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For a chart of this process, see the Local Government Property Tax Process infograph.
Florida’s Constitution requires property appraisers to establish the property tax base for their county annually. In doing so, property appraisers determine the just, or market, value of each parcel of property as of January 1 of each year. Then, they apply all valid exemptions, classifications and assessment limitations to determine each property’s taxable value, or relative tax burden. The property appraiser does not determine the property tax rate or the amount of property taxes levied.
Department of Revenue
The Department reviews the property tax rolls of each county in July and August of every year. These reviews are conducted to ensure the tax base established by the property appraiser is equitable, uniform, and in compliance with Florida law. The Department also reviews and approves each property appraiser’s annual budget.
Locally Elected Officials
Florida has more than 640 local governments that levy a property tax. These include cities, counties, school boards, and special districts. Each year, usually in August and September, locally elected officials in each jurisdiction set a millage, or tax, rate for the upcoming fiscal year, usually beginning on October 1. Millage rates for each jurisdiction are uniform across all property types.
Department of Revenue
The Department ensures that local government millage rates do not exceed state-mandated caps. In addition, the Department confirms that local governments properly and timely send notices and advertise public hearings to adopt millage rates and annual budgets.
Property Appraisers and Locally Elected Officials
In August, the property appraiser sends each property owner a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, or TRIM notice. This notice contains the property’s value on January 1, the millage rates proposed by each local government, and an estimate of the amount of property taxes owed based on the proposed millage rates. The date, time, and location of each local government’s budget hearing are also provided on the notice. This provides property owners the opportunity to attend the hearings and comment on the millage rates before approval.
Department of Revenue
The Department verifies that the information supplied to property owners is accurate and in compliance with Florida Truth-in-Millage requirements.
Value Adjustment Boards
Each county has a five-member value adjustment board, which hears and rules on challenges to a property’s assessment, classification, or exemptions. The value adjustment board is independent from the property appraiser and tax collector. Value adjustment boards cannot change the millage, or property tax, rates adopted by local governments.
Department of Revenue
The Department provides annual training to value adjustment boards. The Department also issues mandatory procedures and forms in order to promote fair, impartial, and uniform hearings for all taxpayers.
Following the adoption of millage rates by local governments, county tax collectors send annual property tax bills, usually in late October or early November. Full payment is due by the following March 31. Discounts of up to four percent are given for early payment.
Department of Revenue
The Department provides training and certification to tax collectors and their staff in order to promote uniform and cost-effective tax collection practices. The Department also reviews and approves the annual budgets of most tax collectors.
If a property tax bill is not paid by the following March 31, the tax collector sells a tax certificate on that property in order to collect the unpaid taxes. A tax deed may be sold if the property owner has not paid all back taxes, interest, and fees within two years. Tax collectors also process and issue refunds for overpayment of property taxes.
Department of Revenue
The Department assists those who have questions about the local property tax process. The Department also reviews property tax refunds of $2,500 or more to verify they were issued in accordance with Florida law.
The tax collector distributes property taxes to the local governments and taxing authorities. Roughly, 50 percent of Florida’s public education funding and 30 percent of its local government revenues come from property taxes.
After the first year a home receives a homestead exemption and the property appraiser assesses it at just value, the amount the assessment can increase for each following year cannot be more than 3% or the percent change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less.
This is called the “Save Our Homes” (SOH) assessment limitation. The accumulated difference between your assessed value and the just (market) value is your SOH benefit. Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution created this assessment limitation in 1995.
Even if the value of your home goes down, your tax assessment may increase, but only by this limited amount. It will never be more than the just value of your home.
Portability allows most Florida homestead owners to transfer (or “port”) their SOH benefit from their old homestead to a new homestead, lowering the tax assessment (and consequently, the taxes) for the new homestead. See sample calculations of amounts you can transfer.
|Just Value||– Assessment Limits||= Assessed Value|
|Assessed Value||– Exemptions||= Taxable Value|
|Taxable Value||X Millage Rate||= Total Tax Liability|
Example: Assume a homestead has a just value of $300,000, an accumulated $40,000 in Save Our Homes (SOH) protections, and a homestead exemption of $25,000 plus the additional $25,000 on non-school taxes.
The millage is 7 mills for county schools and 11 mills for all non-school taxing authorities combined (city, county, and special districts).
Read more on homestead and other property tax exemptions.
The property appraiser assesses all property at just value each year on January 1. When you acquire new real property, your assessed value is equal to the just (market) value.
If the property is your homestead and the just value increases, your next year assessed value cannot increase more than 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. This is true for all the following years, until you move or make improvements to your home. If the property is not a homestead, the assessed value increase is limited to 10% each year.
If your just value declines, your assessed value can increase each year until the assessed value is the same amount as the just value. However, the assessed value can never be more than the just value. (See s.193.155, F.S. and Rule 12D-8.0062 F.A.C.).
Generally, tax collectors send tax bills (Form DR-528) in November. Follow the instructions and send the payment to your county tax collector.
If your property has a mortgage and the mortgagee is the trustee for a tax escrow account, the tax bill will be sent to the mortgagee and a copy sent to you. Your mortgagee will pay the taxes from the escrow account.
If you pay your taxes early you will get a discount - 4% in November, 3% in December, 2% in January, and 1% in February. The amounts are calculated for you on your bill.
If you don’t pay your taxes, they become delinquent on April 1 and tax sale certificates will be sold on all unpaid items by June 1. See s.197.343, F.S. or contact your tax collector.
A person who is entitled to claim homestead tax exemption may choose to defer payment of part of the combined total taxes, including non-ad valorem assessments. You must file an annual application for tax deferral, Form DR-570, with your county tax collector by March 31, following the year when the taxes and non-ad valorem assessments were assessed. Approval for tax deferral will defer taxes that are more than 5% of last year’s household income. If last year’s household income was less than $10,000, all ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments will be deferred.
A permanent resident of Florida, 65 years or older, may defer that portion of the tax that is more than 3% of the household income for the previous year. If the household income for the last calendar year was less than the current income limit and the applicant is 65 or older, approval of the application can defer all ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments. However, the amount that can be deferred may be limited, depending on the amount of mortgages and other unsatisfied liens on the home.
If the tax collector denies your application for a deferral and you don’t agree with the denial, you may appeal to the county value adjustment board within 30 days after the tax collector sent the denial.
At the discretion of the tax collector, he or she may accept one or more partial payments for current taxes and assessments on real property or tangible personal property, as long as the payment is made before the delinquency date, usually April 1. A partial payment is not eligible for an early payment discount.
The taxpayer has the responsibility to ensure that the remaining amount due is paid. Any remaining balance not paid before April 1 becomes delinquent and is handled the same way as other delinquent taxes.
Taxpayers who want to prepay property taxes on the installment plan should file an application with the tax collector by May 1 of the year the taxes are assessed. After submission of an initial application, a taxpayer is not required to submit annual applications as long as he continues to elect to prepay taxes by installments.
Several types of local governments can levy property taxes to support the services they provide to people in a county, city, or other specific area. They are called taxing authorities and include counties, municipalities, school districts, and special districts such as water management, fire protection, mosquito protection or other special districts.
Before adopting a budget and setting a millage (tax) rate, taxing authorities must hold public hearings and follow the statewide truth in millage (TRIM) requirements. These meetings are the best opportunity for property owners to comment on taxing authority budgets and millages. Taxing authorities advertise meetings in local newspapers and usually post notices on local government websites.
See the TRIM pages of our website or contact your local taxing authority for more information.
The growth in revenue from property taxes assessed by taxing authorities is capped at a rate equal to the growth in Florida per capita personal income plus new construction, unless the governing board of the taxing authority overrides the cap with a super-majority, unanimous vote, or referendum.
Local governments (counties, municipalities, or special districts) can levy property for non-ad valorem assessments. These assessments are calculated on a unit basis, rather than on value. They are based on an improvement or service to the property such as drainage, lighting, or paving.
Proposed non-ad valorem assessments are usually included at the bottom of your Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, Form DR-474, but can be sent separately. They must go through the Truth In Millage (TRIM) hearing process if the assessment:
See section 197.3632, F.S. for the statutory requirements.
As a property owner, you have the right to appeal:
You may do any or all of the following:
You have the right to an informal conference with your property appraiser to discuss your value or application for a property exemption or classification. By having an informal conference, you may be able to settle the issue without going to a hearing or going to court. At this informal conference, you may:
Having an informal conference with the property appraiser does not extend your deadline to file a petition with the value adjustment board.
If you petition the VAB, you must still pay all your non ad valorem assessments and the required portion of your ad valorem taxes before they become delinquent, usually on April 1. For more information, see our VAB petition brochure.
For a description of the VAB timeline, see the VAB Calendar.
Petition forms are also posted on our taxpayer form site.
|To Request a hearing on:||File form:|
|Assessment or denial of exemption or classification||DR-486|
|Portability of homestead assessment difference||DR-486PORT|
|Denial of deferral or penalties||DR-486DP|
All forms should be submitted to the local clerk of the VAB, usually in the clerk of court’s office. Do not send petition forms to the Florida Department of Revenue.
You may file a lawsuit in circuit court to challenge the property appraiser’s assessment or denial of an exemption or classification. You are not required to participate in an informal conference with the property appraiser or file a petition with the value adjustment board before filing a lawsuit. Even if you do meet with the property appraiser or file a petition with the value adjustment board, you can still file a lawsuit. You must file within 60 days of the date of a VAB decision or the property appraiser’s certification of the tax roll, whichever is later.
|January 1||Date of assessment|
|March 1||Deadline for property owners to file with the county property appraiser for exemptions or agricultural or other classifications.|
|April 1||Deadline for owners of tangible personal property to file a Form DR-405 return with the county property appraiser|
|June to July||Property owners who want to appeal a denial of exemption, classification, portability, or tax deferral, must file a petition with the value adjustment board 30 days after the denial letter was mailed.|
|August||The property appraiser mails the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (Truth in Millage or “TRIM” form).|
|September||Property owners who want to appeal their property value to the value adjustment board must file a petition (one of the DR-486 forms) with the clerk of the court within 25 days of the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes.|
|September/ October||Property owners may provide input at taxing authorities’ public hearings to adopt a tentative budget and millage rate.|
|October/ November||Taxing authorities hold hearings to adopt final budgets and millage rates.|
|November||The tax collector sends your tax bills. See the section on payment options above.|
Detailed calendars are available for property appraisers, tax collectors, value adjustment boards, and the tax year (Ad Valorem and Non-Ad Valorem Calendar).
Any assessment for tax purposes that is less than the just value is considered a classified use assessment. An appraiser may assess property at lower-than-just-value if it meets the statutory requirements of one of the following uses.
|Agricultural land||s. 193.461, F.S.|
|Pollution control devices||s. 193.621, F.S.|
|High-water recharge||s. 193.625, F.S.|
|Historic property||s. 193.503, F.S.|
|Granny Flats||s. 193.703, F.S.|
|Conservation easements||s. 193.501, F.S.|