How Are My Property Taxes Determined ?
The Property Appraiser's
Constitutionally, the Property
Appraiser is charged with the duty and responsibility of placing a
fair, equitable and JUST value on all real and tangible personal
property in Walton County. Real property includes land and all
buildings, structures, and improvements to the land. Tangible
personal property includes machinery and equipment, fixtures,
furniture, and other items owned and used for business purposes.
To ensure that equality of valuations is achieved, we employ a
system of property appraisal based on modern, sound, and
nationally accepted appraisal practices and principles. Valuations
are kept up-to-date and are part of the permanent records of this
office. As such, they come under Florida's Public Records Law and
are available for your inspection.
In addition to
appraising property, the Property Appraiser tracks ownership
changes, maintains maps of parcel boundaries, administers
homestead, widow's and disability exemptions, property entitled to
agricultural classification and determines the eligibility of
certain religious, charitable, educational, and municipal property
for tax exemption.
The cost of providing public
services determines your property tax. The Property Appraiser's
Office does not set your taxes. This
is done by your county and city Commissioners, your School Board
and other tax districts such as fire, roads, port & airport and
water management. They set tax rates to produce the necessary
money to fund the budgets that provide the services you use.
Additionally, taxes are collected to pay for special voter
approved bonds and municipal services.
The Appraisal Process
Walton County Property
Appraiser's Office determines the value of your property based
upon the current real estate market. To find the value of any
piece of property, the Property Appraiser must first know what
properties similar to it are selling for, what it would cost today
to replace it, how much it takes to operate and keep it in repair,
what income it earns, as well as other facts affecting value. The
Property Appraiser has not created value; people create value by
their transactions in the marketplace. The Appraiser's Office,
simply, has the legal responsibility to study those transactions
and appraise the property accordingly.
How Taxes Are Determined
Yearly, taxing authorities
decide how much tax money their budgets require to operate and
provide public services. Public hearings are held giving taxpayers
the opportunity to participate in the process. The Property
Appraiser determines the total assessed value of all taxable
property. A tax rate or millage rate is calculated by dividing the
amount of tax to be raised by the total assessed value. The
taxable value of your home ( total assessed value less any
applicable exemptions) is then divided by 1,000 and multiplied by
the millage rate to arrive at the amount of tax due.
Amendment 10 (Save
Effective January 1, 1995,
Amendment 10 to the Florida Constitution limits any annual
increase in the assessed value of residential property with a
homestead exemption to 3 % or the amount of the Consumer Price
Index, whichever is less. When the property is sold, the new owner
will be assessed at the current fair market value.
Appeal of Valuation
It is important that a property
owner examine the TRIM Notice (Notice of Proposed Taxes) mailed
out in mid August every year. If you feel an error has been made
in valuing your property, you are encouraged to call or come by
the Appraiser's office to talk with an appraiser. The appraiser
will examine the valuation of the property and answer your
questions. After conferring with us, if your opinion of value
still differs with the assessed value, you may file a petition
with the Value Adjustment Board.
Persons who have
legal or equitable title to real property in the state of Florida,
occupy it, and make it their permanent residence as of January 1
are eligible for a $ 25,000 homestead exemption.
There are additional exemptions
available based on eligibility such as an unremarried widow or as
a person with a disability.
Initial application for
homestead, widows, or disability exemption must be made in person
at one of the Property Appraiser's Office locations. All initial
applications and renewals must be made between January 1 to March
1 of each year. Pre-filing for homestead, however, may be made at
any time for the succeeding year.
Homestead exemption is not
transferable. You must make a new application if you received an
exemption last year but established a new residence as of January
1 or if there has been a change in the title such as trust,
divorce, adding or deleting a name, etc.
Dates to Note
Calendar of Events
Effective date of all appraisals for the tax year. Status of
property on this date determines its just value. Effective date of
residency requirement to qualify for homestead exemption.
Dates to apply for or renew homestead exemption with the Property
Tangible personal property tax return must be completed and
returned to the Property Appraiser.
Notices are mailed.
Tax bills are mailed.