Understanding Your Property Taxes5/21/2019
This is Eddie Creamer, Property Appraiser for St. Johns County, FL.
Understanding your property tax bill and the property appraisal process is an important piece of your home ownership journey. Knowing about homestead and other exemptions can save you a ton of money on your property taxes annually. Did you know when you move within the state of Florida, your homestead savings can port with you to your new home, keeping your taxable value low even on the new property? Did you know there are other exemptions, such as veteran and senior exemptions for those who qualify, that can be as much as $250k?! Trim notices come out on Aug 16, 2019. Most people ignore these because your mortgage lender pays your tax bill from an escrow account, but did you know you have 25 days to petition to appeal your taxable property value if you feel it is too high? Eddie Creamer, Property Appraiser for St.Johns County, gave out some excellent insight today so if you have any questions about property appraisal, please let me know and we can explore it together.
Below are notes from the NEFAR (NorthEast Florida Association of Realtors) St.Johns Council meeting at Markland subdivision in WGV on April 17, 2019. Eddie Creamer, property appraiser, was the main guest of honor. His in-depth discussion of his role as property appraiser included the following highlights and details:
The property appraisers office assesses property values based on use, condition, and ownership as of Jan 1st. So if you are using it as a rental unit on January 1st, you cannot claim homestead on the property. That date is literal, exact and not pro-rated. For example, if you only rent out your home for the Christmas holiday only, and live in the home as your main residence from Jan 2-Dec 20, you still cannot claim homestead because it is a rental ON January 1st.
Real property assessments are figured through the residential approach: fair value as appraised in mass based on sales. Commercial property assessments are figured through the income approach.
The office of appraisal does consider differences in the county, such as north and south of the 16 and 208 line, as they are considered two distinct areas, and they also use sub-markets to better assess home values.
Assessments are based on the exterior only, with common fixtures, but not internal upgrades or needs. Aerial photography is used to determine additional square footage or exterior improvements or detriments that could effect assessed value. They bought drones to assess more frequently and with more accuracy. They have 3D imagery and the detail to the home is phenomenal. If they can see your roof, they can get within 2% of total square feet of your home. Field appraisers are available if we cannot see home from aerial. Desktop appraisals are done as well using all Realtor tools. The property appraiser website is robust, upgraded, and has a lot more tools now than ever before.
The property appraisers office also is in charge of maintaining maps and GIS for St. Johns County which includes over 142k parcels. Growth is happening – they added 4200 parcels to tax role last year alone.
Homestead portability – Save our Homes says if you homestead, tax cannot go up more than 3% per year inside the State of Florida. You may rent home no more than 30 days in 2 consecutive tax years and still claim Homestead Exemption. You cannot claim homestead anywhere else in United States to be eligible for Florida Homestead Exemption. There are many different exemptions on top of homestead exemption to help you save on taxable assessed value:
Veteran exemption – different levels and exemption amounts based on active deployed, disabled (disability depends on percentage of disability you are claiming).
Senior exemption is an income based $50k exemption. You must make $30,174 or LESS on income tax return as your adjusted gross income to qualify for this exemption.
Total exemption: You must have lived in your current home for 25 years for a full exemption up to $250k remainder value of your home.
Florida Taxpayer Bill of Rights –
Trim notice comes out on August 16th, 2019.
There is a 25 day appeal period. You can petition your assessed value and any exceptions with the value adjustment board. The sales in your area link is what comparable properties were used in deriving the assessed value of your home.
Tax calculator – remember when purchasing property to check how many exemptions may be on the property when reviewing their prior tax bills. Exemptions and Portability goes with the seller, so that last tax bill might be a lot less than what you will pay as the new owner. The most accurate way to estimate taxes for the first year of home ownership is to calculate 85% of the paid value.
The goal of the property appraisers office is total transparency. This information is provided to you to educate and prepare, and make the best decisions for home and property ownership.
For more information, please visit the Property Appraiser website at https://www.sjcpa.us/ . They are conveniently located at 4030 Lewis Speedway St. Augustine, FL 32084 (off US 1, just before the old city gates).
If you have further questions about home ownership in St. John’s County, please contact Stephanie at Stephanie@worldgolfliving.com . I can provide an in-depth review of your current house value, including reviewing your current tax record. We can also review the value of a future property for homestead or rental, or even commercial. Let me know how I can help!