Florida Property Tax Assessment
In regard to Florida property tax assessment, all real and personal property in Florida and all personal property belonging to residents of Florida is subject to local property taxes, unless the property is specifically exempted. Property is assessed for each calendar year according to its value on January 1. The state is prohibited from imposing a property tax on real estate or tangible personal property. However the state does impose a property tax on intangibles. Real property is defined as land, buildings, fixtures and all other improvements to land.
Florida property tax assessment law requires that property is assessed at its just valuation, which is determined by considering the property's present cash value, highest and best use, location, size, cost, including the present replacement value of any the improvements, condition, and income, as well as the net proceeds of the sale of the property, after deduction of all reasonable fees and costs and allowing for unconventional financing arrangements. A County appraiser is required to physically inspect all property every five years, although the owner or taxpayer may request an earlier inspection.
In Florida property tax assessment law annual increases in the assessment of homestead (owner occupied) property are limited to 3% of the prior year's assessed value or, if lower, the percentage change in the consumer price index for the prior year, as long as there is no change in ownership during the prior year. Similar limitations apply to additions or improvements to homestead property and to replacement of damaged homestead property. All property is taxable at 100% of it's just valuation. Florida law does not provide for any property or class of property to be assessed at some lesser percentage of it's just valuation.
Each county assessment roll is submitted to the Florida Department of revenue by July 1, which reviews the role to ensure that it meets all the appropriate requirements of law relating to just value. After approved by the Department of Revenue the assessment or "trim" notices are mailed in August. Any taxpayer who objects to the assessment may request an informal conference with the property appraiser or a member of the appraiser staff, although such a conference is not a prerequisite for formal administrative or judicial review.
A taxpayer who objects to the assessment may file a petition requesting review by the local value adjustment board. In any taxpayer challenge of an assessments, the appraiser's assessment is presumed correct. In order to overcome the presumption the taxpayer must show that the assessor failed to consider all proper criteria or that the appraisal was based arbitrarily on practices different from those generally applied by the appraiser to comparable property. A petition for review of valuation issues must be filed no later than the 25th days following mailing of the notice of assessment.
In my experience equity is not considered a valid reason to appeal your Florida property tax assessment. The law says that you can show that the appraisal is based arbitrarily on practices different from those generally applied by the appraiser to comparable property in order to overcome the presumption of correctness. This sounds like equity, but it is very difficult to make the argument for commercial properties. The County appraiser has stratified the commercial properties in such a way that you don't know if you are comparing apples to apples.
Also, in my experience some counties are easier to work with than others. The smaller counties are usually more willing to work with you and come up with a value that both parties feel is reasonable without having to go to a value adjustment Board hearing. In counties like Duval, Orange, Hillsboro, Palm Beach, Broward and others they are more likely to be married to their values and not willing to negotiate.