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What we do
The Property Appraiser’s office is required to determine the value of all real property (real estate) and tangible personal property (e.g. business equipment, rental furnishings) as of January 1 of each year.
Three values are established for each parcel (real estate) or account (tangible personal property): Market (aka Just) Value is established through the appraisal process, as set out in Florida Law.
Assessed Value and Taxable Value are derived through classified uses or the application of various exemptions, such as the familiar homestead exemption, also as set out in Florida Law.
Arriving at just (market) value
The purpose of the appraisal is to estimate the "Just Value" of the identified property (s.4 Art. VII State Constitution) as of the appraisal date, January 1, of each year s.192.042(1) F.S.).
Just (Market) Value is defined as "Just Value" - "Just Valuation", "Actual Value" and "Value" - Means the price at which a property, if offered for sale in the open market, with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser, would transfer for cash or its equivalent, under prevailing market conditions between parties who have knowledge of the uses to which the property may be put, both seeking to maximize their gains and neither being in a position to take advantage of the exigencies of the other (12D-1.002 (5) F.A.C.).
The Supreme Court of Florida determined that "fair market value" and "just valuation" should be declared "legally synonymous." ... in turn may be established by the classic formula that it is the amount a "purchaser willing but not obliged to buy, would pay to one willing but not obliged to sell." (Walter v. Schuler, 176 So. 2d 81 (FL 1965).
The fee simple rights to the property are appraised.
The Supreme Court of the State of Florida identified these rights in Department of Revenue v. Morganwoods Greentree, Inc., 341 So. 2d 756, 758 (FL 1977):
We reaffirm the general rule that in the levy of property tax the assessed value of the land must represent all the interests in the land. This means that despite the mortgage, lease, or sublease of the property, the landowner will still be taxed as though he possessed the property in fee simple. The general property tax ignores fragmenting of ownership and seeks payment from only one "owner".
Factors determining value
In arriving at just valuation as required under section 4, Article VII of the State Constitution, the property appraiser shall take into consideration the following factors:
- The present cash value of the property, which is the amount a willing purchaser would pay a willing seller, exclusive of reasonable fees and costs of purchase, in cash or the immediate equivalent thereof in a transaction at arm's length;
- The highest and best use to which the property can be expected to be put in the immediate future and the present use of the property, taking into consideration any applicable judicial limitation or local or state land use regulation and considering any moratorium imposed by executive order, law, ordinance, regulation, resolution, or proclamation adopted by any governmental body or agency or the Governor when the moratorium or judicial limitation prohibits or restricts the development of property as otherwise authorized by applicable law;
- The location of said property;
- The quantity or size of said property;
- The cost of said property and the present replacement value of any improvements thereon;
- The condition of said property;
- The income from said property; and
- The net proceeds of the sale of the property, as received by the seller, after deduction of all of the usual and reasonable fees and costs of the sale, including the costs and expenses of financing, and allowance for unconventional or atypical terms of financing arrangements. When the net proceeds of the sale of any property are utilized, directly or indirectly, in the determination of just valuation of realty of the sold parcel or any other parcel under the provisions of this section, the property appraiser for the purposes of such determination, shall exclude any portion of such net proceeds attributable to payments for household furnishings or other items of personal property."
These eight factors are all considered in arriving at a value conclusion.
In more general terms:
In determining a property's value, we consider and analyze the subject property and market information. We gather this information from various sources. The information includes such items as:
The values of similar properties with a similar use, a review of Income and Expense Surveys (see below), any effect of nearby major construction or other external conditions, whether there has been a change in how the property is used affecting its income potential, the sales price if the property has recently sold, comparable sales of land and improved properties, rents, operating expenses, construction costs, and accrued depreciation, the description of the subject, its condition, its area (size), both land and improvements, its location, the market parameters established by the subdivision, neighborhood and market area, its zoning, the age/year built and history.
The information is gathered from such sources as:
Public records, office files, cost information, plans and specifications, confidential taxpayer information, and third party data available by subscription or other means.
The information above is considered and analyzed, as appropriate, with respect to the eight factors noted previously.
The site review
Periodically, a staff member from our office will visit your property to conduct a physical inspection. Visits are made more often if there is a sale, damage, expansion, new construction, or at the owner's request.
Your cooperation as a property owner is important. State law requires our office to value every property. If we are denied access, we may be forced to arrive at a value based on an estimate(s) rather than confirmed information. You can help us to reach accurate and equitable values by permitting access to our personnel.
When someone from the Sarasota County Property Appraiser's Office arrives at your property, he/she will show an official name badge and photo identification and ask to speak with the person in authority. We try to keep such visits as brief as possible.
Our staff's goal is to uphold the highest professional standards and conduct every appointment with courtesy and respect. We always are interested in how you think we are succeeding. Please let us hear from you if you have suggestions that will improve our service to you.
The TRIM Notice and property tax
The TRuth In Millage (TRIM) Notice is the familiar name for the official Notice of Proposed Property Taxes. This estimate is mailed every August to let property owners know what their property tax will likely be if the taxing districts adopt their proposed budgets.
Property owners sometimes confuse the TRIM Notice with other official notices from different government agencies. Because it is not a bill, it often gets put aside, but the TRIM Notice needs your immediate attention so you can request a review and revision or correction, if appropriate. Florida law limits our ability to revise or correct your value after the assessment roll is certified.
The TRIM Notice sets forth the estimated amount of Ad Valorem tax, the official name for the property tax. Your tax is based on a millage rate (set by taxing districts) multiplied by your property's taxable value (as established by the Property Appraiser). We are happy to discuss your property's value, as that is our responsibility. However, the Property Appraiser's Office does not set the millage rates, adopt budgets or collect taxes. If your questions concern any of those issues, please contact the taxing authority listed on the notice.
Damaged property and the appraisal
State law dictates that property is assessed in its condition on January 1. There is no allowance for our office to prorate for events that take place during the year. This means that if property is damaged after the first of the year, thus rendering it inoperable for a period of time, but it is completely rebuilt by the end of the same year, it is left on the assessment roll for the entire year. However, if repairs to the property are not complete at the next January 1, the building value, in recognizing the condition of the property, would be less than if the property had been completely rebuilt. Owners of damaged property can report any resulting loss(es) possibly obtaining some relief in their assessment. Please let us know if you think the damage is severe enough to warrant a review.
This is a complicated portion of appraising. Recognition of condition issues is typically specific to a particular property. If you suffer damage to your property, please call our office to learn more about the effect it may have on your appraised value.
The right to appeal
If you disagree with the Property Appraiser's opinion of your property's value, you have the right to appeal. However, please call us first. A quick review of the records, or a physical inspection, will often clear up any misunderstanding. If you have new information, we will be happy to consider it.
After talking with us, if you still disagree, you have two further options for challenges. The first option is filing a petition with the value adjustment board. The second option is filing a suit in Circuit Court.
Help from the property appraiser
The Sarasota County Property Appraiser is an independent, elected, constitutional officer serving Sarasota County with a legal charge by the Florida Constitution to establish the fair, legal and just value of real property.
Our office tracks data that can be helpful to property owners, It is generally part of the public record and can thus be shared with the public. Most of this information is available via our website.
Here are some items you might find useful:
Property record card, including descriptions of buildings and property characteristics
Updated boundary maps
Property sales prices
Our appraisers and professional staff are efficient, friendly, and prepared to serve. Please call us when we can assist you.