Real Property means land, buildings, and other improvements such as swimming pools, asphalt parking and boat docks. There are many classifications of Real Property to include single family and multi-family residential, condominiums, time-share condo units, townhouses, mobile homes, commercial, industrial, and agricultural.
Florida Statutes 192.011 requires the Property Appraiser to assess all properties as of January 1 of each year at their "fair market" value. It is the Appraiser's responsibility to analyze the sales data from the previous year, and apply that data equitably when assessing properties. A couple of important facts to know;
1) The Property Appraiser does not create value. People create value by buying and selling real estate in an open market.
2) Setting tax rates is the responsibility of the various taxing authorities i.e., county government, city governments, the school board and other tax districts. These entities are authorized to levy taxes on real estate and tangible personal property to fund a portion of their operations and services. Each taxing authority determines their tax rate by dividing their proposed budget by the taxable value of all property located within their district.
The classification of mobile homes (also known as manufactured homes) in Florida for tax purposes can be confusing and greatly misunderstood. The Property Appraiser is required by law under Florida Statutes 320.0815, to determine how your mobile home will be classified for tax purposes. That classification is based on whether or not it is located on land owned by the mobile home owner or on land owned by another.
If the owner of a mobile home that is permanently affixed to the land also owns the underlying lot or land, they are required to purchase an "RP" (real property) sticker. "RP" applications are available from the Property Appraiser's office and should be submitted to the Tax Collector's Office where a "RP" sticker will be issued. The sticker should be affixed to the lower left corner of the window closest to the street or road providing access to the residence. This is a one-time purchase under Florida Statutes 320.0815. "RP" mobile homes are required to be assessed annually by the Property Appraiser as real property.
If the owner of a mobile home does not own the underlying lot or land (such as a mobile home park), they are required to purchase a "MH" (mobile home) sticker from the Tax Collector's Office, no application is required. The sticker should be affixed to the lower left corner of the window closest to the street or road providing access to the residence. A "MH" sticker is an annual purchase under Florida Statutes 320.0815.
Truth in Millage Notice
In August of each year, the Okaloosa Property Appraiser sends a Truth in Millage (TRIM) Notice to all property owners as required by Florida Statutes 200.069. These notices are also known as the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes and can be recognized by the prominent lettering at the top, "DO NOT PAY- THIS IS NOT A BILL". The valuable information provided on the notice is important. It contains the property owner's market "just" value, assessed value, taxable value, exemptions, proposed taxes estimated by the different taxing authorities and where and when these authorities will hold public meetings to discuss tentative budgets to set your millage rates. Fees known as non-ad valorem assessments may appear on your notice. These fees are for a number of different purposes such as fire protection, subdivision maintenance, channel dredging, etc. They are located at the bottom section of your notice under the heading PROPOSED OR ADOPTED NON-AD VALOREM ASSESSMENTS. Should you have questions concerning these fees, you should contact the tax-levying authority directly.
County Value Adjustment Board
If you believe that the market value appearing on your Notice exceeds "fair market" value as of January 1, you are encouraged to contact the Property Appraiser's Office to speak with an appraiser. If after both parties examine the relevant facts, you still believe the market value assessment is excessive, you have the right to petition the County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) pursuant to Florida Statutes 194.011, for a hearing before a special magistrate. Petitions forms are available from the Property Appraiser's Office or the Clerk of Court. The petition must be filed with the Clerk of Court at either the Courthouse in Crestview or Shalimar Annex along with a non-refundable filing fee of $15 per petition addressing value or exemptions. The dead line for filing your petition is on or before the 25th day after the mailing date of the TRIM Notices.