Frequently Asked Questions


Appraisal Questions

What does the property appraiser do?
Does the property appraiser levy or collect taxes?
How is property appraised?
What is market value?
Besides Homestead, what other exemptions are available under law?
When will I know the amount of my tax bill?
What if I think the appraised value of my property is too high?
What is an "AG" classification?
How do I change the mailing address on my property in Okaloosa County?

What does the property appraiser do?

The property appraiser is responsible for identifying, locating, and fairly valuing all property, both real and personal, within the county for tax purposes. The "market" value of real property is based on the current real estate market. Estimating the "market" value of your property means discovering the price most people would pay for your property in its current condition. What is important to remember is that the property appraiser does not create the value. People establish the value by buying and selling real estate in the market place. The property appraiser has the legal responsibility to study those transactions and appraise your property accordingly. The property appraiser also

     
  • tracks ownership changes;
  • maintains maps of parcel boundaries;
  • keeps descriptions of buildings and property characteristics up to date;
  • accepts and approves applications from individuals eligible for exemptions and other forms of property tax relief;
  • Analyzes trends in sales prices, construction costs, and rents to best estimate the value of all assessable property.

Does the property appraiser levy or collect taxes?

No. The property appraiser assesses all property in the county and is neither a taxing authority nor a tax collector. The property appraiser has nothing to do with the amount of taxes levied or collected.

Three separate government entities, each having unique and distinct roles, produce your November tax bill. First, the property appraiser annually appraises all property in your county at the market value as of January 1. Next, each taxing authority within the county sets their own millage rate based on the amount of tax dollars necessary to fund their annual budget. Finally, the tax collector takes the amount of taxes due in order to bill and collect all taxes levied within the county.  

How is property appraised?

At least once every five years, the property appraiser or a staff appraiser will visit and inspect each property. However, individual property values may be adjusted between visits in light of sales activity or other factors affecting real estate values in your neighborhood. Sales of similar properties are strong indicators of value in the real estate market.

To estimate the value of a property, the property appraiser must identify the properties that have sold, their sale prices and the terms and conditions of the each sale. Each transaction must be studied to make sure that it is an arms-length transaction. An arm's length transaction is a sale involving a willing seller and a willing buyer without any undue pressure or special incentives (such as family relationships). An arm's length transaction also means that the property was on the market for neither an excessive nor short period of time.

Once this is determined, the property appraiser can base the value of a property on sales of comparable properties. That is why property appraisers maintain an accurate data base of real estate information.

The Florida Constitution was amended effective January 1, 1995 to limit any annual increase in the assessed value of residential property with a homestead exemption to 3 percent or the change in CPI, whichever is lowest. This limitation does not apply to any change, addition or significant improvement to a homestead (excluding normal maintenance or substantially equivalent replacement). During subsequent years, these improvements will fall under the Constitutional limitation.

Two other methods are considered to appraise property - the cost approach and the income approach. The cost approach is based on how much it would cost today to build an almost identical structure on the parcel. If your property is not new, the appraiser must also determine how much the building has lost value over time. The appraiser must also determine the value of the land itself - without buildings or any improvements. The income approach (usually performed on commercial property) requires a study of how much revenue your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, an office building and so on. The appraiser must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return or profit most people would expect on the type of property you own.  

What is market value?

Florida Law requires that the just value of all property 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 could sell on the open market. The property appraiser analyzes these market transactions annually to determine fair market value as of January 1.  

Besides Homestead, what other exemptions are available under law?

  Other available exemptions are listed below. Details on applying for these exemptions are at the "Exemptions" section of this web site.

  • Senior Exemption ($25,000).
  • Widow/Widow Exemption ($500).
  • Total and Permanent Disability Exemption (exempt from all taxation).
  • Total and Permanent Service Connected Disability Exemption (exempt from all taxation).
  • Veterans Disability Exemption ($5000).
  • Blind Exemption ($500).
  • Military/Deployed Exemptions

When will I know the amount of my tax bill?

Each August, the Property Appraiser sends a "Notice of Proposed Taxes," commonly known as a TRIM Notice (Truth in Millage) to all property owners. This notice is very important -- look for it in the mail! You'll recognize it by prominent lettering, "DO NOT PAY - This is not a bill."

The TRIM notice tells you the taxable value of your property. Taxable value is the assessed value less any exemptions.

The TRIM notice also gives you information on proposed millage rates and taxes as estimated by your community taxing authorities. It also tells you when and where these authorities will hold public meetings to discuss tentative budgets to set your millage tax rates.

Fees not related to your property value may also appear on your TRIM notice for garbage collection, roads, lighting and other government services. These fees are set by your taxing authority and are not affected by any change in the value of your house or property.  

What if I think the appraised value of my property is too high?

If you think the assessed value shown on your Notice of Proposed Taxes is not correct, you are encouraged to contact your property appraiser's office to speak with an appraiser. The appraiser can show you the information used to determine your property's value.  

What is an "AG" classification?

An agricultural classification is the designation of land by the property appraiser, pursuant to Florida Statutes 193.461, in which the assessment is based on agricultural use value.

To qualify for Agricultural classification, a application must be filed with the property appraiser between January 1 and March 1 of the tax year. Only lands which are used for bona fide agricultural purposes shall be classified agricultural.

"Bona fide agricultural purposes" means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land. The property appraiser, prior to classifying such lands, may require the taxpayer or the taxpayer's representative to furnish such information as may reasonably be required to establish such lands are actually used for a bona fide agricultural purpose.

 The property appraiser may deny agricultural classification to the following lands:

  • Lands which are not being used for ordiverted from agricultural use;
  • Land that has been zoned non-agriculturalat the request of the owner;
  • Land on which a subdivision plat is recorded;
  • Land which is purchased for a price three or more times the agricultural appraisal placed on the land.
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How do I change the mailing address on my property in Okaloosa County?

In order to change the mailing address on your property in Okaloosa County, you will need to complete the "Address Change Request Form". This form is found under the Forms Download tab on our homepage or you can access it by clicking here, "Address Change Request Form". This form must have one of the property owner's name signed on the form. Digital signatures will not be accepted. We are not allowed to change your address without this form completed and returned to our office. Our office does not accept address changes via email, phone in's etc., we must have this form completed with your signature on it to complete the change of address.

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Homestead Exemption Information

If I buy a property, which currently has a homestead exemption, do I get the benefit of that exemption for the remainder of the year?
Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?
What if the property is in a trust?
Can I get a homestead exemption on a mobile home?



If I buy a property, which currently has a homestead exemption, do I get the benefit of that exemption for the remainder of the year?

If the seller had homestead exemption, the buyer may have the advantage of the seller's homestead exemption for the remainder of the sale year. However, the "carried over" homestead exemption will be removed as of December 31st of the sale year. The new owner must apply by the deadline for homestead exemption in their name for the following year. For example, if you purchase a homesteaded home in June of 2010, you will get the benefit of the previous owner's homestead exemption until December 31, 2010. For 2011, you must file an original homestead exemption application by March 1, 2011.

Do I have to be a citizen to qualify?

Citizenship is not a requirement to file for homestead exemption. However, an applicant who is not a U.S. citizen must prove that they have permanent residency status when they apply. Please bring your INS issued permanent residency photo ID card when filing a homestead application.

What if the property is in a trust?

The applicant must furnish this office with a copy of the trust agreement. Florida law specifies those situations under which the resident may obtain homestead exemption. The Florida Constitution requires that the homestead claimant have legal title or beneficial title in equity to the property.

Can I get a homestead exemption on a mobile home?

Yes, if you possess a mobile home Real Property (RP) decal and own the land. When applying, you must bring in the title or registration to the mobile home.

About Portability

Florida homeowners may transfer all or a portion of their Save Our Homes CAP to a new homestead property. Portability is subject to numerous statutory restrictions and limitations. Once you have applied for a new Homestead Exemption you should review your options for transferring your Save Our Homes Cap.

Click the link below to download the application.

Portability Example

You cannot transfer the Cap to another person except between husband and wife or to one who is legally or naturally dependent. A Designation of Ownership Shares will allow a couple, who were married at the time the former jointly owned homestead property was abandoned, to designate the percentage of CAP value each owner would transfer to the new homestead property. Once you file the designation with the property appraiser, it is irrevocable.

Amendment 10 "Save Our Homes" Value Cap

WHAT is the Save Our Homes amendment?
HOW does the amendment limitation apply?
WHAT about any changes, additions or improvements to the homestead property?
WHAT properties are not subject to the limitation?
WHAT happens if a property is sold or conveyed to a new owner?
Why did my market value (Just Value) decrease when my assessed value increased?

What is the Save Our Homes amendment?

Florida Statutes 193.155(1) was enacted to implement an amendment to the state constitution to limit annual increases in property value assessments on real property qualifying for and receiving homestead exemption.  

How does the amendment limitation apply?

Real property shall be assessed at full market value (just value) as of January 1 of the year in which the property first receives the homestead exemption. The following year the property is reassessed and any changes from the prior year's assessed value is not to exceed the lesser of 3% of that prior year assessed value or the Consumer Price Index percentage change, (except capital improvements, additions or improvements). For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2010, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2011. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.

What about any changes, additions or improvements to the homestead property?

New construction or additions shall be assessed at full market value as of the first January 1 after the changes are substantially completed. In these circumstances, it is possible that the assessed value may exceed the amendment limitations. However; after the first year that the changes are assessed at full market value, they are also subject to the amendment limitations. : "For example, if you add a new porch to your home in June of 2010, the porch will be added to your assessment at full value in 2011. For subsequent years, the value of the porch will be included under the limitation.

What properties are not subject to the limitation?

Residences without homestead, non-residential property, vacant land, tangible personal property, commercial property, and agricultural property are not eligible for the amendment limitation.  

What happens if a property is sold or conveyed to a new owner?

Once the property has been conveyed to the new owner (and the homestead exemption is interrupted), it is raised to full market value (just value) January 1 of the following year. The new owner must qualify and apply to receive homestead exemption. Even if the property received a homestead exemption under the previous owner, the limitation, just like the exemption, expires January 1 of the year following a change of ownership.  

Why did my market value (Just Value) decrease when my assessed value increased?

In 1992, voters approved Amendment 10 a/k/a The Save Our Homes (SOH) Amendment to the State Constitution. Prior to its 1994 effective date, Governor Chiles and his Cabinet approved implementing rule 12D8.0062 that became part of the Florida Administrative Code and later became known as The Recapture Rule. The rule requires property appraisers to annually increase assessed values on homestead properties whose market values are greater than last year’s assessed value by 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less. Therefore, if you have previously-accrued SOH benefits, your assessed value will increase even though your market value decreased.

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Tangible Personal Property

1. What is Tangible Personal Property?

2. Who must file a TPP tax return?

3. Why do I have to file? 

4. How can I obtain this form?

5. What if I receive more than one tax return?

6. What if I have no assets to report?

7. I went out of business PRIOR to January 1. Should I still file a return?

8. I went out of business AFTER January 1. Should I still file a return?

9. What if I have old equipment that has been fully depreciated and written off the books?

10. Do I have to report assets that I lease, loan, rent, borrow or are provided as part of the rent?

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

12. What are the deadlines and penalties for filing?

13. If I buy an existing business during the year, how do TPP taxes apply to me?

14. What is an office or field review assessment?

15. What if I don't agree with the assessed value that appears on my notice of proposed property tax?

16. How do I qualify for the TPP Exemption?

17. How do I file a Freestanding Property account?

18. How do I file a Lease Equipment Property account? 1. What is Tangible Personal Property (TPP)? Tangible personal property (TPP) is everything other than real estate that is used in a business or rental property. Examples of tangible personal property are computers, furniture, tools, machinery, signs, equipment, leasehold improvements, supplies, and leased equipment..  

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2. Who must file a TPP tax return?

Anyone owning tangible personal property on January 1 must file a tax return by April 1 each year unless you were notified by our office that the filing requirement has been waived. Every new business owning tangible personal property on January 1 must file an initial tax return. In any year the assessed value of your tangible personal property exceeds $25,000, you are required to file a return. Taxpayers who lease, lend or rent property must also file a return.  

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3. Why do I have to file?

Section 193.052, Florida Statutes, requires that all tangible personal property be reported each year to the Property Appraiser's office. If you receive a return by mail, it is because our office has determined that you may have property to report. If you feel the form is not applicable, return it with an explanation. Either way, the form MUST be returned. Failure to receive a Personal Property Tax Return (Form DR-405) does not relieve you of your obligation to file.  

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4. How can I obtain this form?

At the beginning of each year a tangible personal property tax return is mailed to all property owners for all accounts with a value more than $25,000 in the previous year, new businesses, or purchased a business. Failure to receive a return does not excuse a person from filing or the penalties on late returns. If you own tangible personal property that exceeds $25,000 in value, you must file a return even if you did not receive a return from our office. You may also download a return from our website.

Tangible Personal Property Tax Return Form

 
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5. What if I receive more than one tax return?  

All returns must be sent back. If you have more than one location where you transact business, the assets at each location should be listed on a separate return.  

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6. What if I have no assets to report?  

Even if you feel you have nothing to report, fill out items 1 through 9 on the return, attach an explanation about why nothing was reported and file it with the Property Appraiser's Office. Almost all businesses and rental condominium units have some assets to report even if it is only supplies, rented equipment or household goods.  

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7. I went out of business PRIOR to January 1. Should I still file a return?  

Yes. On the return, indicate the date you went out of business. Let us know if you sold or transferred the business to someone else who is operating at the same location or a different location. If you shut the business down, did you sell, scrap, or abandon some or all of the assets. Any assets that you retained which were not converted to personal use should be reported. If you have been waived from the filing requirement, please contact our office as soon as possible.  

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8. I went out of business AFTER January 1. Should I still file a return?  

Yes, since you were still in business on January 1, you are required to file a tangible personal property tax return. Report all business tangible personal property as of January 1. On the return, indicate the date you went out of business. Let us know if you sold or transferred the business to someone else who is operating it at the same location or a different location. If you shut the business down, indicate on the return whether some or all of the equipment was sold, scrapped, or abandoned. Any assets that you retain which are not converted to personal use should be reported next year.  

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9. What if I have old equipment that has been fully depreciated and written off the books?  

Whether fully depreciated in your accounting records or not, all property still in use or in your possession should be reported.

Important Dates to Remember

January 1
     Date of assessment
     Personal property returns mailed

April 1
     Filing deadline for personal property returns to avoid penalties

August
     Notices of proposed property tax mailed

September
     Deadline to file Value Adjustment Board petition

November
     Tax bills sent by Tax Collector

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10. Do I have to report assets that I lease, loan, rent, borrow or are provided as part of the rent?  

Yes, both the lessor and the lessee should report this equipment on the return. If the lease is a true/operating lease, complete section LEASED, LOANED, AND RENTAL EQUIPMENT on the back of the return. Capital leases should be filed in the same section as similar assets on your depreciation schedule are filed. The lease agreement may need to be reviewed in order to determine leased equipment filing requirements.  

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

If this is your initial year you are filing there is not a minimum value. In subsequent years, if the assessed value based on the return is less than $25,000, the requirement to file a return is waived. If the assessed value based on the return is greater than $25,000, a return must be filed each year.  

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12. What are the deadlines and penalties for filing?  

The deadline for filing a timely return is April 1. After that date, state law provides that penalties be applied at 5% per month or portion of a month that the return is late. A 15% penalty is imposed for unreported property; there is a 25% penalty when no return is filed.  

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13. If I buy an existing business during the year, how do TPP taxes apply to me?  

If the business you buy was in business on January 1 and had tangible personal property, the Okaloosa County Tax Collector will issue a tax bill in November for taxes levied against that property. Most title companies do not do a search of the tangible assets of a business; therefore, you should consult your broker, attorney, or closing agent to avoid any problems.

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14. What is an office or field review assessment?  

When a tax return is not filed by April 1 and the filing requirement has not been waived, we are required to place an assessment on the property. Section 193.073(2), Florida Statute, authorizes the property appraiser to estimate from the best information available the assessment of the tangible personal property of a taxpayer who has not properly and timely filed his or her tax return. The assessment represents an estimate based upon the value of businesses with similar assets. Being assessed does not alleviate you of your responsibility to file an accurate return.  

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15. What if I don't agree with the assessed value that appears on my notice of proposed property tax?  

In mid-August, the owner of record will receive a notice of proposed property tax covering tangible personal property. If you disagree with the assessment, call or visit our office to discuss the matter with us. If you have evidence that the appraised value is more than the fair market value of the property, we will welcome the opportunity to review this information. If you are still not satisfied, you may file a petition to have the matter reviewed by the Value Adjustment Board.

Helpful Hints and Suggestions
  • File the original return received from this office (with name, account number, and bar coded preprinted) or file a return as soon as possible before April 1. Be sure to sign and date the return. Unsigned returns cannot be accepted.
  • If an agent files a tax return on your behalf, a signed letter of authorization must be included with the tax return. We cannot accept the return without the authorization letter.
  • Work with your accountant or CPA to identify any assets that may have been "Physically Removed". List those items in the appropriate space on your return.
  • Do not use vague terms such as "various" or "same as last year."
  • Provide a detail asset listing since depreciation on each item may vary.
  • Review the instruction sheet included with the tax return.
  • If you sell your business, go out of business, or move to a new location please contact our office as soon as possible.
 

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16. How do I qualify for the TPP Exemption?  

A timely return in the initial year must be filed to receive the $25,000 exemption. Filing a return after the April 1 deadline will result in penalties.

The return shall be considered the application for the $25,000 tangible personal property exemption and will be applied to the first $25,000 of assessed value for the tangible personal property account. Failure to file a return constitutes a failure to apply for the exemption.

In subsequent years, if the assessed value based on the return is less than $25,000, the requirement to file a return is waived. If the assessed value based on the return is greater than $25,000, a return must be filed each year.

Freestanding property placed at multiple sites, other than where the owner transacts business, will receive one single $25,000 exemption for all the locations.  

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17. How do I file a Freestanding Property account?  

Provide the following information in excel format:
  1. Physical location of equipment
  2. original cost of equipment
  3. Type/description of equipment. Examples include ATMs, pay phones, LP/propane tanks, billboards, signs, utility and telecomm equipment/cell towers, drop boxes, satellite dishes, security equipment, amusement machines, video games, snack or soda machines, candy machines, and leased equipment.
  4. Year acquired for each unit of equipment located in Okaloosa County
 
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18. How do I file a Lease Equipment Property account?  

Provide the following information in excel format:
  1. Physical location of leased equipment
  2. original cost of equipment
  3. Type/description of equipment
  4. Year acquired for each unit of leased equipment located in Okaloosa County
In order for us to provide you with the assessed values, you must file this information either on a computer compact disc or through email. Excel is the preferred spreadsheet format. If you send this information via email, please contact our office at 850-651-7240 (ask for the TPP Department) to obtain the appropriate email address.

In addition to your excel filing, you must still provide by mail the original signed and dated tax return. 

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1250 Eglin Parkway N.
Suite 201
Shalimar, Florida 32579-1234
(850) 651-7240
(850) 651-7244 FAX
Office Hours 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CT
Email:Contact Us

Brackin Building
302 Wilson St.
Suite 201
Crestview, FL 32536
(850) 689-5900
Fax# (850) 689-5906
Okaloosa County Property Appraiser


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