Florida’s ever-changing ad valorem property tax system has become increasingly complex and confusing to taxpayers, real estate professionals and local officials. Answers to frequently asked questions may assist in the understanding of property assessment and administration.
The Florida Legislature created the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for Florida property owners (section 192.0105, Florida Statutes). It guarantees your rights, privacy and property are safeguarded during the assessment, levy, collection and enforcement of property taxes.
Market value is defined as the most probable sale price for a property in a competitive, open market involving a willing buyer and seller. The market value assessment is unencumbered and may increase or decrease as the market dictates.
Florida law charges the property appraiser with the task of valuing all property that is not immune from taxation, or otherwise expressly exempt from valuation. Pursuant to Article VII of the Florida Constitution and s. 195.042, F.S., all property shall be assessed according to its market value on January 1 each year. Additionally, the ad valorem (“according to value”) assessment process is governed by Florida law, including s. 193.011, F.S.
The property appraiser considers three generally accepted approaches in the development of market value estimates: the cost approach, sales comparison approach and the income approach. The applicability of each approach depends on the character of the property and the availability of market data.
Property taxes are calculated as follows:
Taxable Value x Millage (tax) Rate = Property Taxes
The taxable value equals the assessed value minus exemptions and is estimated as of January 1 (each year) by the property appraiser. The millage (tax) rates are determined by the various taxing authorities.
No, the property appraiser cannot lower your taxes or tax rates. Tax rates are set by your local taxing authorities, such as School Board, Board of County Commissioners, Water Management District (SJWMD), municipalities, and special voter-approved districts.
Homestead exemption is a $50,000 reduction in the assessed value of your home. It is granted to eligible property owners who: 1) possess legal or equitable title to real property; 2) are bona fide Florida residents living in the dwelling and making it their permanent residence on January 1; and 3) file an initial application by March 1.
The first $25,000 of assessed value is entirely exempt from taxes. The additional $25,000 exemption applies only to the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 and is not exempt from school district tax levies.
No, the assessed value of a property with an existing homestead exemption is capped – not the taxes.
In 1992, the voters of Florida approved Amendment 10, which is also known as the ‘Save Our Homes’ (SOH) amendment, that provided for limiting (“capping”) increases in existing homestead property valuations for ad valorem tax purposes (with the exception of properties with new construction, additions and/or renovations). The SOH cap limits the annual increase in the assessed value (not the taxes) of a homesteaded property to:
- a 3% assessed value increase from the prior year, or
- the percent change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower.
No, once the initial application has been approved (granted), the exemption will be automatically renewed each January and a renewal notice will be mailed to you (keep it as your receipt). If you are still eligible, no action is required. However, it is your responsibility to notify the property appraiser if your eligibility for exemptions has changed.
Yes, a property tax estimator is available on the Home Page under Quick Links.
Florida law requires annual assessments of all property. Real estate values are established by buyers and sellers acting independently. If sale prices in your area increase or decrease, the market value of your property will increase or decrease. This is basic supply and demand of the marketplace.
The market value of comparable properties should be similar. However, your neighbor may have owned the property for a long time and have a homestead exemption, thereby benefitting from lower assessed and taxable values. Parcels that have an approved homestead exemption are also entitled to a Save Our Homes Differential (SOHD), which limits increases in property valuations. Also, different exemptions, assessment reductions and classifications may impact the taxable value.
Typically in mid-August, the Notice of Proposed Tax forms, also known as Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices, are prepared and mailed each year by the property appraiser on behalf of the taxing authorities pursuant to Florida law. Although the TRIM notice is not a tax bill, it is intended to notify property owners of possible changes that may appear on the November tax bill.
We will answer general questions on the phone immediately and refer specific valuation questions to our appraisers. Our goal is to have an appraiser call you within 24 hours.
We have two locations to serve Clay County residents (click here to see a map). Applications can be made in person at either of these locations or you can apply by mail. Specific identification requirements must be met for it to be considered for approval. To download an application and apply by mail, click here and select the form ‘DR-501 EXEMPTIONS APPLICATION” and download the four available documents. Or, for information about qualifications click here.
You can locate the information if you know the owner’s name (first, last, or even a portion of that name), the street name or the parcel number. Click Property Search under Quick Links .
We have included an explanation of the property record cards for your use in understanding what the fields represent. Click here to see the listing.
A real property decal is required when the owner of a manufactured/mobile home, travel trailer, or park trailer also owns the land to which it is affixed.
Yes, maps are available on our site. You can visit Parcel Search under Quick Links to search for a parcel, then select the tab labeled “MAP” and go directly to the location selected on the record search.
It is always best to first contact the Clay County Tax Collector to discuss the payment of property taxes. You should be able to locate your information online, but a phone call may be necessary.