Charlotte County Property Appraiser - Paul L. Polk, CFA, AAS, RES

Real Property

What is Just (Appraised) 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". Determining the just value of your property is a matter of discovering the most probable price people would pay for it, in the shape it's in on January 1, Florida's valuation date. That is the Property Appraiser's job.

However, it is no small task, nor a simple matter, since just value must be determined for every piece of property in Charlotte County each year. In fact, values must be established for over 210,000 individual tax roll parcels, including thousands of acres of citrus, pasture, and farmland, the buildings and improvements thereon, and thousands of tangible personal property accounts.

In addition to appraising property, over 43,000 homestead exemptions, and an additional 10,000 exemptions, including those granted for religious, charitable, educational, or governmental use, as well as widow's, widower's and disability must be administered. The appraiser's office also determines a property's entitlement to agricultural classification.

How The Property Appraiser Gets His Job Done

To determine the just value of any property, the Property Appraiser must first know what similar properties are selling for, the cost today to replace any improvements on it, how much it takes to operate and keep them in repair, the income it may earn, and many other facts affecting its value, such as the current rate of interest charged for borrowing money to obtain a similar property, either through purchase or construction. Utilizing those facts, the property's value can be determined employing one or more of three different methods.

The first is to find properties like yours which have recently sold. However, their selling prices must be analyzed carefully to get the true picture. One property may have sold for more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry to occupy it and would pay any price to get in. Another may have sold for less than it was actually worth because the owner needed cash right, away so was willing to sell to the first buyer making an offer. Using this approach - comparing selling prices of properties similar to yours - the Property Appraiser must always consider such over or under pricing to arrive at a fair valuation of your property.

The second is based on how much money it would take, at current material and labor costs, to replace your property with one just like it. If an improvement is not new, the amount of depreciation must also be determined.

The final method is used in addition to the other two if you happen to own property which does, or could, provide an income, such as an apartment complex, retail store space, or office building. In that case, the Property Appraiser must consider such facts as your revenue, operating expense, insurance, maintenance cost, degree of financial risk incurred by owning the property, and finally, the return most people would expect to receive on that kind of property.

Why Appraised Value Changes From Year To Year

When market value changes, naturally so does appraised (just) value. For instance, if you were to increase the total market value of your property by building a swimming pool in your backyard, the appraised value will increase proportionately. Similarly, should your property's value be decreased by unrepaired fire or storm damage, the appraised value will decrease to reflect the downward effect on your property's market value. In addition, the entire community's economy, as well as the forces of supply and demand, will affect your property's appraised value.

The Property Appraiser does not create this value. There is simply a legal responsibility to determine it as it exists and value the property accordingly. Buyers and sellers set value by their transactions in the market place.

Please direct questions concerning real property to this office at  or (941) 743-1498.

Save Our Homes (SOH) And Its Effect On Assessed Value

Section 193.155, F.S., limits annual increases in assessed value on property receiving homestead exemption. Accordingly, "assessed value" and "just (appraised) value" can differ substantially on homestead properties.

In the year following the year in which the property receives homestead exemption, any increase in assessed value, absent new construction, is limited to three (3) percent, or the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. Any ownership change of homestead property, except those noted in Section 193.155, erases any limitation received due to "SOH", since the property's assessed value must be restored to it's full market (just) value the following January 1. Consequently, prospective purchasers of homestead properties should base their estimate of future property taxes on the current just (market) value, not assessed value. Properties not receiving homestead exemption are not eligible for this limitation.

10% Cap Assessment Limitation for Non-Homestead Property

The 10% cap became effective beginning with the 2009 tax roll. This assessment cap is only for “non-homestead” properties, that is all properties that DO NOT have a homestead exemption, such as rental properties, vacation homes, vacant land or commercial property.

The 10% cap applies to all taxing authority millage rates EXCEPT the School Board millage.

The benefit is automatically applied by our office to non-homestead property in the year after purchase or change of ownership. No application is required to receive the benefit of the 10% cap. The benefit is removed when a property changes ownership or changes use.

What is recapture?

Rule 12D-8.0062(5), Florida Administrative Code, requires that the assessed value of homesteaded properties be increased by the annual "Save Our Homes" limitation, even when just (market) value decreases, as long as assessed value does not exceed market value.

Appraised Value And The Tax Rate

The Property Appraiser is neither a Taxing Authority nor the Tax Collector and has nothing to do with the amount of taxes levied or collected. However, as a property owner, you are not only interested in what value the appraiser places on your property, but also in how the amount of taxes you pay is determined.

This is the way it works:

Let's say the Property Appraiser has found the assessed value of your home to be $75,000. You apply for and receive the homestead exemption, so $25,000 is deducted from your assessed value, leaving a taxable value of $50,000 (due to "Save Our Homes" requirements your property's just value could be greater than or equal to assessed value).

Now, let's assume that the tax rate in your community has been set by the Taxing Authorities (city, county commission, school board, special districts, etc.) at 15 mills. That's $15.00 in taxes for each $1,000 of taxable value.

Divide your property's taxable value, $50,000 by $1,000 and the answer is 50.
Multiply that by the tax rate, $15.00.

$15.00 x 50 = $750.00

That is the amount of "ad valorem" tax due on your home. Your total tax bill may also include non "ad valorem" assessments for services such as garbage collection, road maintenance, and fire protection. Discounts are allowed for prompt payment. If paid in November 4%, December 3%, January 2%, February 1%.