Your Notice of Proposed Property Taxes ("TRIM Notice"):
Step 1: Carefully Read Your Proposed Property Tax Notice.
Many property owners ignore their NOTICE OF PROPOSED PROPERTY TAXES (“TRIM Notice”) until it is too late to challenge an assessment or question proposed tax rates. If you wait until you receive your bill in November to complain about your taxes, you will lose your right to file an appeal. The first thing to know is that your taxes are calculated using this formula: TAXABLE VALUE x TAX MILLAGE RATES + SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS = TAX BILL. The Property Appraiser determines the market value of your property. The Property Appraiser does NOT set any tax rates or collect taxes. Your tax millage rates and non-ad valorem fees are set by the various governmental taxing authorities (School Board, County Commission, City Commission, hospital district board, water management district, and others) listed on your TRIM Notice.
Step 2: Speak Up About Proposed Tax Rate & Fees.
Your 2015 TRIM Notice will contain proposed TAX RATES set by the named taxing authorities (i.e., School Board, County/City Commission, etc.). Properties in Broward increased by 8.08% in taxable value this year on average countywide. Residents of 24 cities saw property values slightly increase this year, while only seven cities experienced property value declines. Due to tough economic concerns, some taxing authorities are proposing rate increases or service cuts. If you want to question your proposed tax rates, non-ad valorem fees/special assessments, or services being cut from local budgets, you should contact your elected officials who serve on those taxing authorities and attend the public hearings in September. Your TRIM Notice lists the hearing dates, locations and contact phone numbers for each taxing authority.
Step 3: Challenging Your Proposed Assessment.
Your TRIM Notice will reflect our office’s ASSESSMENT of your property as of January 1, 2015, as required by Florida law. Your new assessment does not -- and by law is not supposed to -- reflect your current market value. For most non-homesteaded property, the assessed value is identical to the property’s market value. For homesteaded property, your assessed value is your “Save Our Homes” value. The market value (“just value”) by law is determined a year in arrears by using a mass-appraisal process largely based upon sales of comparable properties during calendar year 2014. BOTTOM LINE: If you believe the market value of your property printed on the TRIM Notice is not what a buyer would have reasonably paid for your property on January 1, 2015, you must contact or visit our office or file a value petition by the September 18, 2015 deadline. Click here for our contact phone numbers and email addresses.
Why Some Homesteaded Owners Won’t See Taxes Drop As Values Drop
Under Florida law, a homestead "recapture" rule may cause some taxable values to rise even when the overall market value dropped from last year. If you are Homesteaded and your "Save Our Homes" (SOH) value is less than the market value as of January 1, Florida Administrative Code Rule 12D-8.0062(5) explicitly orders our office to increase your overall assessed value each year (up to the 3% annual cap level) until it eventually reaches the same amount as the market value. The Florida Department of Revenue set this year’s SOH cap rate at 0.8%. Roughly 22,000 Broward homeowners saw their taxable SOH values rise in 2015 even though their market values dropped, due to this recapture law. Florida voters in 2012 rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the "recapture" rule.
Property Values vs. Millage (Tax) Rates
If you don’t like what you see in your TRIM Notice, who should you call?
VALUES & EXEMPTIONS - The Property Appraiser is responsible for determining market values, assessed values, and applying exemptions and special classifications (non-profits and agricultural). If the VALUE is more than you believe a buyer would pay for your property -- or you applied for an EXEMPTION but it wasn’t printed on the TRIM Notice -- call the Property Appraiser’s office.
TAX RATES & SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS - If you think the amount of TAXES is too much, the MILLAGE RATE is too high, or the non-ad valorem FEES are too costly, you need to contact the taxing authorities (City Commission, County Commission, School Board, hospital district, etc.) listed on your notice. The Property Appraiser does NOT set your tax rates nor collect the taxes.
"How Can I Challenge My Appraised Value?"
If you think the market value for your property is wrong, the first thing you should do is call our office. One of our appraisers will be happy to speak with you, listen to your concerns, and discuss the data we used to reach the value. If there was a mistake, we'll correct it. If -- after speaking with us -- you still believe our value is inaccurate, we’ll explain the easy steps you can take to file an appeal with the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB), an independent and quasi-judicial review board. You can also avoid the "TRIM Season" crowds entirely by filing your VAB petition online (and paying the $15 filing fee) by the September 18 deadline on the VAB's special petition website at: https://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2015. You may also contact the VAB directly or by telephone at 954.357.7205 or 954.357.5367, or by visiting their office at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 120, Fort Lauderdale.
Special Extended 2015 "TRIM Season" Office Hours
Please visit our office at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111, in downtown Fort Lauderdale to meet with an appraiser to discuss your assessment. Our office is open weekdays from 7 am until 6 pm. SPECIAL WEEKEND HOURS: Our office will also be open on two Saturdays -- August 29 (8:30 am to 5:00 pm) and September 12 (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) -- to better serve working families.