Frequently Asked Questions

 

Address Changes

How do I change my address?
To inform us of an address change, please fill out our Address Change form.  Please submit a form for each property you own.  We have several people every year who do not receive our mailings because they forget to change their addresses. 

Agricultural

How does the agricultural use classification differ from an exemption?
They are similar but have important differences. The homestead and other exemptions reduce the taxable value of a property whereas the agricultural classification allows the assessed value to be less than its market value. The agricultural use classification is an assessment tied to the property's use and therefore is not a fixed amount.

How is the amount of savings determined?
The Property Appraiser's Office determines the assessment amount on an individual basis, taking into consideration the applicable Florida laws and unique characteristics of each property and operation.

Does the agricultural classification always save money?
While the classification is available to all qualified properties, it is not an automatic money saver. It was originally designed by the State of Florida to assist and encourage Florida's ranchers and farmers to keep their land in a commercial agricultural use. Any savings would depend on the type of operation, the number of acres in use and various other factors.

Do my home garden and ranch qualify?
Satisfying as they may be, a farm or other agricultural operation that provides for the owner's personal use is not a commercial operation and does not qualify. Remember, in order to receive the agricultural classification, your land must be used as a commercial enterprise that produces and markets agricultural products.

Is a home site on a commercial agricultural operation included?
No, a home site and surrounding land, when located on property classified as commercial agricultural, are not included in the classification. The owner may apply for a homestead exemption for that part of the property.

How is leased property treated?
Property that is leased for commercial agricultural purposes is subject to the same classification rules. It is the property owner's responsibility to make sure the lessee is complying with agricultural use classification laws.

When and where do I apply for an agricultural classification?
You must apply at the Property Appraiser's Office on or before March 1 of the year for which you are applying.

What changes affect the classification?
It is your responsibility to let us know any time the property's use changes. If you purchase property that carries the agricultural use classification, you must re-file with our office and declare that the property continues to be used for its agricultural purpose in order to keep the classification in place.

How will I be notified if my property qualifies for the agricultural classification?
The approved classification will be reflected in your TRIM Notice which is mailed in August. If your request is denied, our office will notify you by July 1. Please feel free to call the Property Appraiser's Office if you have questions in the meantime.

Is there an appeals process if I disagree?
Always call our office first if you disagree with a disapproval. We will be happy to explain how we reached our decision and review any new information. If you still disagree, you have the right to pursue the same appeals process that applies to exemption denials.
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Assessments (also see Valuation of Property)

When and how often are properties assessed?
Per Section 192.042, Florida Statutes, all property in the state is re-assessed every year. Also, assessments in Florida are done a year in arrears with January 1 being the statutory date for determining the annual assessment.

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Confidentiality

May I have my name removed from the property search on your website?

In general, property ownership records are public records pursuant to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes. Florida law specifically provides confidentiality protection ONLY for present and former law enforcement officers, fire fighters, judges, prosecutors, juvenile justice officers, revenue collection officers, and a limited number of other specified "at risk" government occupations. If you believe you may qualify for this program, please visit our Download Forms page for more information. If you are not covered by the current confidentiality laws and believe they should be broadened to cover additional categories, please contact your State Senator and State Representative to suggest changes in these Florida Statutes. Go to Government Links on the Home Page to connect to the Supervisor of Elections to identify your Senator and Representative.

Is my homestead application (or other tax return) confidential? Will others be able to view it?
Pursuant to Section 193.074, Florida Statutes, your application or tax return is deemed to be confidential except upon court order or order of an administrative body having quasi-judicial powers in ad valorem tax matters. Interested persons may NOT obtain a copy of it through Florida's Public Records Act.
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Deeds

Will I lose my Homestead Exemption if I add someone to my deed?
Adding names to the ownership of your home normally does not change your Homestead Exemption, BUT you may lose all or part of the protection your property receives from the Save Our Homes (SOH) assessment limitation or “cap”. (See following question)

Will I lose my Save Our Homes Cap if I add someone to my deed?
Maybe, depending on how you own the property (the “tenancy”), and if the new owner files for Homestead Exemption on your property. “Tenancy” is the term used to describe the way property is owned, the relationship between the owners, and what happens to the property when an owner dies. The most common forms of tenancy are: tenancy by the entireties (married persons), joint tenants with right of survivorship, and tenants in common. If two or more people own property with a homestead exemption, the type of tenancy that appears on the deed can have an effect on the 'Save Our Homes' provision, and ultimately the amount of taxes that are owed. If the new owner is either your spouse, or someone who is legally or naturally dependent on you -- and meets the eligibility requirements -- he or she must apply for homestead exemption. Your current 'Save Our Homes' cap will not be adjusted.

Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship: If the new owner is a joint tenant with right of survivorship, and he or she DOES NOT apply for Homestead Exemption, your SOH cap will not be adjusted. If the new owner is a joint tenant with right of survivorship and DOES apply for Homestead Exemption, your SOH cap will be adjusted to market value and start anew the following year. In future years, 100% of the property will benefit from SOH protection even though one of you may move from the property.

Tenants in Common: If the new owner is a tenant in common and DOES NOT apply for homestead exemption, your SOH cap will be adjusted to benefit only your proportionate interest in the property. The interest of any owner who does not have a homestead exemption will be assessed at market value each year. If the new owner DOES apply for Homestead Exemption, your SOH cap will be adjusted to market value and start anew the following year. In future years, 100% of the property will benefit from SOH protection as long as you both reside on the property.

Must a property deed be recorded within a certain period of time?
No, there is no Florida law requiring a deed be recorded within a certain period of time. However, our office does not recognize unrecorded deeds.

What is a Special Warranty Deed? A Warranty Deed? A Quit Claim Deed?
A Warranty Deed (WD) is typically used when a full title history search was conducted and the property was sold with title insurance coverage. A Warranty Deed means the grantor (seller) guarantees s/he is selling good title, guaranteed from the beginning of time through the date of the sale. A Special Warranty Deed (SWD) is much like a Warranty Deed, but ONLY warrants against title defects arising during the ownership of the current seller. Unlike a general Warranty Deed, a SWD does not guarantee there are no claims arising from the actions of earlier owners. A Quit Claim Deed (QCD) is the least formal type of deed, but it is still a valid deed in Florida for conveying property if correctly executed, delivered to the grantee (buyer), and is publicly recorded. With a Quit Claim Deed, the seller is simply warranting to convey the seller’s interests in the property, whatever they may be, to another.

Where can I find a copy of my deed?
All official records, such as property deeds, are recorded at the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court. (Note: The Clerk of the Circuit Court is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)
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Foreclosures


Where can I research property foreclosures?

Copies of recorded deeds and mortgages related to Sarasota County properties are directly searchable online at the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court. You may search for recorded notices of foreclosure, liens, lis pendens, release of liens, court judgments, and various other documents on their website. There is no fee for viewing any of these documents. (Note: The Clerk of the Circuit Court is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)
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Homestead Exemption

Do I need to re-apply for my Homestead exemption every year?
No. Each January, our office mails a Homestead Exemption Receipt card to every homesteaded property owner in Sarasota County. If there are no changes to the use and/or ownership of the property, simply keep the card as your receipt that you were automatically renewed for another year. However, if there are changes, please mark the card accordingly and return it to our office.

Does my existing Homestead Exemption move with me to my new house?
Homesteads do not transfer. A Homestead Exemption does not move with an owner from place to place. You must file for a new Homestead Exemption if you move. However, with Florida’s “portability” law (see below), homesteaded owners may move their Save Our Homes benefit from one homestead to the next.

How do you assess new additions to previously Homesteaded properties?
We generally use what is called "The Cost Approach" (i.e., the South Florida fair market replacement construction cost -- on a square foot basis -- for an addition of the same quality). For example, if the fair market construction cost of your addition is $100,000, you would see no more than $100,000 added to your pre-existing Save Our Homes value. In the future, the combination of your pre-existing Save Our Homes value plus the cost-basis value of the addition would be your new Save Our Homes base value (subject to the 3% increase cap).

My market value dropped, so why did my assessment go up?
Under Section 193.155, Florida Statutes is the homestead "recapture" provision. If you have a homestead and your assessed value is less than the just (market) value, assessed value will increase each year by no more than 3%, or the increase in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.

What are the requirements for a Homestead Exemption?
You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st of the year for which you are applying, (1) you are a permanent resident of Florida, (2) you hold legal title to your property, (3) the instrument by which you hold title is recorded in the official records of Sarasota County, and (4) you reside thereon and in good faith make the same your permanent residence, or the permanent residence of another or others legally or naturally dependent upon you. Click here for detailed information about Homestead and other Exemptions.

What is Save Our Homes?
"Save Our Homes" is an amendment to the Florida Constitution that the voters passed in November of 1992. A taxpayer automatically receives the Save Our Homes protection starting the year after first obtaining a Homestead Exemption. This law limits the increase in assessed value for properties receiving the Homestead Exemption to no more than 3% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), no matter how much larger the increase in market value would otherwise be.

May someone “inherit” the Save Our Homes value when inheriting a family owned property?
A surviving spouse may retain the existing Save Our Homes value -- even if the survivor was not previously on title -- so long as the surviving spouse subsequently files for Homestead; OR The person inheriting the property -- or being granted a life estate or beneficial rights under a trust -- was a dependent of the decedent AND was permanently residing on the property at the time of the decedent's death. In all other instances, the person inheriting the property must file for a new Homestead Exemption and lock in a new Save Our Homes value based upon the current just (market) value of the property in the year in which title was granted to the heir.

What is the history of the Homestead Exemption?
The Great Depression began in 1929. As the Depression deepened, many Florida property owners found themselves unable to pay their property taxes and in serious danger of losing their homes. In response in 1933, State Representative Dwight Rogers of Fort Lauderdale proposed and successfully passed legislation to place the $5,000 Homestead Exemption Amendment on the state ballot. Florida's voters overwhelmingly approved the Homestead Exemption Amendment in 1934. The initial Homestead Exemption exempted the first $5,000 of value from ad valorem taxes. Over the years the exemption amount was increased to $25,000. In January 2008, voters adopted a constitutional amendment which increased the Homestead Exemption to $50,000, (the second $25,000 does not apply to all taxing authorities and only applies to the portion of assessed value between $50,000 - $75,000).

Where do I file for a Homestead Exemption?
You can file for a Homestead Exemption online (during filing period) or at our Sarasota or Venice offices. Go to our Home Page to navigate to online filing and to see locations for our offices.

Will I lose exemptions if I place my home in a life estate for me and with a remainder to my children?
Your Homestead Exemption and Save Our Homes benefits will be unaffected if you grant a future interest to another person or persons, (remainder persons), but retain a life estate for yourself. Your homestead and Save Our Homes benefits will not pass to the remainder persons upon your death.

Will I lose my exemptions if I place my home into a trust?
Your Homestead and Save Our Homes benefits will be unaffected as long as the recorded documents showing transfer of title from you to a trust include language stating that you retain a beneficial interest and possessory right to the real property.
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Maps and Plats

Where can I find plats?
Plats for subdivisions and condos are available through the Sarasota Clerk of the Court.

What information is available on the Property Appraiser's web map?
Our web map shows property dimensions, lots, blocks, parcel lines, building outlines, and the option to turn on other data such as zoning and school layers. Search options by account number, owner name and property address are available. To access the map, please visit our Map Property Search page.

For additional map and information not available on our site, please visit the Geographic Information Systems page on the Sarasota County Government website.

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Mortgages


Where can I find a copy of my mortgage?
Copies of recorded mortgages related to Sarasota County properties are directly searchable online at the Sarasota County Clerk of the Court website. You may also search for deeds, liens, release of liens, court judgments, condo declarations, and various other recorded documents on their website. (Note: The Clerk of the Circuit Court is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser's Office.)
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Portability

What is a “Portability”?
Click here to view specific information about Portability.



Do we have a full two years to transfer our portability to a new property from the date of sale?
No. A homeowner must establish a new homestead within two assessment years of abandoning a previous homestead, NOT two years from the date of sale or the date you moved from your previous homestead. Example: If you received your last homestead exemption in 2014 you must be approved for your new homestead by January 1 of either 2015 or 2016 in order to qualify for portability.
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Property Appraiser


What are the responsibilities of the Property Appraiser’s Office?

Our office is responsible for properly assessing all parcels of real and taxable personal property in Sarasota County on the tax rolls every year. We also take applications for various tax-saving exemptions and ensure everyone receives all the exemptions to which he or she is entitled.

The Property Appraiser does not set your tax rates. The tax rates are set by the various “taxing authorities” (County Commission, School Board, City Commission, Water Management District, Hospital District, etc.) in whose jurisdiction your property lies. Likewise, our office does not collect taxes – your payments are sent directly to the Sarasota County Tax Collector.

If you have any questions about the amount of your assessment, you should contact our office. Questions about tax rates (i.e., the amount of your taxes) should be directed to the taxing authority in question. You should contact the Sarasota County Tax Collector if you have any questions about payment of taxes. You will receive a tax bill (or an information copy if your mortgage company receives the original) around November 1. If you do not receive a tax bill, your address may be incorrect. You can submit a Change of Address form for your property by clicking here.


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Property Surveys


Where may I find a copy of my property survey?
The first place to look is in the papers you received from the closing agent when you purchased your property. If it doesn’t turn up there you should contact the closing agent or title company. If your closing was recent, they may have a copy in their files.


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Senior Exemption


How can I qualify for the Senior Exemption?

In order to qualify for the Senior Exemption, you must be 65 or older as of January 1 of the tax year for which you are applying AND have a combined household adjusted gross income for the previous year not to exceed the income limit determined by the Florida Department of Revenue. (The income limit is adjusted annually by the percentage change in the average cost-of-living index.)

Do I need to re-apply for my Senior Exemption every year?
Yes. By Florida law, you must sign and return a renewal form to our office each year to maintain your Senior Exemption. Once you have qualified for this exemption, our office will mail you a renewal form the next year in late January or early February.


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Tangible Personal Property


How can I obtain a DR-405 Form (Tangible Personal Property Return )?
Visit our Download Forms page for a copy of the Tangible Personal Property Return DR-405.


Where may I file?
You may file your Tangible Property Tax Return(DR-405) form in person at our Sarasota or Venice office locations, or mail your return to: Sarasota County Property Appraiser - Attn: Tangible Personal Property Department, 2001 Adams Lane, Sarasota, FL 34237. Exisitng accounts may file online with the password provided by this office in January of each year.


Are there deadlines and penalties?
The deadline for filing your Tangible Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405) is April 1. Returns filed after April 1 will not be eligible to receive the Tangible Personal Property Exemption of up to $25,000. After April 1, Florida Statutes provide that penalties be applied at 5% per month, but not to exceed 25%.

Failure to report can result in a 15% penalty for unreported property and a 25% penalty if no return is filed. A penalty of 15% interest each year and a penalty of 50% of the taxes exempted is required if you claim more exemptions than allowed.

Can I receive an extension to file?
A 30 day extension request is available online on our Tangible Personal Property page for single or multiple accounts. A numbered receipt is issued with each completed online request. In addition, written requests may be mailed to our office. All requests must be received by the close of business on March 31 to be considered. A written request must include the following information to be considered: • The complete name of the taxable entity; • The “Doing Business As” (DBA) name; • The physical address; • The tangible identification number of the taxable entity as listed on the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Roll. The number can be found on the tax bill, the TRIM Notice, or on the Tangible Property Search on this website. Each extension request is considered individually, you will be notified in writing or by email of the approval or denial. Please Note:  We do not accept requests via fax. Only requests received through our online form or by mail will be considered. All filing extension requests on existing accounts must include the account number.

Can I receive an extension on a new account?
Yes. You may apply for a filing extension on a new account by email only.  The email must include the business name and DBA, situs address and tax ID number. This email request should be sent to RBrunk@sc-pa.com.  You will receive a confirmation by return email. New accounts will be assigned account numbers that must appear on the DR-405 tax return filing. 

How do I apply for the $25,000 Personal Property exemption?
The Tangible Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405) is the application for the exemption of up to $25,000 for tangible personal property. A Tangible Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405) must be filed by April 1 or within the approved extension period to receive the exemption.

What if I file and discover I made a mistake?
If you filed a timely and complete return you may contact this office for a review of your concerns; or, you have 25 days from the mailing of the TRIM Notice to file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board. 

What if I fail to file a return prior to the certification date?
A return may be filed until the tax roll is certified for that year. We will not accept a return after that date and we will use the best information we have to estimate the asset values. You also lose your exemption and will incur a late filing penalty. You are not able to amend a return that was not filed.

What if I file a timely but incomplete return and it is returned to me?
If you filed a timely but incomplete return, we will send your incomplete return back to you and grant a 30 day extension to complete your filing. Your revised return will need to include the complete asset detail, description, original cost, condition and estimated current value. If your revised return is received by our office within the 30 day extension period, it will be treated as a timely return. Should your revised return not be received by our office within the 30 day extension period, loss of exemption and a late filing penalty will apply.

What is the Waiver Of Tangible Personal Property I received?
If a Tangible Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405) was timely filed and the Fair Market Value is $25,000 or less, future filings for Tangible Personal Property are waived. Waiver notices are mailed by February 1 to accounts that have the filing requirement waived their first year. If, in subsequent years, the value exceeds the exemption, you are obligated to file a return or lose the exemption and potentially pay penalties. Sample Waiver of Tangible Personal Property Return


If I rent my furnished home or condo, do I have to file a Tangible Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405)?
Yes, since rental activity is of an income producing nature, you must file a return which lists your personal property. Items that should be reported include: draperies, blinds, furniture, appliances and all other personal property included in the rental unit.


Where can I locate the Depreciation and Economic Life tables?

Tables can be located in our Tangible Personal Property page. NOTE: Tables are finalized annually in July and the preliminary tables are subject to change without notice prior to that date. Just Value = Original Installed Cost X Index Factor (found in tables) X Depreciation Percent Good (found in tables). 



What if I have no assets to report?

If you believe you do not have anything to report, fill out items 1 through 9 on the return and attach an explanation of why nothing was reported. However, almost all businesses and rental units have some assets to report even if it is only supplies, rented equipment or household goods. 


 Is there a minimum value that I do not have to report?

No. There is no minimum value. A Tangible Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405) must be filed on all assets by April 1. However, if the taxes amount to less than $5.00, you will not receive a tax bill.


If I am no longer in business should I still file a return?

Yes, if you were not in business on January 1 of the taxing year, follow this procedure:
1. On your return, indicate the date you went out of business and the manner in which you disposed of your business assets.
2. Sign and date the return.
3. Mail the return to this office prior to April 1.
4. If the assets were sold, please attach the new owner’s contact information and a copy of the bill of sale or sales contract.


Do I have to report leased or loaned assets or assets provided in the rent?
Yes. There is a section on the return specifically for those assets. Even though the assets are assessed to the owner, they must be listed for informational purposes to avoid duplication.
 

 Do I need to report my inventory on hand?

Items that are held exclusively FOR SALE are not taxable as tangible personal property. Items that have been rented/leased or used in your business are taxed and can never return to the status of not being taxed. These items should be listed along with your other items of property being reported until they are sold or physically removed from the property. Possible items in your inventory account, such as stationery supplies, janitorial cleaners, paper products and computer supplies should be listed on the return in the appropriate area.


What if I have old equipment that has been fully depreciated?

Whether fully depreciated in your accounting records or not, all property still in use or in your possession must be reported. Additionally, all assets expensed under Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Service Code must be listed.


What if I don’t agree with the Assessed Value?
Call our office or come in and discuss the matter with us. If you have valid evidence that the appraised value is more than the actual Fair Market Value of your property, we will welcome the opportunity to review all the pertinent facts. If you do not agree with our final assessment after talking with us, you may file a petition to be heard before the Value Adjustment Board. It is important that any value discrepancies be addressed at this time; otherwise, a correction may not be allowed.


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Taxes

I have questions about my tax bill. Who do I contact?

Please contact the Sarasota County Tax Collector at 941-861-8300 with any questions regarding your tax bill. Our office does NOT send out the tax bills nor do we collect the tax payments. Therefore, we cannot answer any questions regarding your tax bill.


How do I get a copy of my tax bill?
Contact the Sarasota County Tax Collector at 941-861-8300.


What is a “TRIM Notice”?


I am buying a home that should be finished by November. How can I estimate what the taxes will be next year?
Multiplying the estimate of market value by the total millage rate for the previous tax year will give you an idea of what your ad valorem taxes may be. If you are entitled to the homestead exemption you may, with certain exceptions multiply $50,000 by non school millage rates and $25,000 by school millage rates to arrive at an approximation of your tax savings from the homestead exemption. The actual appraised value may differ from this estimate and the millage rates may change. Remember that non-ad valorem fees may also apply to your property.


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TRIMS

Why did my Market Value decrease and my Assessed Value increase?
The Market Value of your property as of January 1 represents the market conditions at that time. Since market conditions are ever changing, it is possible that from one year to the next, values could be greater or less than the previous year. For properties, that have had an uninterrupted Homestead Exemption for more than a year, the Assessed Value increases annually by 3% or by the percent change in the Consumer Price Index whichever is less. Regardless of what change takes place the Assessed Value will not exceed the property’s Market Value.

Why are my Assessed Value and taxes higher than my neighbor’s?
The answer to your question is often related to the Homestead Exemption and the Save Our Homes Amendment. • When did you purchase your property? • Do you have the Homestead Exemption? • When did you file for the Homestead Exemption? If you do not have the Homestead Exemption or if this is the first year you are receiving the Homestead Exemption on this property, your property is assessed at full market value. Your neighbor may have had a Homestead Exemption for a longer period of time. If so, the property is benefiting from Save Our Homes which limits the annual increase in the Assessed Value to no more than 3 percent each year or the change in the consumer price index, whichever is less. Also,two homes that appear to be the same are not always identical. The difference in value may be the result of differences in the specific characteristics of your properties. For example, the quality, condition, size or locational aspects could account for the difference in values.

Why is my Market Value higher than I expected?
In appraising your property, we consider market information, including the sale prices of other properties that occurred up to January 1, of the current tax year. Market information and prices subsequent to January 1, of the current tax year are taken into consideration for next year’s assessment roll. Real estate markets are ever changing. Rarely will property have the same Market Value on January 1 as it will eight months later. If markets are declining it is reasonable to expect the values eight months later to be lower and conversely if they are rising, so will the values. When considering the accuracy of your property’s Market Value listed on the TRIM Notice, the question is not what it is worth today, but rather, what was it worth on January 1 (Section 194.171, Florida Statutes). If you have any further questions, please call our office at 941-861-8200.

Why did my Market Value change when I did nothing to my property?
The Market Value of a property often changes when physical changes have taken place. However, physical changes are not the only factors affecting value. Market Value can also change because of varying market conditions, changing tastes, and influences from outside the property itself.

Can I have one of your appraisers review my property?
If you suspect your property’s market value, as listed on the TRIM Notice, is incorrect we would be glad to review it for you. Sharing any specific information that you have can expedite the review. An in-office review can often resolve many issues. Some situations require a full field review. Before requesting a review you may wish to study similar properties within your neighborhood that have sold prior January 1 of this tax year. Go to the Sales Search function on the Home Page of this website for researching similar properties.

Why are the proposed taxes in my notice substantially different from the amount on my November tax bill?
Although the November tax bill may reflect some adjustments from the proposed millage rate and discounts for early payment, the most common reason for the difference are the non-ad valorem fees. Many property owners receive a separate notice informing them of the proposed fees. The non-ad valorem fees are separate and in addition to the ad valorem taxes. They may include assessments for fire and ambulance service, solid waste and storm water management.

I just bought a home that had received homestead exemption for a number of years. Are my taxes going to increase significantly next year?
This year you may be benefiting from homestead exemption related benefits, including Save Our Homes capped value, accumulated by the previous owner. Your home will be assessed at full market value in the year following the sale. Any benefits that resulted from the Save Our Homes cap of the previous owner will be removed.

Remember to apply for your homestead exemption by March 1. Click here for information on eligibility and filing requirements for Homestead and other exemptions.

What is the difference between market value and selling price?
The selling price of a property is a unique number that represents the distinctive negotiations between buyer and seller. The Property Appraiser is responsible for arriving at a market value on January 1st of each year. In doing so this office must consider many factors, including the selling prices of similar properties. The Property Appraiser’s market value conclusions must be equitable, whereas selling prices are often inequitable.

My property is listed below my Market Value and I haven’t had an offer. My property is listed for sale and I’ve only received offers below my Market Value.
Unlike real estate agents and private appraisers, who use current market data to take snapshots of market changes including properties that have not sold, the Property Appraiser is required by law to consider market activities as of January 1 of each year for tax purposes.

Why did my market value decrease and my assessed value increase?
Under the recapture provisions of the Save Our Homes statute, Section 193.155(1), F.S., the assessed value of your Homestead property will increase annually by 3% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index, (CPI), whichever is lower.

My neighbor and I both have homesteads. Why is her house assessed for less than mine?
The most common reason is that you and your neighbor were granted homesteads in different years. The amount of your assessed value is based on the market value, less any portability applied, in the first year of your homestead. Every homestead property’s assessed value is a number unique to that property.

What happened to the homestead exemption I had last year?
There are several reasons why the exemption may not appear this year. If you purchased the property last year from a homesteaded owner, that owner’s exemptions and capped value may have remained for that tax year. You would have had to apply for your own exemption for the current tax year. If you did apply and there is no exemption showing on your Notice of Proposed Taxes, contact our office immediately. Another reason is that, in reviewing your homestead status this office determined that you no longer qualified for the exemption. A formal denial of exemption would have been mailed to you, by certified mail, on July 1.

I bought my property last year. Why don’t I have a homestead?
You need to apply for your homestead by March 1 of the current tax year. Our office regularly sends letters throughout the year to new homeowners encouraging them to file for Homestead. Also, all purchasers of real property receive a sales questionnaire from our office which includes information on filing for Homestead.

Why did my assessed value go up more than 3%?
If you made any improvements to the property such as additions or extensive remodels, that value is added to your property value at full market in the year in which it is added to the tax roll. Allowance is made for the value of the property that was removed if any demolition occurred. Also, if part of your property is used for non-homestead purposes that portion of the property will be taxed at full market.

Where’s my $50,000 exemption?
The additional $25,000 exemption applies only to the portion of the assessed value that is greater than $50,000. The first $25,000 of assessed value is fully exempt with your homestead. The second $25,000 of assessed value is taxable. The third $25,000 of assessed value is eligible for the additional $25,000 exemption. If your property has an assessed value of at least $75,000, then your Homestead exemption will be the full $50,000. For example:

  • Assessed Value: $12,000. Homestead Exemption: $25,000 and Taxable Value would be $0.
  • Assessed Value: $45,000. Homestead Exemption: $25,000 and Taxable Value would be $20,000.
  • Assessed Value: $63,000. Homestead Exemption: $38,000 ($25K + $13K) and Taxable Value would be $25,000.
  • Assessed Value: $75,000. Homestead Exemption: $50,000 ($25K + $25K) and Taxable Value would be $25,000.
  • Assessed Value: $125,000. Homestead Exemption: $50,000 ($25K + $25K) and Taxable Value would be $75,000.

The additional $25,000 does not apply to school taxes. Check your Notice of Proposed Taxes for taxable values and tax amounts for school taxes.

Since my value came way down this year, last year must have been too high. How do I get a reduction for last year?
Each tax year stands alone. We do not re-assess retroactively. The Notice of Proposed Taxes (TRIM) gives a date for filing a petition with the Value Adjustment Board to contest the assessed value for the current tax year. The deadline for filing a Value Adjustment Board petition is always 25 days after the mailing date of the Notices of Proposed Taxes. A taxpayer may contest a tax assessment in Circuit Court no later than 60 days after the tax roll has been certified for collection. The Tax Roll is usually certified in October.
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Valuation of Property


How is Property Appraised?

In Sarasota County, we use a computer assisted mass appraisal system that incorporates elements of three approaches to value as stipulated in the Florida Statutes: 1) Direct Sales Comparison, 2) Replacement Cost, and 3) Capitalization of Income.The property’s fair market value is determined employing one or more of these methods.

Direct Sales Comparison is to find properties like yours which have recently sold. However, their selling prices must be analyzed very carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry to occupy it and would pay any price to get in. Another may have sold for less than it was really worth because the owner needed cash right away and was willing to sell to the first buyer making an offer. The Property Appraiser must always consider such over or under sales prices to arrive at a fair valuation of your property.

Replacement Cost is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one just like it. If any improvements are not new, the amount of depreciation must also be determined.

Capitalization of Income is used in addition to the other two if you own property which does, or could, provide an income, such as an apartment complex, retail store space, or office building. In that case, the Property Appraiser must consider such dollar facts as your revenues, operating expenses, insurance, maintenance costs, degree of financial risk incurred by owning the property, and finally, the return most people would expect to receive on that kind of property.

What is Market (Just) Value?
Florida law requires the just (market) value of all properties be determined each year. The Supreme Court of Florida has declared "just value" to be legally synonymous to "full cash value" and "fair market value." The fair market value of your property is the amount for which it would sell on the open market. The property appraiser analyzes market transactions annually to determine fair market value as of January 1 of each tax year. For example, for the current tax year, comparable properties having sold through January 1 of the current tax year are considered. Properties selling after January 1 of the current tax year are included in the analysis for next year's valuations.

In Sarasota County there are over 267,000 parcels consisting of residential, agricultural, commercial, governmental and industrial properties, as well as over 36,000 tangible personal property accounts which are valued annually. Market value is determined by the three approaches to value as stipulated in the Florida Statutes: 1) Direct Sales Comparison, 2) Cost Approach and 3) Income Approach. In Sarasota County, we use a computer assisted mass appraisal system that incorporates elements of all three approaches to value.

What if I disagree with the Property Appraiser’s Market Value?
If you believe that your assessment does not represent the fair market value of the property, you may file a petition for a hearing before the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). This Board is created by State Law and appoints Special Magistrates who are qualified appraisers or attorneys, independent of the Property Appraiser’s Office, to conduct valuation hearings. The Special Magistrates are appointed only to determine whether the appraised value of the property is fair market value as of January 1. Petitions must be received (not merely postmarked), along with the corresponding filing fee, before the deadline date that appears on the TRIM Notice.

MAKING A CASE: When meeting with the VAB you will need to present evidence and testimony that your property’s assessed value is not market value. The fact that your assessed value increased or decreased from last year, is not a basis to alter this year’s assessment. Problems common to the neighborhood are already considered in the sales prices of properties sold. Also, you cannot base your case on personal hardship, such as living on a fixed income or an inability to pay taxes. You may, however, be eligible for the Tax Deferral Plan or Installment Payments offered through the Tax Collector’s Office. Information regarding these plans is available at the Tax Collector’s website.

THE VAB HEARING: Value Adjustment Board hearings begin in the fall. While an attorney is not required, one may represent you. You will present your evidence and testimony to a Special Magistrate. An appraiser from this office will present evidence as to the market value of your property. After the Special Magistrate hearing, the VAB will notify you in writing of their decision. If you accept the decision, do nothing further. If you disagree with the VAB decision, you may file a Circuit Court civil action pursuant to Section 194.171, Florida Statutes.

In reviewing property sales prices in the Internet I find many properties indicating they sold for $100. Is this price accurate?
The property’s selling price that is found in our records is obtained from the documentary stamps, which have been affixed to a deed. The $100 sale amount is derived from the minimum documentary stamp amount of 70¢. This is typical for inter-family or inter-corporation transactions, trusts, dissolution of marriage, etc. where there is no monetary consideration in the transaction.
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Link to Florida Statutes

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