for Broward Taxpayers
Act Now to Protect Your Rights as a Property Owner
Step 1: Carefully Read Your Proposed Property Tax Notice.
Many property owners ignore their NOTICE OF PROPOSED PROPERTY TAXES (“TRIM Notice”) until it is too late to challenge an assessment or question proposed tax rates. If you wait until you receive your bill in November to complain about your taxes, you will lose your right to file an appeal. The first thing to know is that your taxes are calculated using this formula: TAXABLE VALUE x TAX MILLAGE RATES + SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS = TAX BILL. The Property Appraiser determines the market value of your property. The Property Appraiser does NOT set any tax rates or collect taxes. Your tax millage rates and non-ad valorem fees are set by the various governmental taxing authorities (School Board, County Commission, City Commission, hospital district board, water management district, and others) listed on your TRIM Notice.
Step 2: Speak Up About Proposed Tax Rate & Fees.
Your 2012 TRIM Notice contains proposed TAX RATES set by the named taxing authorities (i.e., School Board, County/City Commission, etc.). Properties in Broward increased by 1.5% in taxable value this year on average countywide. Residents of 24 cities saw property values slightly increase this year, while only seven cities experienced property value declines. Due to tough economic concerns, some taxing authorities are proposing rate increases or service cuts. If you want to question your proposed tax rates, non-ad valorem fees/special assessments, or services being cut from local budgets, you should contact your elected officials who serve on those taxing authorities and attend the public hearings in September. Your TRIM Notice lists the hearing dates, locations and contact phone numbers for each taxing authority.
Step 3: Challenging Your Proposed Assessment.
Your TRIM Notice reflects our office’s ASSESSMENT of your property as of January 1, 2012, as required by Florida law. Your new assessment does not -- and by law is not supposed to -- reflect your market value today as of mid-2012. For most non-homesteaded property, the assessed value is identical to the property’s market value. For homesteaded property, your assessed value is your “Save Our Homes” value. The market value (“just value”) by law is determined a year in arrears by using a mass-appraisal process largely based upon sales of comparable properties during calendar year 2011. BOTTOM LINE: If you believe the market value of your property printed on the TRIM Notice is not what a buyer would have reasonably paid for your property on January 1, 2012, you must contact or visit our office or file a value petition by the September 18, 2012 deadline. Click here for our contact phone numbers and email addresses.
Why Some Homesteaded Owners Won’t See Taxes Drop As Values Drop
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. The Florida Department of Revenue set this year’s SOH cap rate at 3%. Roughly 90,400 Broward homeowners will see their taxable SOH values rise this year even though their market values dropped, due to this recapture law. The Florida Legislature has placed this issue on the November 2012 ballot as a constitutional amendment. If passed by voters next year, the amendment would allow the Legislature to change this law in 2013.
Property Values vs. Millage (Tax) Rates
If you don’t like what you see in your TRIM Notice, who should you call?
VALUES & EXEMPTIONS - The Property Appraiser is responsible for determining market values, assessed values, and applying exemptions and special classifications (non-profits and agricultural). If the VALUE is more than you believe a buyer would pay for your property -- or you applied for an EXEMPTION but it wasn’t printed on the TRIM Notice -- call the Property Appraiser’s office.
TAX RATES & SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS - If you think the amount of TAXES is too much, the MILLAGE RATE is too high, or the non-ad valorem FEES are too costly, you need to contact the taxing authorities (City Commission, County Commission, School Board, hospital district, etc.) listed on your notice. The Property Appraiser does NOT set your tax rates nor collect the taxes.
"How Can I Challenge My Appraised Value?"
If you think the market value for your property is wrong, the first thing you should do is call our office. One of our appraisers will be happy to speak with you, listen to your concerns, and discuss the data we used to reach the value. If there was a mistake, we'll correct it. If -- after speaking with us -- you still believe our value is inaccurate, we’ll explain the easy steps you can take to file an appeal with the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB), an independent and quasi-judicial review board. You can also avoid the "TRIM Season" crowds entirely by filing your VAB petition online (and paying the $15 filing fee) by the September 18 deadline on the VAB's special petition website at: http://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2012. You may also contact the VAB directly or by telephone at 954.357.7205 or 954.357.5367, or by visiting their office at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 120, Fort Lauderdale.
Did You Forget to File for a 2012 Exemption or Portability?
You still have time to claim tax savings if you forgot to file for a 2012 Homestead Exemption, Portability, or other exemptions (widow/widower, low-income senior, disability, disabled veterans, deployed military, non-profit institution, etc.) for which you were eligible as of January 1, 2012. Simply visit our office by the September 18, 2012 deadline and file an application for the appropriate exemption(s). For Homestead, you may also use our Online Homestead Filing system before the deadline, instead of visiting us. Other exemption application forms may be obtained from the Download Forms page of our website. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it cuts your tax bill. Also, please contact us immediately if you already applied for a 2012 exemption or portability transfer and it is not shown on your TRIM Notice. Please note: Due to Florida law, the September 18 deadline is now the absolute cut-off date -- no exceptions -- for "late filing" a fully complete application for a 2012 exemption. All incomplete 2012 applications on file with our office after the September 18 deadline will be automatically treated as applications for 2013.
Attention: US Military Service Members
If you were on ACTIVE DUTY status OUTSIDE of US borders in designated support of either Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Noble Eagle or Odyssey Dawn during 2011, and you have homestead in Broward, please contact us by September 18, 2012, to apply for the very valuable extra exemption for deployed military service members.
Special Extended 2012 "TRIM Season" Office Hours
Please visit our office at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111, in downtown Fort Lauderdale to meet with an appraiser to discuss your assessment. Our office is open weekdays from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm. SPECIAL WEEKEND HOURS: Our office will also be open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on three Saturdays -- August 11, August 25 and September 15 -- to better serve working families.
Understanding the $50,000 Homestead Exemption
The 2008 constitutional amendment which doubled the Homestead Exemption to $50,000 is rather complex. By law the additional $25,000 of exemped value ONLY applies to the third $25,000 of assessed value, and does not apply to the school portion of your tax bill. If a Homesteaded property has a Save Our Homes assessment under $50,000, it does not receive any added benefit from the additional $25,000 exemption. Assessments below $75,000 only get a portion of the new savings. For example, a Homesteaded property assessed at $60,000 will receive only a $10,000 additional exemption as it is the only portion over $50,000.
Temporarily Away? New Mailing Address?
Please notify our office in advance if you place a postal forwarding order on a Homesteaded property so we can help protect your exemptions and avoid an accidental cancellation. Also, whenever your mailing address changes, please notify us so we can ensure you will always receive the vital assessment and tax notices you need.
Please Follow Our Office on Facebook and Twitter
Our office uses the popular online social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to help keep you updated on important news you need to know. Simply visit www.facebook.com/PropertyAppraiser and -- once you log-in -- click the "Like" button to get out online news updates and tax tips delivered to you via Facebook. To follow us on Twitter, please visit www.twitter.com/loriparrish, login, and click the “Follow” button.
Report Homestead Fraud
If you believe you have reliable information about someone engaging in fraud relating to exemptions or special property classifications, please call our Fraud Investigation Section at 954.357.6900 and we’ll check it out. Our office's investigators have already successfully added more than $1 billion in assessed value to Broward's tax roll because of your helpful tips!