As a result of some misconceptions, it is important to explain what the Appraiser's job does not involve . . .
The Property Appraiser cannot lower your taxes because tax rates and tax levies are determined by the various taxing authorities which have discretion in those matters, such as the County Commission, School Board, Cities, etc.
The Property Appraiser cannot reduce property values when the market supports the current level of assessment required by the Florida Department of Revenue.
Even if market trends indicated a lower value, and the Property Appraiser was able to reduce the value assessed accordingly, the taxing authorities are authorized by State law to raise tax rates to get the same revenue they had the prior year without calling it a tax increase (Section 200.065, F.S. and Florida Administrative Code 12D-17.0035).
So, the bottom line is the Property Appraiser does not have the authority to lower taxes and a lowering of value assessed would not ensure lower taxes even if justified from the market.
Example of how lowering taxable value may result in the same property tax revenue:
Determines Assessments Based on Market Data
Sets Tax Rates and Levies Taxes Based on Budget
|TOTAL TAXABLE VALUE||TAX RATE||TAX REVENUE|
|Year 1||$14,000,000,000||6.000 Mills (0.006)||$84,000,000|
|Year 2||$12,000,000,000||7.000 Mills (0.007)||$84,000,000|
(Tax Revenue = Taxable Value x Tax Rate)
In the example above, Year 1 reflects a $14 billion dollar tax base (established by the Property Appraiser) times a 6 mill tax rate, (set by the taxing authority) providing the taxing authority with $84 million dollars in revenue. Year 2 reflects a $12 billion dollar tax base allowing the taxing authority to raise the tax rate to 7 mills (known as the "rollback rate"), thereby providing the same $84 million in revenue.
The Florida legislature has given the Florida Department of Revenue tremendous authority over the Property Appraiser in giving the Department the final authority to approve the County's assessment roll. The Department of Revenue reviews and approves or rejects the Property Appraiser's assessment roll annually.
The Property Appraiser's primary job is to prepare an annual tax roll (assessment roll) which complies with Constitutional and specific State mandated standards.
To maintain an approvable tax roll, the Property Appraiser must estimate the current market value of all real and tangible property based on data from real estate sales transactions and other current market data. This is done pursuant to the requirements of specific State laws. The tax roll is audited annually by the Florida Department of Revenue to ensure compliance.
The State is empowered to reject the Property Appraiser's roll if the values assessed by the Property Appraiser are not at the levels required by the Florida Department of Revenue for any class of properties on the assessment roll. The Florida Department of Revenue will not approve the tax roll unless the level of assessment, overall and for each property class, is at least 90% of the just value (market value) required by the Constitution. This ratio is determined by comparing the just value to the actual selling price of all properties sold during the prior year. Since the valuation of all properties must reflect current market trends, values of all similar property types, even those that did not sell, must be adjusted to reflect current market trends.
There are approximately 326,000 parcels of real property and 51,000 tangible personal property accounts that must be valued annually and reported to the State, constituting the "assessment roll". Once the State approves the valuations in the assessment roll, the taxing authorities (County Commission, School Board, Cities, etc.) decide their budgets and set their tax rates to be applied to the properties valuation which will generate the revenue necessary to fund their proposed budget.
Disapproval of the assessment roll by the Florida Department of Revenue would create serious problems for all local governments, taxing authorities, and homeowners, as well as the Property Appraiser.
Disapproval of the tax roll would cause every homestead exemption to revert from $25,000 to $5,000 along with the loss of the protective "Save Our Homes" assessment cap. Furthermore, property owners would lose their right to appeal their valuations to the Value Adjustment Board.
Multiple assessment roll failures can result in severe action taken against the Property Appraiser by the Florida Department of Revenue and the Governor.
Your elected Property Appraiser has many strong incentives to produce an accurate and equitable assessment roll, and no incentive to raise or lower assessments, to deny or grant exemptions, to approve or disapprove agricultural classifications, as well as other administrative duties, for any reason other than to comply with Florida law as established by the Florida legislature and our voting citizens.