessary, but during this process insurance companies have relied on our actual year built information, without further independent verification, to cancel policies and raise rates of our taxpayers.

Because of misuse of the "Effective Year" and "Actual Year Built" data by insurance companies, we now display the responsive years on generic white screens (without our office logo). No insurance inspection company or insurance company adjuster should use our data in lieu of an actual site inspection and review of actual records to ensure owners are fully credited for all eligible deductions.



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ZONING - How can I find the zoning or land use classification of a property?

Use the VIEW MAP button from the top of any property record page to access the aerial image of an area. Then -- using the view options displayed on the left side of the aerial image -- check the box labeled either City Zoning Code or County Land Use. The zoning/land use information will then be displayed on the aerial image. Click here to view a list of the definitions of the various city zoning designations. Click here to view a list of the definitions of the various County land use designations.


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Source: Broward County Property Appraiser's Office - Contact our office at 954.357.6830. Legal Disclaimer.

Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address
released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity.
Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.