Property taxes too high?
Death and Taxes….I’ll help with your property tax questions but the death part is out of my hands! BRACE yourself there’s math ahead…
How are property taxes calculated? I get this question a lot…like at least twice a week. This is how the final amount of your property taxes are calculated:
Market Value – Assessment Limits (SOH or 10% Non-Homestead Cap) =Assessed Value
What changes your assessed value? Primarily, current conditions in the real estate markets have a large impact on the valuation process and the final assessments. Even slight changes in the market can produce significant changes in the assessed value of your property and can lower (or raise) your property taxes. Bottom line if you are super excited about the house that sold down the street for a lot of money it may also be the reason you freak out when your assessed value goes up!
How can you challenge your assessed value? If you have found any of the following discrepancies in the county assessment records: land and building square footage, building depreciation rates, building quality rates, or building condition call and make an appointment with your tax appraiser or their assistant. DO NOT GO INTO THE MEETING READY FOR WAR. In my experience most county appraisers are hard-working folks who try and be fair to homeowners and being aggressive will not help your case. If you can not make head way with them and you have factual evidence of your discrepancies the next step is an official appeal.
Where to Appeal? You can appeal your home valuation by petitioning your county’s Value Adjustment Board on the Florida Department of Revenue Form DR-486. File your petition within 25 days after the tax appraiser mails you a notice of assessment. Call the tax appraiser’s office for details on what paperwork you need to submit and the deadline for such submissions. There will be a hearing where your evidence will be considered.
Useful Evidence for Your Appeal
In pursuing your appeal, several types of evidence may be useful, including:
- a recent appraisal of your home
- a contractor’s report showing repair work needed on your home and how much the work will cost
- documents showing actual sales prices in your neighborhood, and
- photographs of homes similar to yours, together with a list of their sales prices or taxable values.
At the hearing, you’ll probably have just five or ten minutes to present your case, so be succinct. Bring extra copies of your documentary evidence so that each hearing officer has a copy. Try to include a chart showing comparative sales prices and taxable values. You may want to arrive early so that you observe – and learn from – other people’s hearings.
SAVINGS on your tax bill that many don’t know about!
Have you or a family member lived in their home for awhile?
There is a tax benefit that is available to Pinellas homeowners that MANY just don’t know about, especially those who have lived in their homes for a long time. That benefit is portability, which is the ability to carry accrued property tax savings from one piece of property to another. Anyone who is thinking of either purchasing a larger home or downsizing to a smaller one should consider the potential property tax savings portability may give them.
Basically portability limits the annual increase in a property’s assessed value to no more than 3 percent, even if its market value increases more. Transfer of the benefit must be made within two years of giving up the original homesteaded property.
Homestead Exemption with Pasco, Pinellas and Hillsborough links!
Homestead exemption is a $50,000 tax exemption from the property’s assessed value. It is available on your primary home (and you must be on the title) on January 1 of the taxable year. The first $25,000 is entirely exempt. The second $25,000 is to be applied to the value between $50,000 and $75,000, and does not include school taxes. For example: If a home’s assessed value is $75,000 or more, the owner would receive the full $50,000 exemption benefit. If the property value is between $50,000 and $75,000, he or she would receive a pro-rated exemption amount. (Example: If the property value is $65,000, the additional exemption would be $15,000, for a total exemption amount of $40,000 (the original $25,000 plus the prorated amount of $15,000). The exemption results in approximately a $500 – $800 property tax savings to Florida residents.
If you like math (who does that – besides my husband) here’s are several examples for you!
Portability plus homestead examples:
A home with a market value of $162,000 (and an assessed value of $104,000 due benefits accrued yearly under the 3 percent cap) is eligible for $25,000 homestead exemption for the first $25,000 in property value and an additional $25,000 homestead exemption for the value of the property from $50,000 to $75,000. Thus, the home in this instance receives $50,000 in homestead exemption benefits. Under this scenario, the taxable value of the home is $54,000 (assessed value minus the $50,000 homestead exemption). The property now has a cap value of $58,000, which is the just/market value minus the assessed value.
Portability works for homeowners who either are purchasing a larger property or who are downsizing to a smaller property. In the previous example, if the homeowner purchases a larger home with a just/market value of $300,000, portability allows for a reduction in taxable value by the $58,000 cap value accrued on the previous home as well as the $50,000 in homestead exemption benefits, thus reducing the taxable value to $192,000.
If the homeowner in the first example purchases a smaller home with a just/market value of $125,000, they will receive a percentage of the $58,000 cap value, which is calculated by taking the just/market value of the new/smaller home ($125,000) and dividing it by the just/market value of the old home ($162,000) and multiplying that figure by the assessed value of the old home ($104,000). In this instance, the new cap value is $44,753. It is from this figure that the $50,000 homestead exemption is subtracted to arrive at a taxable value of $30,247.
Links to county homestead exemption filing:
Think your assessed value is right and feeling more helpless now?
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