Property Taxes and Your Rights as a Property Owner

amy vulpis_fort lauderdale real estate_broward-county-property-appraisersIf you are a property owner in Broward County, you should have already received your Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (or “TRIM Notice”); and, like a lot of people, might have wondered “What do I do with this?”  Per the Broward County Property Appraiser website these are the steps you can take to protect your property rights.

Step 1: 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 the proposed tax rates. If you wait until you receive your bill in November to complain about your taxes, you will lose your right to appeal. The first thing to know is your taxes are calculated using this formula:

TAXABLE VALUE x TAX MILLAGE RATES + SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS = TAX BILL.

amy vulpis_fort lauderdale real estate_SampleBill

The Property Appraiser determines the market value and Save Our Homes value of your property. The Property Appraiser does NOT set any tax rates or collect taxes.  Your tax rates and non-ad valorem fees are set by the various taxing authorities (School Board, County Commission, City Commission, hospital district board, water management district, and so on) listed on your TRIM Notice.

Step 2: Speak Up About Proposed Property Tax Rates and Fees.

Your TRIM Notice contains proposed TAX RATES set by the taxing authorities (i.e., School Board, County and City Commission, etc.). Properties in Broward increased on average by 7.24% in taxable value this year countywide. If you want to question your proposed tax rates, non-ad valorem fees/special assessments, or services, you should contact your elected officials who serve on the 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.

amy vulpis_fort lauderdale real estate_assessment-toolsStep 3: Challenge Your Proposed Assessment.

Your TRIM Notice reflects our office’s ASSESSMENT of your property as of January 1, 2014, as required by Florida law. Your assessment does not by Florida law reflect your market value today. 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 2013 less the cost of sale.

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, 2014, you must contact or visit our office or file a value petition by the September 17, 2014 deadline.

Assessment Limitations

Pursuant to Section 193.155(1), Florida Statutes, beginning in 1995, or the year AFTER your property first receives Homestead Exemption, the annual increase in assessment shall not exceed the lower of the following:

(1) 3% 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. Properties homesteaded in 2013 or before will receive a Save Our Homes assessment increase of 1.5% for tax year 2014.  Non-homesteaded properties will receive a 10% assessment cap which is applied automatically and does not require an application. A property is reassessed and the 10% cap is removed the year after the property is sold or ownership transfers. For additional information, please refer to the FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) on the BCPA website.

If you think the market value for your property is wrong, the first thing you should do is email or call the BCPA office (see below).  An appraiser will listen to your concerns, and discuss the data they used to reach the value. If there was a mistake, they’ll correct it. If after spamy vulpis_fort lauderdale real estate_axia value adjustmenteaking with them, you still believe the value is inaccurate, they can 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 filing fee) at the VAB’s special petition website at: http://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2014

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR TRIM NOTICE? PLEASE CONTACT BCPA:

RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY (SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES & TOWNHOMES):954.357.6831 (Scott Lewis, Supervisor – slewis@bcpa.net)

CONDO, CO-OP & TIME-SHARE PROPERTY:954.357.6832 (Maureen Morrison, Supervisor – mmorrison@bcpa.net)

COMMERCIAL REAL PROPERTY (including DUPLEXES):954.357.6835 (John McKean, Supervisor – jmckean@bcpa.net)

AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY:954.357.7114 (William Barringer, Manager – wbarringer@bcpa.net)

TANGIBLE (COMMERCIAL) PERSONAL PROPERTY:954.357.5424 (David Simpson, Supervisor – dsimpson@bcpa.net)

EXEMPTIONS AND ALL GENERAL QUESTIONS:954.357.6830 (Kelly Brown, Manager – kbrown@bcpa.net)

REPORT HOMESTEAD FRAUD:954.357.6900 (Ron Cacciatore, Director – rcacciatore@bcpa.net)

PROPERTY APPRAISER LORI PARRISH:954.357.6904 – lori@bcpa.net

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