GMCA HOME MAIN PAGE Associations Directors Governance Laws & Statutes Issues
Newsletters Calendar Market Page Vendors Forum Report Card Archives Site Map Contact
LINKS PAGE Finance News Weather Government Directions Travel Dining Entertainment Search


Click to Broward County Property Appraiser Web Site
B.C.Prop Appraiser Web Site
A priority concern to Galt Mile residents is the value of their homes. A constitutional county officer installed by the electorate under State law, the Broward County Property Appraiser determines the property values that serve as the basis for our tax obligation as well as our equity access. The Property Appraiser does not set the millage rate or create exemptions useful for reducing an assessment. The Appraiser simply determines whether or not a property owner is eligible to receive statutory exemptions for which they apply. State law assigns taxing authority to municipalities and other quasi-governmental entities such as school boards, hospital districts and water districts. The Appraiser totals these individual millages and sends one all-inclusive TRIM (Truth in Millage) Notice to every property owner.

Click to TRIM Notice info
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
Articles relevant to the Property Appraiser and tax developments are also posted on this page. Each year, a comprehensive explanation of the Homestead Exemption is available, including current updates, legislative changes and outreach data. Information about the Save Our Homes tax limits, the single msot effective source of tax savings for homesteaded property owners, is also available in this section. Certain related data can also be found in the Broward County and Tallahassee pages of the GMCA web site. When Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish or BCPA media relations representative Bob Wolfe meet with the GMCA Advisory Board, the results are posted to this page.

Appraiser Lori Parrish is hungry for input. She wants to know what’s on your mind. In this B.C.P.A. page, she answers queries by county residents about appraisals, Homestead and Senior exemptions, “Save our Homes” amendment concerns, appeals to the Value Adjustment Board and an assortment of other tax issues. If the answer to your question isn’t there, you can Ask Lori! by clicking on one of the many email links - such as this one: lori@bcpa.net.


Click to Save our Homes Info Ask
Lori Parrish
Anything!

Broward County Property Appraiser
Lori Parrish
Answers Your Questions...

Click To Top of Page



ISSUES MENU
Click on buttons below to review an issue.





Issues Home Page



Broward County Property Appraiser

Ask Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish

Trapped! - Save Our Homes

GMCA Appraises Lori Parrish - the First 100 Days

BCPA Extends Office Hours Late Homestead

BCPA Extends Office Hours for Trim Season

Lori Parrish June 2010 Update

2011 Homestead Exemption Express

2012 Homestead Exemption Express

BCPA 2013 Update to Galt Mile

2014 Homestead Exemption Express



New Fire Safety Mandate



Beach Renourishment Project



Cleveland Clinic Emergency Room



City of Fort Lauderdale Page



Budget Crisis Page



Broward County Business



Politics & Parlor Tricks in Tallahassee



AEDs - Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)



Calypso Deepwater Port and Pipeline



32nd Street Alley



Fort Lauderdale/Galt Mile Crime Statistics




Search GMCA or the web
powered by FreeFind



Search GMCA Site
Search the Internet



 

 


August 2014

“It’s TRIM Time for Broward County Residents!”

Dear Lori,

just bought a new home in Broward County. When does the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office mail out the 2014 proposed tax notices?

T.P., Coral Springs, FL (via email)

TRIM Notice
TRIM NOTICE
Beginning August 11, the Broward County Property Appraiser will begin mailing the 2014
“Truth-in-Millage” (TRIM) Notices to property owners on behalf of the various Broward County taxing authorities. The over 760,000 TRIM Notices will be sent, providing property owners with their 2014 property assessment information, exemptions, proposed tax amounts and proposed tax rates. These notices also inform property owners of their right to both appeal their property assessment and to attend their various taxing authority budget hearings regarding the proposed tax rates.

The Property Appraiser’s Office does not set tax rates or collect taxes. If you wish to discuss the proposed tax rate or any new fees or fee increases on your TRIM Notice, you should contact the County Commission, School Board, City Commission and other taxing authorities. The TRIM Notice will include phone numbers for each taxing authority, as well as the schedule of public budget hearings.

The Property Appraiser’s Office determines the property’s market value as of January 1 and grants exemptions to qualified applicants. If you believe the market value of your property is not what a buyer would have reasonably paid for your property on January 1, 2014, you must contact our office or file a value petition with the Value Adjustment Board by the September 17, 2014 deadline. You can call, e-mail or visit our office to discuss your property assessment. For residential properties, please call 954.357.6831 or email Scott Lewis at slewis@bcpa.net. For condo, co-op and timeshare properties, please call 954.357.6832 or email Maureen Morrison at mmorrison@bcpa.net. For commercial properties, please call 954.357.6835 or email John McKean at jmckean@bcpa.net. For exemption questions and assistance, please call 954.357.6830 or email Kelly Brown at kbrown@bcpa.net. You may also visit our office located in Room 111 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue (just south of Broward Boulevard) in Fort Lauderdale. Our office is open weekdays from 7:00AM to 6:00PM. To better accommodate the schedules of working families, our office will be open on Saturday, September 6 and Saturday, September 13 from 8:30AM to 5:00PM.

Click to file a petition online with the Value Adjustment Board If after speaking to one of our appraisers, you still disagree with our determination of market value, we will help you file an appeal petition directly with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). All valuation petitions must be received by the VAB (115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 120, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301) by close of business on September 17, 2014. You may also file a petition online with the VAB https://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2014. Should you have any questions regarding the VAB, please contact their office directly at vab@broward.org or 954.357.7205.

For additional information on property assessments, exemptions, and the TRIM Notice, please visit www.bcpa.net or call 954.357.6830.


July 2014

“Good News Taxable Value Increases 7.24% for Broward!”

Dear Lori,

I read in the Sun-Sentinel your office just released a better than expected taxable value increase? What does this mean for Broward County residents?

J.F., Wilton Manors, FL (via email)

On June 24, 2014, our office released the July 2014 Taxable Value Report. This is the third consecutive year property tax values have risen in Broward after four years of declines during the historic real estate collapse. These numbers resulted in a total countywide taxable value increase of 7.24%, and a total taxable value of $141 billion. The 7.24% increase does not apply to every municipality within the county (please keep in mind the 7.24% increase represents the sum total of all taxable value in Broward County). Some areas, such as Coconut Creek, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Lazy Lakes, North Lauderdale, Tamarac, and Wilton Manors, saw a taxable value increase greater than 7.24%, while Lauderdale Lakes, Pembroke Park, Dania Beach, and Sea Ranch Lakes saw an increase of less than 7.24%. To see a breakdown by taxing authority (County, Municipal, District, etc.), go to our website, www.bcpa.net, click on Site Index on the left side of the homepage, then click 2014 Tax Roll Information, and finally 2014 July 1st Taxable Value Report.”

Click to Department of Revenue The numbers released on June 24th are the final numbers which will be submitted to the Florida Department of Revenue for certification. We endeavor to produce the most accurate tax roll possible through the use of random audits and appraisal reviews.

TRIM Notice
TRIM NOTICE
You can review your property’s 2014 market and assessed values on our webpage at www.bcpa.net. In August, all Broward property owners will receive their 2014 “TRIM” Notices, or proposed property tax notice, notifying them of their 2014 property tax assessment information, exemptions, proposed tax amounts and proposed tax rates. These notices also inform property owners of their rights to both challenge their property assessment and to speak out at various taxing authority hearings.

Please keep in mind the 2014 property assessments reflect the values as of January 1, 2014. Florida law requires our property assessments be based a year in arrears, meaning the 2014 property assessments are based upon the qualified sales from January 2, 2013 thru January 1, 2014. Any sales which occur in the 2014 calendar year will be reflected in the 2015 property assessments.


June 2014

“Estimate of Taxable Value Increases 6.41% for Broward!”

Dear Lori,

I read in the newspaper last week your office just released a report on the 2014 Broward County’s property tax valuation increases. Is this report available to the public?

B.R., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

On May 28, 2014, our office released the 2014 Estimate of Taxable Values. This is the third consecutive year property tax values have risen in Broward after four years of declines during the historic real estate collapse. These numbers resulted in a total countywide taxable value increase of 6.41%, and a total taxable value of $139.995 billion. The 6.41% increase does not apply to every municipality within the county (please keep in mind the 6.41% increase represents the sum total of all taxable value in Broward County). Some areas, such as Hallandale Beach, Coconut Creek, Cooper City and Davie saw a taxable value increase greater than 6.41%, while Lauderdale Lakes, Pembroke Park, and Dania Beach saw an increase of less than 6.41%. To see a breakdown by taxing authority (County, Municipal, District, etc.), go to our website, www.bcpa.net, click on Site Index on the left side of the homepage, then click 2014 Tax Roll Information, and finally 2014 June 1st Taxable Value Report.”

The numbers released on May 28th will be virtually identical to the final numbers formally confirmed by the Certification of Tax Roll Value on July 1, 2014. The only changes, if any, will be to correct any errors discovered over the next 30 days and to extend any exemptions received and approved. All new 2014 exemptions and Save Our Home portability applications filed to date are already reflected in these numbers.

Please keep in mind the 2014 property assessments reflect the values as of January 1, 2014. Florida law requires our property assessments be based a year in arrears, meaning the 2014 property assessments are based upon the qualified sales from January 2, 2013 thru January 1, 2014. Any sales which occur in the 2014 calendar year will be reflected in the 2015 property assessments.


May 2014

“Understanding “PORTABILITY” of Save-Our-Homes!”

Dear Lori,

Do I have a full two years to transfer our portability to a new property from the date we sell or move from our former home?

R.W., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

Under Florida law, an owner has less than two years (two tax years) to establish a new Homestead and transfer any Portability savings to the new property. If you recently purchased or are considering purchasing a new home, please be aware Homestead Exemption does not automatically transfer. When moving to the new home, you must first file for a new Homestead Exemption and also file a separate Portability application.

“Portability” allows eligible homesteaded owners to move their Save Our Home (SOH) savings from one property to another new Homestead - up to $500,000 - anywhere within Florida. From whatever tax-year you “abandon” your previous Homestead Exemption; you must then be approved for a new Homestead Exemption on another property, within two tax-years, to transfer a Portability value. An example of the 2 year window is if you are applying for Homestead in 2014 on the property, you must have had Homestead and on your old property in 2012 or 2013 in order to be able to transfer any portability benefit. If you are applying for a 2015 Homestead, you must have had Homestead and on you property in 2013 or 2014...and so on.

As a general rule: If you sell or move from your previous Homestead property in January, you will have up to 23 months to obtain a new Homestead Exemption and transfer your Portability value. However, if you sell or move from the previous property in December, you would only have up to 12 months to obtain a new Homestead Exemption and transfer your portability value. Important: You must file for and obtain Homestead Exemption on the new property in order to qualify for moving your portability benefit.

You can apply for Homestead and Portability at one of our community outreach events listed under the outreach calendar at www.bcpa.net or at our office located at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111 in Fort Lauderdale. If you have any questions regarding filing for Homestead, Portability or other Exemptions, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830 or visit our website at www.bcpa.net. We are happy to assist you.


April 2014

“Do Not Pay Companies for a Copy of Your Deed!”

Dear Lori,

I received a letter last month from the Housing & Deed Retrieval Service, LLC in Stevenson, MD stating the company urges me as the property owner to obtain a copy of the recorded deed. They are requesting a $96.00 processing fee to obtain one for me. In your opinion, should I get one, and is this fee fair? What would it cost me to get it directly from Broward County?

R.D., Pembroke Pines, FL

Our office has received numerous inquiries from concerned homeowners regarding this and similar letters from other companies. These mailings are solicitations from private companies selling copies of certified deeds at a rate much higher than one needs to pay. While this practice is misleading, it is legal.

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search A certified copy of a document has the legal validity of the original document. Your deed is a document or written legal instrument which, when executed and delivered, conveys an interest in or legal title to a property. If you have lost or misplaced your original deed you can obtain a certified copy from the Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division, in person, or by mail. Deeds recorded prior to 1978 must be ordered in person or by written request. The county charges a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/$2.00 certified). If you have questions for the County Records Division, they can be reached at 954.831.4000. (Note: the County Records Division is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser’s Office.)

Non-certified copies of deeds and many other important documents are available for free online at Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division’s website (www.broward.org/records), which is also linked from our office’s website. Reviewing and obtaining a non-certified copy of your deed is simple: Go to www.bcpa.net and go to Property Search page, click on the “Owner Name” button, and search by your last name, followed by a comma, and then your first name. After hitting the SEARCH button, you must select your property from a list. To select your property, click on the “Parcel Number” in the same row as your address. All the information on your property will be displayed. More than half way down this page, there will be a section labeled “Sales History.” Click on the top “Book/Page or CIN” (colored blue) to view the most current version of the deed.

If you need more information about viewing deeds, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net and “click” on FAQ on the homepage and review the Deeds – Where can I find a copy of my deed? You can also contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


March 2014

“Missed the Homestead Exemption Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I understand the deadline to file for property tax exemptions was March 3rd, 2014. I was out of town visiting relatives and missed the March deadline. Is there anything I can do at this point to have my property tax exemption applied for 2014?

L.D., Dania Beach, FL (via email)

You still have time to file for your 2014 exemptions! The traditional filing period for 2014 Homestead Exemption was March 2, 2013 through March 3, 2014. The absolute deadline to "Late File" for any 2014 property tax exemption - if you missed the March 3, 2014 timely filing deadline is September 17, 2014. State law (Sec 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for property tax exemptions after the September 17 late filing deadline, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadlines.

Our office accepts late applications for 2014 Homestead, Senior, Disability, Widow/Widower, Granny Flat, Portability, Non-Profit and all other exemptions until September 17, 2014. To qualify for a 2014 exemption, you must have owned and occupied the property for which you are applying on or before January 1, 2014.

You may also be eligible for Portability. Portability allows Homesteaded owners to transfer some or all of their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit from their old home to their new home. Your Portability amount is determined by the difference between the "Just Value" and the "Assessed / SOH Value" of your previous property in the year of Homestead abandonment. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2012 or 2013, gave up the exemption, and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2014, you may be eligible for Portability. In order to receive your Portability for tax year 2014, you must file for Homestead and complete a Portability application with our office by September 17, 2014.

There are several ways to complete your exemption application. You can apply online at www.bcpa.net, visit our office at 115 S Andrews Ave., Room 111, in Fort Lauderdale, or you can apply at one of our many community outreach events throughout the county. View our entire outreach calendar at www.bcpa.net/events.asp to find out when we will be in your neighborhood. If you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at 954.357.6830.


February 2014

“File Now for the Low-Income Senior’s Additional Homestead Exemption!”

Dear Lori,

Last year my mother forgot to return the senior renewal postcard your office mailed to her home. I understand she will need to re-apply. What are the eligibility requirements and how does she apply for the Low-Income Senior’s Tax Exemption?

J.S., Century Village, FL (via email)

Our office mailed over 24,000 senior renewal notice postcards in January this year. The Senior’s Low-Income Additional Homestead Exemption – which applies only to the county and city portion of the taxes – saves the average Broward senior nearly $300 each year. This exemption must be renewed annually. For seniors who received this exemption in 2013, the renewal process simply requires them to sign and return the renewal post card to our office. If your mom did not receive the exemption in 2013, she will need to re-apply for 2014. In order to qualify for the Low-Income Senior Exemption for 2014, applicant must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1, 2014 and have a combined household adjusted gross income for 2013 not exceeding $27,994. If your mom qualifies for this exemption, please follow the easy filing steps listed below:

If You File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (C), and Part (D) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household to the Property Appraiser on or before March 1, 2014.

  3. Submit a copy of your 2013 Income Tax Return Form 1040 and W-2 for all persons residing in your home (excluding renters and boarders) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2014

If You Do Not File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (B), and Part (E) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Complete Lines 1 – 4 of the IRS Form 4506 and sign the form.

  3. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household, proof of age, and IRS Form 4506 to the Property Appraiser by March 1, 2014.

  4. Submit a copy of your Social Security Statement (SSA 1099) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2014

Our office staff will be happy to help you obtain and complete the necessary forms. For more information about the Low-Income Senior Exemption or to obtain the necessary forms, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830.


December 2013

“A New Year Brings New Community Service to Our Customers”

Dear Lori,

I never realized your community outreach team holds weekly events at Pompano Beach City Hall in State Representative Gwyndolen Clark-Reed’s office. Our local civic association is always looking for special programs and speakers. What does your office do in terms of community outreach programs, elderly and homebound assistance?

R.S., Pompano Beach, FL (via email)

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish - Outreach
BCPA LORI PARRISH
COMMUNITY OUTREACH
In order to serve our diverse community, our office has enhanced
community outreach efforts to accommodate individuals and groups. It is our goal to bring our services and information programs directly to where you live and work. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA outreach staff assisting taxpayers with filing for exemptions at civic association meetings, condo clubhouses, senior centers, city halls, and many other community locations throughout Broward.

We’ve already scheduled over 500 customer service outreach events for the 2014 tax exemption filing season. For a complete listing of current community outreach events, please visit our Outreach Calendar at www.bcpa.net. You can also apply for your Homestead Exemption or learn more about other exemptions at our user-friendly website.

For those property owners who are homebound due to a disability or illness, our office will make arrangements for a deputy appraiser to visit your home to assist with exemption filing.

If you’d like to have someone from our office speak to your civic association’s members at an upcoming association meeting or to schedule a homebound visit, please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Nicoleta Jones at 954.357.5579 or email her at njones@bcpa.net. Remember: Helping Broward residents is our job!

If you would like more information about exemptions, community outreach events, homebound visits and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


November 2013

“The Perfect Home and the Perfect Partner – Be Sure To Protect Yourself!”

Dear Lori,

We are a retired same sex couple who recently bought a home in Broward County. Florida does not grant any legal recognition to the rights of same-sex couples – not even to registered domestic partners. What steps can we take to help us enjoy the same rights and financial protections under the law?

S.M., Tamarac, FL (via email)

There are several considerations which should be noted by members of the LGBT community – and any other unmarried persons who own property jointly. Florida law treats legally married couples differently than other categories of co-owners. They can apply for Homestead on behalf of their spouses. When they own property together, it generally creates a “Tenancy by the Entirety” extending full legal protections to both. Special provisions of law apply to them during their ownership, upon transfer of the property between spouses, upon dissolution of their marriage, or the death of one of the spouses.

Unfortunately, these protections are not provided to you, even if you have registered as “domestic partners” under Broward County law or are lawfully married in a State that recognizes same-sex marriages.

However, with proper planning, most of these benefits can be made available to domestic partners and other categories of owners. If it is your intent one co-owner will inherit the interest of the other co-owner upon his/her death, the deed should state the fact. This is generally called a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship (or JTRS). This means both partners own overlapping 100% interest in the property (like husband and wife). This avoids probate and is frequently used by others such as parents who wish to leave property to grown children.

It is also very important you both file individually for Homestead protection. Property owned as JTRS receives the full benefits of Homestead Exemption and Save-Our-Homes (SOH) protection and the benefit continues uninterrupted upon the death of an owner where both owners have filed Homestead on the property. Unless both of you file, the survivor may not be protected from massive tax hikes once they own the home.

A lawyer with experience in real estate and estate planning will assist you in making sure your wishes are carried out despite the hurdles in current Florida law. Every situation is different, and a lawyer/accountant can give you advice best customized to your financial needs and plans. We recommend you consult with your attorney to best protect your rights. If we can be of any assistance on questions relative to Homestead Exemption or Save-Our-Homes, please feel free to call our General Counsel’s Office at 954.357.6934 or email mila@bcpa.net or jerrod@bcpa.net.


October 2013

“Consider Partial Payments of Your Property Tax Bill!”

Dear Lori,

I wanted to know if there is any program to help me with paying my 2013 property taxes?

S.M., Tamarac, FL (via email)

Florida State Senator Jeremy Ring
SENATOR JEREMY RING
The Property Appraiser does not levy or collect taxes. In 2009, I asked
State Senator Jeremy Ring of Parkland to change state law to allow the Broward County Tax Collector to accept partial payments from taxpayers for payment of current year property taxes. We were successful in passing Senate Bill 1580 and getting then Governor Charlie Crist to sign this bill into law.

Between November 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014, a taxpayer can elect to make up to 5 partial payments, along with a $10.00 processing fee for each partial payment. Each partial payment must be at least $100 with the balance being paid in full by March 31, 2014 to avoid interest and penalties on the unpaid balance. There is no application for partial payments. Taxpayers must declare their intent to make partial payments to the Broward County Tax Collector at the time of their first remittance, and partial payments cannot be made online.

Any unpaid balance becomes delinquent and is handled like any other delinquent tax bill and will be subject to the same interest and penalties, including having a tax certificate sold pursuant to Florida Statute. Partial payments are not eligible for any early-payment discount. The taxpayer has the responsibility to ensure the remaining amount due is paid timely. The county will not send monthly invoices. Partial payments cannot be made on delinquent taxes.

Additionally, not all Florida counties are participating in this program. If you own properties in other counties, please check with your local Tax Collector’s Office to determine if this payment program is available.

Should you have any questions or wish to participate in the partial payment plan, please contact the Broward County Tax Collector at 954.831.4000 or visit their website at www.broward.org/RecordsTaxesTreasury.


September 2013

“Portability and Save Our Homes”

Dear Lori,

I just bought a new home in Broward County and need to file a new Homestead Exemption. What is “portability” and how do I apply for it?

H. G. Deerfield Beach, FL (via email)

The Save Our Homes (SOH) Amendment in Florida’s Constitution was intended to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes due to rapidly rising real estate values. It met the goal, but caused many other problems along the way.

As a result, Florida voters adopted a portability constitutional amendment in 2008 to allow eligible Homesteaded owners to move savings from one property to the next. Homesteaded owners may now move their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit -- up to $500,000 -- from one Homesteaded property to the next within Florida. To be eligible to move these SOH savings, the new Homestead must be established within two tax years of the "abandonment" of Homestead at the previously Homesteaded property. Owners of Homesteaded properties sold (or "abandoned as Homestead") are eligible to move their SOH savings to a newly purchased property so long as the owner obtains Homestead on the new property within the strict period allowed by law (see above). Portability applies to both upsizing and downsizing in value, based upon specified formulas. Portability may be used an unlimited amount of times and may be used for moves to anywhere within Florida. Portability does not require you to sell your previous home, but merely that you no longer claim it anywhere as your permanent residence.

If you are applying for a new Homestead Exemption AND you held a Homestead Exemption on a previous property within the last 2 tax-years anywhere in Florida (not two years from the date you sell, or no longer reside on the property), you should also submit a Portability application with your Homestead application. Note: a Portability application transfers any tax savings you have earned, but it does NOT transfer your Homestead Exemption from one property to another. You MUST first apply for a Homestead Exemption in order to be eligible for Portability. Go to www.bcpa.net to begin the online Homestead application process and you will automatically be prompted to print and complete a Portability application if your application information indicates you held an eligible Homestead Exemption on a previous Florida property.

You can also apply at one of our community outreach events listed under the outreach calendar on our homepage at www.bcpa.net or at our office located at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111 in Fort Lauderdale. If you have any questions regarding filing for Homestead, Portability or other exemptions, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830 or visit our website at www.bcpa.net. We are happy to assist you.


August 2013

“It’s TRIM Time for Broward County Residents!”

Dear Lori,

When does the Broward County Property Appraiser's Office mail out the 2013 proposed tax notices?

S.B., Pembroke Pines, FL (via email)

TRIM Notice
TRIM NOTICE
Beginning August 12, the Broward County Property Appraiser will mail about 100,000 notices a day for the next 8 days, copies of the proposed 2013 or
“Truth-in-Millage” (TRIM) Notices to property owners on behalf of the various Broward County taxing authorities. The over 760,000 2013 TRIM Notices will provides property owners with their 2013 property assessment information, exemptions, proposed tax amounts and proposed tax rates. These notices also inform property owners of their rights to both appeal their property assessment and to attend their various taxing authority budget hearings regarding the proposed tax rates.

The Property Appraiser's Office does not set tax rates or collect taxes. If you wish to discuss the proposed tax rate or any new fees or fee increases on your TRIM Notice, you should contact the County Commission, School Board, City Commission and other taxing authorities. The TRIM Notice will include phone numbers for each taxing authority, as well as the schedule of public budget hearings.

The Property Appraiser determines the market value on the proposed property tax notice and grants qualified exemptions. If you believe the market value of your property printed on the TRIM Notice is not what a buyer would have reasonably paid for your property on January 1, 2013, you must contact or visit our office or file a value petition by the September 18, 2013 deadline. You can call, e-mail or visit our office to discuss your property assessment. For residential properties, please call 954.357.6831 or email Scott Lewis at slewis@bcpa.net. For condo, co-op and timeshare properties, please call 954.357.6832 or email Maureen Morrison at mmorrison@bcpa.net. For exemption questions and assistance, please call 954.357.6830 or email Kelly Brown at kbrown@bcpa.net. You may also visit our office located in Room 111 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue (just south of Broward Boulevard) in Fort Lauderdale. Our office is open weekdays from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. To better accommodate the schedules of working families, our office will be open on Saturday, September 7 and Saturday, September 14 from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Click to file a petition online with the Value Adjustment Board If you disagree with our determination of market value, we will help you file an appeal petition directly with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) by the September 18, 2013 deadline. All valuation petitions must be received by the VAB (115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 120, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301) by this deadline. You may also file a petition online with the VAB http://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2013. The VAB can be contacted directly at vab@broward.org or 954.357.7205.

For further information on assessments, exemptions, and the TRIM Notice, please visit www.bcpa.net or call 954.357.6830. We will help you protect your rights as a property owner.


July 2013

“Do Not Pay Companies for a Copy of Your Original Deed!”

Dear Lori,

I received a letter today from the Local Records Office in Tallahassee, Florida stating the company provides a copy of the only document or deed identifying me as the property owner. They are requesting an $89.00 processing fee to obtain one for me. In your opinion, should I get one, and is this fee fair? What would it cost me to get it directly from Broward County?

S.G., Fort Lauderdale (via email)

Our office has received several calls from concerned homeowners regarding this letter. This mailing is a solicitation from a private company selling copies of certified deeds at a rate much higher than one needs to pay. While this practice is misleading, it is unfortunately, legal.

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search A certified copy of a document has the legal validity of the original document. Your deed is a document or written legal instrument which, when executed and delivered, conveys an interest in or legal title to a property. If you have lost or misplaced your original deed you can obtain a certified copy from the Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division, in person, or by mail. Deeds recorded prior to 1978 must be ordered in person or by written request. The county charges a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/$2.00 certified). If you have questions for the County Records Division, they can be reached at 954.831.4000. (Note: the County Records Division is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser’s Office.)

Non-certified copies of deeds and many other important documents are available for free online at Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division’s website (www.broward.org/records), which is also linked from our office’s website. Reviewing and obtaining a non-certified copy of your deed is simple: Go to www.bcpa.net and go to Property Search page, read the statement shown, and click on “Accept,” click on the “Owner Name” button, and search by your last name, followed by a comma, and then your first name. After hitting the SEARCH button, you must select your property from a list. To select your property, click on the “Parcel Number” that is in the same row as your address. All the information on your property will be displayed. More than half way down this page, there will be a section labeled “Sales History.” Click on the top “Book Number” (colored blue) to view the most current version of the deed.

If you need more information about viewing deeds, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


June 2013

“Estimate of Taxable Value Increases 4.39% for Broward!”

Dear Lori,

I am a local realtor and would like to get some information on the 2013 taxable value estimates for Broward County? I understand your office just released a report forecasting an increase in property values across Broward County. Is this report available to the public?

A.S., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

Our office released the 2013 Estimate of Taxable Values on May 29, 2013. The overall 2013 tax roll value did increase throughout Broward County when compared with 2012. These numbers resulted in a total countywide taxable value increase of 4.39%, resulting in a total taxable value of $132.075 billion. However, the 4.39% increase does not apply to every municipality within the county (please keep in mind the 4.39% increase represents the sum total of all taxable value in Broward County). Some areas saw a taxable value increase greater than 4.39%, while others Lazy Lake and unincorporated area experienced a decrease. To see a breakdown by taxing authority (County, Municipal, District, etc.), go to our website, www.bcpa.net, click on Site Index on the left side of the homepage, then click 2013 Tax Roll Information, and finally 2013 June 1st Taxable Value Report.”

The numbers released on May 29th will be virtually identical to the final numbers which will be formally confirmed on the Certification of Tax Roll Value on July 1, 2013. The only changes, if any, will be to correct any errors discovered over the next 30 days and to extend any exemptions received and approved. All new 2013 exemptions and Save Our Home portability applications filed to date are already reflected in these numbers.

Please keep in mind the 2013 assessments reflect the values as of January 1, 2013 as set by qualified sales in the January 2, 2012 through January 1, 2013 assessment period. Likewise, the 2014 assessments will reflect the prices realized during this current calendar year.


May 2013

“Adverse Possession Reform Passes Florida Legislature”

Dear Lori,

We are interested in knowing about the status of efforts to reform the adverse possession law in Florida. We think it’s wrong to allow squatters to occupy property they do not own! What can we do to help?

D.W., Miramar, FL

Adverse possession is a method of acquiring title to real property by possession of such property for a statutorily defined period of time. It may be accomplished by possession with color of title (some documents that show ownership), or without color of title (without a deed or recorded instrument). To acquire adverse possession without color of title, a claimant must openly possess the real property, must maintain and occupy the land, and must file a return with the county property appraiser.

Delray Squatter House
DELRAY SQUATTER HOUSE
As a result of all our foreclosures, a glut of vacant homes has increased the opportunity for “squatters”, who are fraudulently abusing this archaic Florida law. These squatters are breaking the law by illegally occupying foreclosed homes. There have been instances where these foreclosed homes were rented to unsuspecting tenants. Compounding the problem is law enforcement viewing “squatters” as a civil issue – not a criminal trespass issue!

Florida Statehouse Representative Jim Waldman
REP. JIM WALDMAN
Our office asked the Broward County State Legislative Delegation for their help. Just this week, the Florida Legislature passed SB 1166 (Bradley) & CS/HB 903 (Davis/Waldman) to reform the adverse possession law of Florida. This bi-partisan effort reforms this sixteenth century doctrine and gives local government the means to stop this abuse. The bill tightens the actual possession requirements; it requires the “possessor” to have paid all outstanding taxes and liens against the property by the state, county, and municipality within 1 year after entering into the possession. It also makes it clear abuse of adverse possession is criminal trespass and offering the property for lease to another commits criminal theft.

The bill awaits the Governor’s approval. You can help by contacting the Governor and ask him to approve CS/HB 903. The contact information is: Office of the Governor, State of Florida – The Capital, 400 S Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001. You may also call the office at (850) 488-7146 or email the Governor at http://www.flgov.com/gov-scott/. Thank you to Senator Jeremy Ring and State Representatives Jim Waldman, Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, Joe Gibbons, and Rick Stark for co-sponsoring this important reform measure.


April 2013

“Check Homestead Status of the Deceased”

Dear Lori,

Our mother passed in 2011 and my sister resided at the property with her and continues to do so. The property is still in probate. We were shocked to receive notice of a tax lien and back tax for 2012. We didn’t realize we needed to notify you of her passing and cancel the Homestead Exemption for the property.

S.W., Deerfield Beach, FL

Each year our office mails a Homestead Renewal Notice and “change-card” to all Homesteaded properties. This card allows property owners to notify the Property Appraiser of any change of property use or ownership status. If anyone named on the Homestead Exemption has died, you must report it to our office to avoid potential penalties. The Homestead Exemption of a deceased person must be removed in the year immediately following the individual’s passing. Homestead Exemptions do not transfer to family members and do not remain with the property after the Homesteaded owner dies.

Click to BCPA Fraud page Failure to report the death of a Homesteaded owner or Homesteaded trust beneficiary may result in a costly back tax lien, plus penalties and interest, for continuing to improperly receive the benefits of the expired exemption. State law allows for a back tax for as many as ten years, plus payment of substantial penalty and annual interest (50% of the unpaid taxes for each year and pay interest at a rate of 15% per year).

If you are a surviving spouse or otherwise believe you are entitled to an exemption, you must file your own application to receive the benefit. If you have any questions relating to the death of the owner or need assistance in filing for Homestead, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830.

If you know of anyone claiming Homestead Exemption on a property which is rented, vacant or merely a vacation home, we urge you to contact the investigators in our Department of Professional Standards and Compliance at 954.357.6900 or http://www.bcpa.net/fraudform.asp and we’ll check it out. You are free to provide your contact information or remain completely anonymous when reporting potentially fraudulent activity to our office. Once potential fraud is reported, our office will fully investigate each tip.


March 2013

“Missed the Homestead Exemption Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I noticed in the Sun-Sentinel the deadline to file for property tax exemptions was March 1st. I was out of town and missed the March 1 deadline to file my 2013 Homestead Exemption. Is there anything I can do at this point to have my property tax exemption applied for 2013?

M.C., Deerfield Beach, FL (via email)

You still have time to file for your 2013 exemptions! The traditional filing period for 2013 Homestead Exemption was March 2, 2012 through March 1, 2013. The absolute deadline to "Late File" for any 2013 property tax exemption - if you missed the March 1, 2013 timely filing deadline is September 18, 2013. State law (Sec 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for property tax exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadlines.

Our office accepts late applications for 2013 Homestead, Senior, Disability, Widow/Widower, Granny Flat, Portability, Non-Profit and all other exemptions until September 18, 2013. To qualify for a 2013 exemption, you must have owned and occupied the property for which you are applying on or before January 1, 2013.

You may also be eligible for Portability. Portability allows Homesteaded owners to transfer some or all of their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit from their old home to their new home. Your Portability amount is determined by the difference between the "Just Value" and the "Assessed / SOH Value" of your previous property in the year of Homestead abandonment. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2011 or 2012, gave up the exemption, and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2013, you may be eligible for Portability. In order to receive your Portability for tax year 2013, you must file for Homestead and complete a Portability application with our office by September 18, 2013.

There are several ways to complete your exemption application. You can apply online at www.bcpa.net, visit our office at 115 S Andrews Ave., Room 111, in Fort Lauderdale, or you can apply at one of our many community outreach events throughout the county. View our entire outreach calendar at www.bcpa.net/events.asp to find out when we will be in your neighborhood. If you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at 954.357.6830.


February 2013

“File Now for the Low-Income Senior’s Additional Homestead Exemption!”

Dear Lori,

Last year was the first time I qualified for the Low-Income Senior Additional Exemption. I understand I have to re-apply every year? How do I re-apply and did any eligibility requirements change for 2013?

W.P., Century Village – Deerfield Beach, FL (via email)

This year our office mailed over 28,000 senior renewal notice postcards. The renewal card requires the taxpayer to fill it out, sign and return it to our office by May 1. If you have not received your 2013 senior renewal card, please contact our office so you may continue to benefit from the Low-Income Additional Homestead Exemption. This exemption applies only to the county’s portion of the taxes and city taxes for residents of cities which have chosen to adopt the additional exemption. This exemption saves the average Broward senior nearly $300 each year in property taxes. In order to qualify for the Low-Income Senior Exemption for 2013, an applicant must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1, 2013 AND have a combined household adjusted gross income for 2012 not exceeding $27,590. If you or anyone you know qualifies for this exemption, please follow the easy filing steps listed below:

If You File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (C), and Part (D) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household to the Property Appraiser on or before March 1, 2013.

  3. Submit a copy of your 2011 Income Tax Return Form 1040 and W-2 for all persons residing in your home (excluding renters and boarders) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2013

If You Do Not File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (B), and Part (E) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Complete Lines 1 – 4 of the IRS Form 4506 and sign the form.

  3. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household, proof of age, and IRS Form 4506 to the Property Appraiser by March 1, 2013.

  4. Submit a copy of your Social Security Statement (SSA 1099) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2013

Our office staff will be happy to help you obtain and complete the necessary forms. For more information about the Low-Income Senior Exemption or to obtain the necessary forms, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830.


January 2013

“Help Us Complete Your Residential Property Survey!”

Dear Lori,

Our family received your News for Broward Taxpayers Newsletter with the 2013 Homestead Exemption Renewal Notice. On the back of the newsletter is a residential property survey your office wants us to complete. Why is this survey so important?

J. P., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

Every year our office works to improve and update our property records to better serve you. We are seeking your help once again to further enhance our system. It is important to note your responses will not change your assessed value, as we utilize mass appraisal methods involving the total square feet of improvements on your property and qualified sales of comparable properties, in order to determine assessed value. The information reported will simply help you and others like you, who conduct research on our website by ensuring accurate data.

If you received our newsletter in the mail with your Homestead Renewal Notice, you have the option of completing this quick survey online at www.bcpa.net/survey using the PIN number printed on your renewal receipt. If you do not have a PIN number or you do not have access to the internet, you may use the printed form to participate. Please see the back page of our newsletter if you’d prefer to respond using the printed form. Once complete, simply fax the survey to 954.357.8474 or mail to: Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office, 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room 111, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.

If you are computer friendly, you can look up your property on our website and review the current building sketches on those pages. Just click on the blue “See Sketch” link on the lower right-hand side of the property record page. We use the adjusted square foot (“Adj. Bldg. S.F.”) measurement of a building to determine the value of your property, not actual square footage, and may result in measurements higher or lower than the numbers we use. Adjusted square feet are measured from the outside walls of the building, and include garages, open patios, covered entries, second floors, carports, and so forth. These parts of a building are calculated using a fraction of their actual square feet to determine the adjusted square feet. This ensures all properties in Broward are measured and assessed on an identical basis. Please call 954.357.6831 or email me at lori@bcpa.net, if you see any errors in the sketch of your home.

While completing the property survey is purely voluntary, any assistance you provide will help ensure you pay no more than your fair share of taxes. Please take a few minutes to help ensure our records about your property are accurate. Important: If you previously completed this survey you do not need to resubmit it this year.

Thank you in advance for all your help. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact our Residential Appraisal Division at 954.357.6831 or email slewis@bcpa.net.


December 2012

“Florida Voters Approve New Tax Savings for Eligible Homesteaders!”

Dear Lori,

Can you tell me what new state constitutional amendments passed and what it means for eligible property owners?

V.K., Plantation, (via email)

Florida voters in November approved three new state constitutional amendments which create additional homestead tax savings for eligible property owners. Some of the changes take effect immediately for the 2013 tax year. Other portions first require the Florida Legislature and local governments to enact changes in law before the additional benefits can be carried out.

Combat-Disabled Veterans This amendment deletes the requirement a veteran had to be a Florida resident at the time of entering military service to receive a Veteran Property Tax Discount. This exemption, which takes effect immediately for 2013, provides an additional property tax discount on the homesteaded property of partially or totally permanently disabled veteran, age 65 or older as of January 1, and whose disability was combat related.

Surviving Spouses of First Responders Who Die in the Line of Duty This amendment allows the Legislature to provide property tax relief on homesteaded property to the surviving spouse of a veteran who died from service-connected causes on active duty or the surviving spouse of a first responder who died in the line of duty. The Legislature must adopt enabling statutes before this exemption becomes effective. Legislative action is expected by May 2013, which may permit eligible persons to apply these new saving starting in 2013.

Additional Homestead Tax Exemption for Seniors This allows counties or municipalities to grant either or both of the following:

  • An exemption not exceeding $50,000 to any person who has the legal or equitable title to real estate; maintains their permanent residence on the property; is 65 or older; and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation; and/or

  • An additional exemption equal to the assessed value of the property to an owner who has title to real estate in Florida with a just value less than $250,000; has maintained permanent residence on the property for not less than 25 years; is 65 or older and whose household income does not exceed the income limitation.

The income limitation for 2012 is a Household Adjusted Gross Income of no more than $27,030 (adjusted annually), the State will determine the 2013 limitation in January 2013.

If you would like more information about property tax exemptions, exemption filing, assessments, community outreach events, homebound visits, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.445.6830.


November 2012

“Where are My Exemptions on the Tax Bill?”

Dear Lori,

I bought and moved into my first home in March 2012. I filed for Homestead Exemption at one of your community outreach events in Sunrise Lakes and was told my application has been approved. I just received my 2012 tax bill and can’t understand where the Homestead Exemption is listed?

T.G., Sunrise Lakes, FL., (via email)

Our office receives numerous calls every year asking us to confirm property tax exemptions on tax bills. The Property Appraiser’s Office does not set or collect taxes. We simply calculate assessments and grant exemptions to qualified individuals. The property tax bills for 2012 are mailed out by the Broward County Records, Taxes & Treasury Division on or before November 1, of each year to more than 400,000 property owners.

All qualified Florida residents are entitled to a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots. To qualify for Homestead, you must own and occupy the property as your primary residence on January 1. By Florida law, all assessments and exemptions are based upon the status of the property on January 1. Thus, if the former owners of your new home had Homestead, Senior, Widow/Widower, Disability or other exemptions on January 1, 2012, you will inherit these exemptions on your 2012 property tax bill unless the previous owner applies for portability to another property in the same tax year. The 2012 exemptions will automatically expire at the end of 2012. Your new 2013 Homestead Exemption will be reflected next year on all 2013 property records, notices and tax bills.

Please remember any additional property tax exemptions, such as the Widow/Widower, Disability or Veteran’s Exemption status effective after January 1, 2012 will be applied on your 2013 property tax bill.

Current exemptions are not listed individually on the county tax bill. Rather, they are valued together and listed under the column titled “Exemptions” on your tax bill. Your tax bill is calculated by applying the tax rate to your assessed value minus your exemptions and then adding on your non-ad valorem fees.

Remember: By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which the permanent residence is determined and qualified exemptions are granted. If you need more information about your 2012 property taxes and payment options visit www.broward.org/recordstaxestreasury, or call the Broward Call Center at 954.831.4000. If you need more information about your property tax assessment and exemptions, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


October 2012

“Consider Partial Payments of Your Property Tax Bill!”

Dear Lori,

I am a senior citizen with a Low-Income Homestead Exemption. I wanted to know if there is any program to help me with paying my property taxes? I was told by your office a new state law allows taxpayers to make partial payments on their tax bills? How does this program work?

P.L., Plantation, (via email)

Florida State Senator Jeremy Ring
SENATOR JEREMY RING
While the Property Appraiser does not levy or collect taxes, I did ask
State Senator Jeremy Ring of Parkland back in 2009 to change state law to allow the Broward County Revenue Department to accept one or more partial payments from taxpayers for property taxes and assessments. We were successful in passing Senate Bill 1580 and getting then Governor Charlie Christ to sign this bill into law.

The Broward County Commission enacted this “local option” law. The Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division can now accept up to 5 partial payments, along with a $10.00 processing fee for each partial payment. Partial payments can only be made on current 2012 taxes between November 1st, 2012 and March 31st, 2013. The balance must be paid in full before April 1st to avoid interest and penalties on the unpaid balance.

Any unpaid balance becomes delinquent and is handled like any other delinquent tax bill and will be subject to the same interest and penalties, including having a tax certificate sold pursuant to Florida Statute. Partial payments are not eligible for any early-payment discount. The taxpayer has the responsibility to ensure that the remaining amount due is paid timely. The county will not send monthly invoices. Partial payments cannot be made on delinquent taxes.

Not all Florida counties are participating in this program. If you own properties in other counties, please to check with your local Tax Collector’s Office to determine if this program is available.

Should you have any questions or wish to participate in the partial payment plan, please contact the Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division at 954.831-4000 or visit their website at www.broward.org/recordstaxestreasury.


September 2012

“Report Homestead Exemption Fraud”

Dear Lori,

I was watching a 7 News “Carmel on the Case” television news report about your office’s crack down on homeowners who are fraudulently claiming Homestead Exemption on second homes and investment properties. I live in Fort Lauderdale and want to help. How can I report these abuses without causing a problem with the neighbor?

T.R., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

Click to BCPA Fraud page Property owners who file false applications to obtain a Homestead Exemption are breaking the law and causing you to pay more in property taxes each year. Why? Because your various taxing authorities, such as the County, City and School Board, must equitably divide the tax burden among all property owners within their jurisdictions in order to provide services such as police, fire, and schools. If someone lies to lower his or her taxes, someone else must pay more to make up the difference.

Our office aggressively seeks to stop Homestead fraud and catch homeowners in Broward who are fraudulently claiming a Homestead Exemption on their properties. We work with local governments, homeowner and civic associations to help identify exemption fraud. We recently teamed-up with the City of Fort Lauderdale and for the past five months, a Fort Lauderdale Police Detective has been coordinating with the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office. So far, this collaborative effort with the City of Fort Lauderdale has resulted in the discovery of over 120 instances of Homestead fraud in Fort Lauderdale. Since we started this program, our office has restored over $10 million in taxable property value and recouped $1,117,659 in back taxes and revenue.

If you know of anyone claiming Homestead Exemption on a property which is rented, vacant or merely a vacation home, we urge you to contact the investigators in our Department of Professional Standards and Compliance at 954.357.6900 or http://www.bcpa.net/fraudform.asp and we’ll check it out. You are free to provide your contact information or remain completely anonymous when reporting potentially fraudulent activity to our office.

Once potential fraud is reported, our office will fully investigate each tip. Property owners who intentionally cheat on Homestead Exemption can be back taxed for as many as ten years, plus be required to pay substantial penalty and annual interest (50% of the unpaid taxes for each year and pay interest at a rate of 15% per year).


August 2012

“It’s TRIM Time for Broward County Residents!”

Dear Lori,

I just received my “Do Not Pay – This Is Not A Bill” proposed property tax notice from your office. It looks like my city is raising the tax rate. How can I question the hike and my proposed assessment?

S.B., Oakland Park, FL (via email)

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
While the Property Appraiser’s Office does not set tax rates or collect taxes, we do mail over 758,000
“Truth-in-Millage” (TRIM) Notices of proposed 2012 property taxes to property owners on behalf of the various taxing authorities, during the month of August. The 2012 TRIM Notice or proposed property tax notice provides property owners with all their 2012 property tax assessment information, exemptions, proposed tax amounts and proposed tax rates. These notices also inform property owners of their rights to both challenge their property assessment and to speak out at the various taxing authority budget hearings.

If you think the tax rates are too high, you should contact the County Commission, School Board, City Commission and other taxing authorities listed on you TRIM Notice. The TRIM Notice will include phone numbers for each taxing authority, as well as the schedule of budget hearings.

If you believe your real property value is wrong– meaning you believe it does not reflect the true market value of your property on January 1, 2012 – the first thing you should do is email or contact our office. You can call, e-mail or visit our office to discuss your property assessment. For residential properties, please call 954.357.6831 or email Scott Lewis at slewis@bcpa.net. For condo, co-op and timeshare properties, please call 954.357.6832 or email Maureen Morrison at mmorrison@bcpa.net. You may also visit our office located in Room 111 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue (just south of Broward Boulevard) in Fort Lauderdale. If you are a qualified individual who needs a property tax exemption, a Customer Service Representative will assist you with filing for your exemptions before the September 18, 2012 exemption filing deadline. Our office is open weekdays from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM. To better accommodate the schedules of working families, our office will be open on Saturday, August 25 and Saturday, September 15 (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM).

Click to file a petition online with the Value Adjustment Board Click to Value Adjustment Board If you disagree with our determination, we will help you file an appeal petition directly with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) by the September 18, 2012 5:00 PM deadline. All valuation petitions must be received by the VAB (115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 119, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301) by this deadline. You may also file a petition online with the VAB http://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2012. The VAB can be contacted directly at vab@broward.org or 954.357.7205.

Please remember the Property Appraiser does not set tax rates or collect your taxes. For further information on assessments, exemptions, and the TRIM Notice, please visit www.bcpa.net or call 954.357.6830. We are happy to assist you.


July 2012

“Follow Our Office on Facebook and Twitter!”

Dear Lori,

I noticed your website, www.bcpa.net, has both Facebook and Twitter links on your homepage. Is it new and open to the public? Our homeowners association is always interested in current news and updates from your office.

R.S., Oakland Park, FL. (via email)

In order to serve our diverse community, our office uses the popular online social networking sites: Facebook and Twitter to help keep you updated on important news. We use “Facebook” and “Twitter” to inform Broward County residents about important property tax filing deadlines, proposed changes in the law, current BCPA news and our popular schedule of local community outreach events.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser on Facebook You can now follow our office – it’s easy! On Facebook, www.facebook.com, search for the “Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office” group and click the link to “Become a Friend,” or “friend” our office at www.facebook.com/propertyappraiser. On Twitter you can “follow” our office at, www.twitter.com/loriparrish and click the “Follow” button. Also, if you are already a member of Facebook or tweet on Twitter, you can access our page directly from our website, using the “links” located on the bottom of our homepage, at www.bcpa.net.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser on Twitter It is our goal to bring our services and information directly to where you live and work. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA staff assisting residents with filing for exemptions throughout Broward County. For a complete listing of community outreach events, please visit our online Outreach Calendar at www.bcpa.net. You can also utilize our website to easily file for Homestead Exemption or download helpful forms without having to visit our office.

If you would like more information about exemptions and our community outreach events, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


June 2012

“Estimate of Taxable Value Increases 1.2% for Broward!”

Dear Lori,

I am a local realtor and would like to know when the 2012 taxable value estimates for Broward County be announced? I understand your office has forecast an increase in property values across Broward County for the first time since 2007.

S.G., Oakland Park, FL (via email)

Our office released the 2012 Estimate of Taxable Values on June 1, 2012. As we projected last year, the overall 2012 tax roll value did remain relatively flat throughout Broward County when compared with 2011. These numbers resulted in a total countywide taxable value increase of 1.2%, resulting in a total taxable value of $125.2 billion. However, the 1.2% increase does not apply to every municipality within the county (please keep in mind the 1.2% increase represents the sum total of all taxable value in Broward County). Some areas saw a greater increase in taxable value than 1.2%, while others still experienced a decrease. To see a breakdown by taxing authority (County, Municipal, District, etc.), go to our website, www.bcpa.net, click on Site Index on the left side of the homepage, then click 2012 Tax Roll Information, and finally 2012 June 1st Taxable Value Report.

The numbers released on June 1 will be virtually identical to the final numbers which will be formally confirmed on the Certification of Tax Roll Value on June 29, 2012. The only changes, if any, will be to correct any errors discovered over the next 30 days and to extend any exemptions received and approved. All new 2012 exemptions and Save Our Home portability applications filed to date are already reflected in these numbers.

Sales from the last part of 2011, and the first five months of 2012, reflect slight increases in most parts of Broward County. This data indicates we may have finally seen the end of this catastrophic real estate crash. Sales price trends seemingly indicate Broward reached overall market bottom a year ago and subsequently are holding steady. In general, we are starting to see mildly encouraging economic signs. Certainly, some distressed properties or isolated neighborhood pockets may see further value drops. Additionally, communities with larger numbers of condo units may continue to see modest value declines, as condo values traditionally take longer to stabilize and recover than single-family homes and commercial properties.


May 2012

“Protecting the Integrity of Our Tax Exemptions”

Dear Lori,

I’m a Broward Senior and a widow. Why did your office send me a letter asking me to prove my household income for 2011 was less than $27,030? I have been receiving the Additional Senior Homestead Exemption for years and always renew my exemption with your office on time.

M.W. Kings Point - Tamarac, FL (via email)

The letter you received was a Senior Exemption audit letter, for previously approved Additional Low-Income Senior Exemptions. Florida Homestead Exemption, Low-Income Senior, Disability, Widow/Widower, Granny Flat, Portability, Non-Profit and all other exemptions grant property owners significant tax savings each year. Thus, we constantly work to protect these valuable exemptions for all eligible taxpayers.

Click to Department of Revenue The Senior Additional Low-Income Homestead Exemption requires property owners to re-qualify annually based upon a specific adjusted household income cap. The Florida Department of Revenue adjusts the amount each year, based upon the cost-of-living index. This year the household adjusted gross limit was set at $27,030. Florida Statute (Section 196.075) requires our office “to generate random audits of the taxpayers’ sworn statements to ensure the accuracy of the household income reported...The Property Appraiser may not grant or renew the exemption if the documents requested is not provided.”

To complete this audit, you must submit a copy of your 2011 Income Tax Return 1040 for all persons residing in your home (excluding renters and boarders) to our office no later than June 1, 2012. If you do not file an Income Tax Return, please complete lines 1 through 4 of the IRS Form 4506-T, sign the form and return it to our office no later than June 1, 2012. We have enclosed a self-addressed envelope for your convenience.

Please understand you were selected entirely at random by our computer system. If you have questions or concerns about this random audit or other property tax exemptions, please feel free to contact our Costumer Service Division at 954.357.6830 or visit our website at www.bcpa.net. We are happy to assist you.


April 2012

“Missed the Homestead Exemption Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I missed the March 1 deadline to file my 2012 Homestead Exemption. Is there anything I can do at this point to have my property tax exemption applied for 2012?

L. C., Dania Beach, FL (via email)

You still have time to file for your 2012 exemptions! The traditional filing period for Homestead Exemption for 2012 was March 2, 2011 through March 1, 2012. The absolute deadline to "Late File" for any 2012 property tax exemption - if you missed the March 1, 2012 timely filing deadline is September 18, 2012. State law (Sec 196.011(8), Fla. Stat.) does not allow late filing for property tax exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadlines.

Our office accepts late applications for 2012 Homestead, Senior, Disability, Widow/Widower, Granny Flat, Portability, Non-Profit and all other exemptions until September 18, 2012. To qualify for a 2012 exemption, you must have been named on the deed; made the property your permanent residence, and owned no other property with any residency based exemptions as of January 1, 2012.

You may also be eligible for Portability. Portability allows Homesteaded owners to transfer some or all of their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit from their old home to their new home. Your Portability amount is determined by the difference between the "Just Value" and the "Assessed SOH Value" of your property in the year of Homestead abandonment. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2010 or 2011; gave up the exemption; and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2012, you may be eligible for Portability. In order to receive your Portability for tax year 2012, you must file for Homestead and complete a Portability application with our office by September 18, 2012.

There are several ways to complete your exemption application. You can apply online at www.bcpa.net, visit our office at 115 S Andrews Ave., Room 111, in Fort Lauderdale, or you can apply at one of our many community outreach events throughout the county. View our entire outreach calendar at www.bcpa.net/events.asp to find out when we will be in your neighborhood. To file for a 2012 or 2013 Homestead Exemption online, simply visit our website and click on the yellow box at the upper left corner of the home page. If you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at 954.357.6830.


March 2012

“Copies of Deeds are Public Records and Free”

Dear Lori,

We received a solicitation to get the deed to our property here in Deerfield Beach for a fee. My daughter and I were wondering how to obtain a copy of our deed instead of paying an intermediary. If you could direct us to the proper agency, either online or in person to get a copy, we would appreciate it.

E.M.P., Sunrise, FL (via email)

Every year our office learns of new solicitation mailings aimed at Broward County homeowners. The latest solicitation is designed to trick homeowners into believing they must pay a substantial fee, in some instances as much as $75, in order to have a company send them a "certified deed" for their property.

In fact, copies of deeds and many other important documents are already available online at Broward County's Records, Taxes and Treasury Division's website and linked from our office's website. The county will also provide you with a certified copy of your deed for a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/$2.00 certified).

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search Although this solicitation mailing is very misleading, it is currently permissible under the law. However, bills recently filed in the Florida House and Senate would block these solicitors from charging such exorbitant fees. Senate Bill 1668 by Senator Joyner of Tampa and House Bill 1469 by Representative Williams of Tallahassee would require companies to keep these fees more in line with the actual amount charged by government agencies administering these documents. Additionally, solicitors would be required to disclose the actual amount the county clerk or records office charges for issuing a certified copy, along with the website address and telephone number an individual may use to order a certified copy of a deed directly from the county clerk or records office.

Reviewing and obtaining a copy of your deed is simple: Go to www.broward.org/records and enter the public search field. Simply enter the name of the homeowner and you will be shown applicable property data enabling you to retrieve and print a copy of the recorded deed. On the www.bcpa.net website, simply click on the "book number", located under the "sales history" chart on the property record page to locate deed information.

If you would like more information about deeds or to obtain a free copy, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830


February 2012

“File now for the Low-Income Senior’s Additional Homestead Exemption!”

Dear Lori,

Last year my mother forgot to return the senior renewal postcard your office mailed to her home. I understand she will need to re-apply. What are the eligibility requirements and how does she apply for the Low-Income Senior’s Tax Exemption?

J.W., Hollywood, FL (via email)

This year our office mailed over 27,000 senior renewal notice postcards. The renewal card requires the taxpayer to sign and timely return it to our office. If your mom did not receive one she can re-apply for the Low-Income Additional Homestead Exemption – which applies only to the county’s portion of the taxes and city taxes for residents of cities that also adopted the additional exemption. This exemption saves the average Broward senior nearly $300 each year in property taxes. In order to qualify for the Low-Income Senior Exemption for 2012, applicant must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1, 2012 AND have a combined household adjusted gross income for 2011 not exceeding $27,030. If your mom qualifies for this exemption, please follow the easy filing steps listed below:

If You File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (C), and Part (D) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household to the Property Appraiser on or before March 1, 2012.

  3. Submit a copy of your 2011 Income Tax Return Form 1040 and W-2 for all persons residing in your home (excluding renters and boarders) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2012

If You Do Not File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (B), and Part (E) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Complete Lines 1 – 4 of the IRS Form 4506 and sign the form.

  3. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household, proof of age, and IRS Form 4506 to the Property Appraiser by March 1, 2012.

  4. Submit a copy of your Social Security Statement (SSA 1099) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2012

Our office staff will be happy to help you obtain and complete the necessary forms. For more information about the Low-Income Senior Exemption or to obtain the necessary forms, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830.


January 2012

“Help Us Complete Your Residential Property Survey!”

Dear Lori,

Our family received your News for Broward Taxpayers Newsletter with the 2012 Homestead Exemption Renewal Notice. On the back of the newsletter is a residential property survey your office wants us to complete. Why is this survey so important?

J. H., Pembroke Pines, FL (via email)

Our office always endeavors to improve and update our property records to better serve you. We are seeking your help to further enhance our system. It is important to note your responses will not change your assessed value, as we utilize mass appraisal methods involving the total square feet of improvements on your property and qualified sales of comparable properties, in order to determine assessed value. The information reported will simply help you, and others like you, who conduct research on our website by ensuring accurate data.

If you received our newsletter in the mail with your Homestead Renewal Notice, you have the option of completing this quick survey online at www.bcpa.net/survey using the PIN number printed on your renewal receipt. If you do not have a PIN number or you do not have access to the internet, you may use the printed form to participate. Please see the back page of our newsletter if you’d prefer to respond using the printed form. Once complete, simply fax the survey to 954-357-8474 or mail to: Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office, 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room 111, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.

If you are computer friendly, you can look up your property on our website and review the current building sketches on those pages. Just click on the blue “See Sketch” link on the lower right-hand side of the property record page. Please call 954-357-6831 or email me at lori@bcpa.net, if you see any errors in the sketch of your home.

While completing the property survey is purely voluntary, any assistance you provide will help ensure you pay no more than your fair share of taxes. Please take a few minutes to help ensure our records about your property are accurate. Important: If you previously completed this survey you do not need to resubmit it this year.

Thank you in advance for all your help. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact our Residential Appraisal Division at 954-357-6831 or email slewis@bcpa.net.


December 2011

“A New Year Brings New Community Service to Our Customers”

Dear Lori,

I am the new President of my neighborhood homeowner’s association. We are always looking for special programs and speakers to provide our members with community news and information. What does your office do in terms of community outreach programs for homeowner associations?

Betty S., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish - Outreach
BCPA LORI PARRISH
COMMUNITY OUTREACH
In order to serve our diverse community, our office has enhanced
community outreach efforts to accommodate individuals and groups. It is our goal to bring our services and information directly to where you live and work. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA staff assisting taxpayers with filing for exemptions at civic association meetings, condo clubhouses, senior centers, city halls, and many other community locations throughout Broward.

We’ve already scheduled over 300 customer service outreach events for the 2012 tax exemption filing season. For a complete listing of community outreach events, please visit our online outreach calendar at www.bcpa.net. The outreach program is designed to provide convenient and accessible service to all Broward residents. You can also utilize our website to easily file for Homestead Exemption or download helpful forms without having to visit our offices.

For those property owners who are homebound due to a disability or illness, we have a homebound program. Our office will make arrangements for an outreach deputy appraiser to visit your home or hospital to assist with exemption filing.

If you’d like to have someone from our office meet with your members at an upcoming association meeting or to schedule a homebound visit, please contact Customer Service and Exemptions Manager Kelly Brown at 954.357.5579 or email her at kbrown@bcpa.net. Remember: Helping Broward residents is our job!

If you would like more information about exemptions, assessments, community outreach events, homebound visits, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


November 2011

“Forgot to Renew or File your Property Tax Exemption?”

Dear Lori,

I just received my 2011 property tax bill from Broward County. After calling your office to confirm my exemptions, I was told I forgot to renew my Additional Senior Exemption. I am 67 years old and am eligible for the Additional Senior Exemption. Why can’t I have this exemption restored?

M.W., Century Village, Pembroke Pines, FL

We are receiving many phone calls from Broward senior citizens who were eligible to claim the Low-Income Senior’s Additional Homestead Exemption. This exemption saves, on average, $300 each year in taxes. To qualify for the Low-Income Senior Exemption, at least one Homesteaded owner must be 65 or older as of January 1, 2011 and the combined adjusted gross income of your household for 2010 must not have exceeded $26,203. Some seniors have had their 2011 Senior Exemption removed due to non-receipt of the Senior Renewal Card or some 2011 first-time filers simply forgot to complete the application requirements, such as submission of their 2010 income tax return or 2010 Social Security 1099 Form.

Unfortunately, the late filing deadline for all 2011 exemptions closed on September 19, 2011. State law (Section 196.011, Florida Statutes) does not allow our office to late file for any property tax exemptions after this date, regardless of any good cause reason for missing the late filing deadline.

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
We work hard to ensure all eligible Broward residents receive the property tax exemptions they qualify for every year. In January, our office mailed a Senior Renewal Card to each 2010 Senior Additional Homestead recipient. In April, we re-mailed a reminder to complete the Senior Renewal Card. In August, the annual “TRIM” or “Truth In Millage” notice was mailed to all Broward property owners which listed all approved exemptions.

If you did not renew your existing Senior Exemption for 2011 or failed to complete your application for a new 2011 Senior Exemption, you will need to re-apply for a new 2012 Senior Exemption after January 1, 2012. Our office staff will be happy to help you obtain and complete the necessary forms.

Remember: The Property Appraiser’s Office does not set or collect taxes. We simply calculate assessments and grant exemptions to qualified individuals. The property tax bills for 2011 are mailed out by the Broward County Records, Taxes & Treasury Division on or before November 1 of each year to more than 400,000 property owners. If you need more information about your 2011 property taxes and payment options visit www.broward.org/revenue, or call the Broward Call Center at 954-831-4000. If you need more information about your property tax assessment and exemptions, please visit our website a www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954-357-6830.


October 2011

“Pre-File Now For 2012 Homestead and Other Exemptions!”

Dear Lori,

My spouse and I recently purchased a condominium here in Florida, and moved to Broward County from New York. What are the requirements for new home buyers to obtain Homestead Exemption?

Shari M., Century Village, FL. (via email)

The late filing deadline for all 2011 exemptions closed on September 19, 2011. However, you can pre-file for 2012 exemptions including: Homestead, disability, widow/widower, granny flat, deployed military and portability. To be eligible for a 2012 exemption, your name must be on the deed and you must make the property your permanent residence by January 1, 2012.

You are also eligible for Homestead Exemption if you hold a life estate interest in the property or reside on the property owned by a Trust and live there pursuant to the terms of the Trust. Applicants must be a US Citizen, a Permanent Resident Alien, or hold PRUCOL asylum/refugee parole status in the US. You must be a registered Broward voter or file a notarized Declaration of Domicile form with the Broward County Recording Office. Applicants must either have a valid Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID Card (for non-drivers). You cannot keep a valid driver’s license in another state. Our office will also request from you the current tax or ownership status of any properties owned outside the State of Florida.

Homestead Exemption does not transfer. If you had Homestead on a previous property, you must file for a new Homestead Exemption once you have purchased and moved into a new permanent residence. It is unlawful to claim an exemption if you or your spouse is claiming a Homestead or other permanent residency-based tax exemption or credit in any other county, state or country.

To pre-file for Homestead Exemption, simply visit our website at www.bcpa.net. Just click the yellow button near the top left of our homepage to get started. To file for any other exemptions, visit our Download Forms page to find the appropriate application.

If you prefer to file in person, you can visit our office in downtown Fort Lauderdale, or visit our Outreach Calendar page at www.bcpa.net/events.asp to find a complete listing of community outreach events near you. We will be glad to assist you in completing your exemption applications. Should you have any questions about exemptions or community outreach events, please contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830.


September 2011

“When Purchase Price and Market Value Don’t Match”

Dear Lori,

I am a first time homeowner having purchased my condo in April. I recently received the proposed tax (TRIM) notice your office mailed out in late August. I don’t understand why the proposed market value assessment on my TRIM notice doesn’t match my recent purchase price.

N.J., Hollywood, FL (via email)

Pursuant to Florida law, property assessments are done a year in arrears with January 1 being the statutory date for determining the annual assessment. Market Value is our opinion of the real value of your property on the open market on January 1 of the current year. This means your 2011 assessment is based on the qualified sales in your area of like properties from January 1, 2011 back through January 2, 2010. Greater weight is placed on sales which occurred later in the year and closer to the assessment date. Adjusting for reasonable costs of sale and other statutory factors, we roughly value property at 88% of actual market prices for our assessment purposes. A purchase in 2011 will NOT be part of the market pool for determining the 2011 assessment. Instead, it will be used for the 2012 assessments.

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
After January 1, 2012, we will reassess your new property to reflect your 2011 purchase price. In mid-August of 2012, this new assessment and any applicable exemptions will be included in your 2012 proposed tax (TRIM) notice.

As a new home buyer you will inherit the seller’s current status for the 2011 tax year. This may or may not include any property tax exemptions the previous owner had on the property. At your closing, the sellers compensated you, the buyer, for their pro-rata share of the current year’s taxes. You will be responsible for the entire bill in November 2011. If you have any questions regarding filing for your Homestead or other exemptions, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at 954.357.6830 or visit our website at www.bcpa.net. We are happy to assist you.


August 2011

“It’s TRIM Time for Broward County Residents!”

Dear Lori,

My family is new to Florida. With the housing market still in decline, we now have many Broward cities looking to raise tax rates and fees in order to find new revenue. When does your office notify residents as to these rates, and when is the best time to discuss our valuations and exemptions?

M.W., Sunrise, FL (via email)

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
While the Property Appraiser’s Office does not set tax rates or collect taxes, we do mail over 758,000
“Truth-in-Millage” (TRIM) Notices of proposed 2011 property taxes to property owners during the month of August, on behalf of the various taxing authorities. The TRIM Notice or proposed property tax notice provides property owners with all their 2011 property tax assessment, exemptions, proposed tax amount and proposed tax rates for each governmental entity. These notices also inform property owners of their rights to both challenge their property assessment and to speak out at the various taxing authority budget hearings.

If you think the market value of your property is wrong – meaning you believe it does not reflect the true market value of your property on January 1, 2011 – please contact our office. If you think the tax rates are too high, you should contact the County Commission, School Board, City Commission and other taxing authorities listed on you TRIM (proposed tax) Notice. The TRIM Notice will include phone numbers for each taxing authority, as well as the schedule of budget public hearings.

Click to file a petition online with the Value Adjustment Board Click to Value Adjustment Board If you believe the market value of your property is wrong the first thing you should do is to contact our office. One of our appraisers will be happy to speak with you, listen to your concerns, and discuss the data we used to reach the value. If you disagree with our determination, we will help you file an appeal petition directly with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) by the September 19, 2011 5:00PM deadline. All valuation petitions must be received by the VAB (115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 119, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301) by this deadline. You may also file a petition online with the VAB http://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2011. Contact the VAB directly at vab@broward.org or 954.357.7205.

You may also visit our office located in Room 111 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue (just south of Broward Boulevard) in Fort Lauderdale to meet with a residential, commercial, or tangible personal property appraiser to discuss your assessment. If you are a qualified individual who needs a property tax exemption, a Customer Service Representative will assist you with filing for your exemptions. Our office is open weekdays from 7:00AM – 6:00PM. To better accommodate the schedules of working families, our office will be open on Saturday, August 27 and Saturday, September 17 (8:30AM-5:00PM).

Please remember the Property Appraiser does not set tax rates or collect your taxes. For further information on assessments, exemptions and the TRIM (proposed tax) Notice, please visit www.bcpa.net or call 954.357.6830. We are happy to assist you.


July 2011

“Taxable Values drop 1.6% for Broward”

Dear Lori,

I own a local title company. When are the taxable valuations for Broward County finalized? I know you announced last year we may have finally seen the end of this real estate crash. Do we have any good news this year on our local housing market stabilization?

J.R., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

On July 1, our office released the 2011 Taxable Values Report. Last year we projected the 2011 tax roll values would remain relatively flat compared with 2010 values. Our numbers show the countywide taxable value dropping 1.6% to $126.4 billion. This is improvement from the 10.6% drop and 11.7% drop we experienced in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

Sales from the last part of 2010 and the first five months of 2011 indicate most areas in the Broward market continue to stabilize – with a few notable exceptions. We have seen values increasing in some communities around Broward. While this does not necessarily mean values will begin increasing overall in the coming months, it does indicate an end to the sharp slide in values of 2007 -2010. Obviously, any potential Broward real estate recovery is largely dependent upon national economic conditions. Another contributing factor has been the “robo-signing” scandal which forced a halt to most foreclosure lawsuits, and reduced the number of foreclosures in the short-term. A revival of these stalled proceedings could cause some decline in values in the coming year, if an influx of abandoned foreclosed properties are dumped on the market. Thus, our office expects to see the tax roll remain relatively flat for next year, or with a nominal decline, similar to 2011 tax roll.

Please keep in mind the 2011 assessments reflect the values as of January 1, 2011, as set by qualified sales of comparable properties in the January 2, 2010 through January 1, 2011 assessment period (with greatest weight given to 4th quarter 2010 sales). Likewise, the 2012 assessments will reflect the prices realized during the 2011 calendar year.

Broward County residents can view their new taxable values online at www.bcpa.net. Broward residents can view the July 1st Taxable Value Report (by city) by clicking site index on the home page and 2011 Tax Roll Information.


June 2011

“New Tax Exemption for Deployed Service Members”

Dear Lori,

I am a retired Army officer and current realtor who works with active and retired military personnel. Last year a Florida Constitutional Amendment passed, granting property tax breaks to deployed military personnel. The Amendment requires the legislature to pass implementing legislation. Do you have any information on the implementation of the Active Duty Military Exemption approved last year? It is a well deserved break for my military clients who have sacrificed so much.

D.M. Colonel, USA Retired (via email)

The Homestead Ad Valorem Tax Credit for Deployed Military Personnel, also known as Amendment 2, was approved by the voters in the November 2010 General Election. Amendment 2 provides an additional homestead property tax exemption for a member of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard who receives a Homestead Exemption and was deployed in the previous year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of a designated military operation.

Click to Enduring Freedom website The implementing legislation, HB 1141; passed unanimously and was approved by the governor. This legislation identifies the qualifying deployments as Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn. Qualified service members shall receive an additional exemption equal to a percentage of the taxable value of his or her homestead property in the year following his or her deployment. The applicable percentage shall be calculated as the number of days in that year. For example, if a soldier were to be deployed in Afghanistan for six months, the exemption would apply to 50 percent of the following year’s ad valorem tax bill. For a three month deployment, a 25 percent exemption would be applied, and so on.

Click to Iraqi Freedom website The applying service member will be required to complete an application identifying which of the three operations he or she was deployed to; the dates deployed during the preceding year; and proof of deployment. This exemption becomes effective for the 2011 assessment year. Both the application and exemption details are posted on our website at www.bcpa.net. The deadline to apply for this year is September 19, 2011.

Additional exemptions are also available for Veterans’ Service-Related Disability Exemption, Full Exemption for Service-Connected Total and Permanent Disability, and Exemption for Combat-Wounded Florida Disabled Veterans. If you believe you or a family member may be eligible for a Veteran’s Exemption, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net and click on Homestead & Other Exemptions, located on the top of the page and scroll down to the applicable exemption or contact our Customer Service Division at 954.357.6830.


May 2011

“Protecting the Integrity of Our Senior Property Tax Exemption”

Dear Lori,

My neighbor recently received a letter from your office asking her to verify her 2010 adjusted gross income for her Additional Senior Exemption. I am 73 years old; I must be eligible for the Additional Senior Exemption. Why didn’t I receive the same letter as my neighbor?

M.W., Pompano Beach, FL

Many Florida senior citizens are eligible to claim the Senior’s Additional Homestead Exemption. This exemption saves, on average, $300 each year in taxes. To qualify for the Senior Exemption, at least one Homesteaded owner must be 65 or older as of January 1, 2011 and the combined adjusted gross income of your household for 2010 must not exceed $26,203. If you believe you will qualify for this valuable exemption, you still have until September 19, 2011 to file for a 2011 Additional Low Income Senior Exemption.

In order to submit your application for Senior Exemption, go to our website at www.bcpa.net and click-on Download Forms and print the Senior Homestead application. Simply complete and sign the application, and return it to our office along with a copy of the first two pages of your 2010 income tax return. If you do not file income taxes, you may submit a copy of your 2010 Social Security 1099 Form. If you would like us to mail you an application, or if you need assistance completing your application, please contact our Customer Service & Exemptions Department at 954.357.6830.

Click to Florida Department of Revenue website The letter your neighbor received was a Senior Exemption audit letter, for previously approved Senior Exemptions. The Senior Additional Homestead Exemption requires property owners to re-qualify annually based upon a specific adjusted household income cap. The Florida Department of Revenue adjusts the amount each year, based upon the cost-of-living index. Florida Statutes (Section 196.075) requires our office “to generate random audits of the taxpayers’ sworn statements to ensure the accuracy of the household income reported... The Property Appraiser may not grant or renew the exemption if the documentation requested is not provided.”

Florida Homestead Exemption, Low Income Senior Exemption, and Disability Exemptions grant property owners significant property tax savings each year. Thus, we constantly work to protect these valuable exemptions for all eligible taxpayers. If you would like to apply for Senior Exemption or have questions or concerns about this random audit, please feel free to contact our Costumer Service Division at 954.357.6830 or visit our website at www.bcpa.net. We are happy to assist you.


April 2011

“Report Homestead Exemption Fraud”

Dear Lori,

I was watching a Local 10 television news report about your office’s crack down on Hollywood homeowners who are fraudulently claiming Homestead Exemption on second homes and investment properties. I live in Hollywood and want to help. How can I report these abuses without causing a problem with the neighbor?

S.B., Hollywood, FL (via email)

Property owners who file false applications to obtain a Homestead Exemption are breaking the law and causing you to pay more in property taxes each year. Why? Because your various taxing authorities, such as the County, City and School Board, must equitably divide the tax burden among all property owners within their jurisdictions in order to provide services such as police, fire, and schools. If someone lies to lower his taxes, someone else must pay more to make up the difference.

Our office aggressively seeks to stop homestead fraud and catch homeowners in Broward who are fraudulently claiming a Homestead Exemption on their properties. We work with local governments, homeowner and civic associations to help identify exemption fraud. We recently teamed-up with the City of Hollywood and for the past eight months, a Hollywood Police Detective has been coordinating with the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office. So far, this collaborative effort has resulted in the discovery of over 1,187 instances of homestead fraud in Hollywood. We have restored over $69 million in taxable property value and recouped $750,000 in back taxes and revenue.

If you know of anyone claiming Homestead Exemption on a property which is rented, vacant or merely a vacation home, we urge you to contact the investigators in our Department of Professional Standards and Compliance at 954.357.6900 or http://www.bcpa.net/fraudform.asp and we’ll check it out. You are free to provide your contact information or remain completely anonymous when reporting potentially fraudulent activity to our office.

Once potential fraud is reported, our office will fully investigate each tip. Property owners who intentionally cheat on Homestead Exemption can be back taxed for as many as ten years, plus be required to pay substantial penalty and annual interest (50% of the unpaid taxes for each year and pay interest at a rate of 15% per year).


March 2011

“Missed the Homestead or Portability Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I missed the March 1 deadline to file my 2011 Homestead Exemption and Portability Applications. Is there anything I can do at this point to have my tax exemptions applied for 2011?

K.B., Pompano Beach, FL

You still have time to file for your 2011 exemptions! Recent changes in Florida law permit late filing of exemptions for the 2011 tax year through September 19, 2011. Our office accepts late applications for Homestead, Senior, Disability, Widow/Widower, Granny Flat, Portability, and Non-Profit exemptions. To qualify for a 2011 exemption, you must have purchased the property; be named on the deed; own no other property with any residency based exemptions; and made the property your permanent residence as of January 1, 2011.

In January 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment making some or all of the Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit portable. Portability allows Homestead owners to transfer some or all of their SOH benefit from their old home to their new home. Your portable amount is determined by the difference between the "Just Value" and the "Assessed SOH Value" of your property in the year of Homestead abandonment. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2009 or 2010; gave up the exemption; and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2011, you may be eligible for Portability. In order to receive your portability for tax year 2011, you must complete an application with our office by September 19, 2011.

There are several ways to complete your exemption application. You can apply online at www.bcpa.net, visit our main office at 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 111 in Fort Lauderdale, or you can apply at one of our many community outreach events throughout the county. View our entire outreach calendar at www.bcpa.net/events.asp to find out when we will be in your neighborhood. To file for a 2011 or 2012 Homestead Exemption online, simply visit our website at www.bcpa.net and click on the yellow box at the upper left corner of the home page. If you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at (954)357-6830.


February 2011

“File Now for the Low-Income Senior’s Additional Homestead Exemption!”

Dear Lori,

Last year I turned 65 and would like some information regarding the Senior’s Tax Exemption. What are the eligibility requirements and how do I apply for this exemption?

R.T., Pompano Beach, FL

Every year many Broward senior citizens become eligible to claim a Low-Income Additional Homestead Exemption – which applies only to the County’s portion of the taxes and city taxes for residents of cities that also adopted the additional exemption. This exemption saves the average Broward senior nearly $300 each year in property taxes. In order to qualify for the Low-Income Senior Exemption for 2011, applicant must be 65 years of age or older as of January 1, 2011 AND have a combined household adjusted gross income for 2010 not exceeding $26,203. If you qualify for this exemption, please follow the easy filing steps listed below:

If You File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (C), and Part (D) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household to the Property Appraiser on or before March 1, 2011.

  3. Submit a copy of your 2010 Income Tax Return Form 1040 and W-2 for all persons residing in your home (excluding renters and boarders) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1.

If You Do Not File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (B), and Part (E) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household.

  2. Complete Lines 1 – 4 of the IRS Form 4506 and sign the form.

  3. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household, proof of age, and IRS form 4506 to the Property Appraiser by March 1, 2011.

  4. Submit a copy of your Social Security Statement (SSA 1099) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2011.

Our office staff will be happy to help you obtain and complete the necessary forms. For more information about the Low-Income Senior Exemption or to obtain the necessary forms, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our Customer Service Division at 954.357.6830.


January 2011

“It’s Easy to File Your 2011 Property Tax Exemptions”

Dear Lori,

We are new to Broward County and need to file our property tax exemptions for this year. What are the requirements and easiest way for us to complete an application with your office?

M.B., Fort Lauderdale, FL

All legal Florida residents are eligible for a Homestead Exemption, Senior, Widow/Widower, Disability or other exemptions on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots if they qualify. To qualify for Homestead, you must both own and occupy the property, as your primary residence, as of January 1, 2011. Additionally, you must also meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a US Citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, or hold PROCUL asylum/refugee status.

  • Cannot have a Homestead or other residency-based exemption or tax credit in any other county, state or country. Florida law allows only one homestead per “family unit.”

  • Cannot rent out the home (unless you are active duty US military).

You may file for Homestead either online at www.bcpa.net, in person at our office in Fort Lauderdale, or at any of our community outreach events. To file, you must have the following documents showing proof of permanent Florida residence:

  • Florida Driver’s License (or for non-drivers only – an official Florida ID Card).

  • Broward Voter’s Card or recorded Declaration of Domicile).

  • For Non-US Citizens: Permanent Resident “Green Card”, proof of asylum/parole refugee status or INS I-485 letter showing that application to convert to permanent resident status is approved.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser on Twitter Click to Broward County Property Appraiser on Facebook Our outreach events calendar brings customer service directly to you. Property owners may file for homestead and other tax saving exemptions at our convenient outreach events. For a complete listing of our community dates and locations, visit our online calendar at www.bcpa.net/events.asp. The outreach program is designed to provide convenient and accessible service to all Broward residents. You may also track our outreach events on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/propertyappraiser or on Twitter@loriparrish.

Our office staff will help you with voter’s registration, driver’s license updates, and notarizing of Domiciles. For more information, about exemptions, online filing, and outreach programs, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our Community Outreach Representatives at 954.357.5579.


December 2010

“Understanding the “Year Built” Data on www.bcpa.net!”

Dear Lori,

I received a huge premium increase this year from my insurance company. After checking with my neighbors, we suspect the company is using data collected by your website to justify these increases. This is wrong. Is there anything your office can do to stop them from using this data to justify increases in premiums?

M.B., Fort Lauderdale, FL,

Our office has received a steady stream of complaints from Broward property owners regarding the erroneous use of the Property Appraiser’s projected “Effective Year Built” by insurance companies, such as Citizens Property Insurance. These companies are using this data to either deny coverage or justify increased premiums. We routinely receive complaints from taxpayers wherein the misinterpretation of ownership and Homestead information on our website has led to denial, or threat of denial, of insurance coverage.

Although our office uses an “Effective Year Built” to make adjustments to property assessments for renovations, additions, or improvements, it is in no way a reflection on how a property would fare in storm conditions, nor does it necessarily reflect the age of all structures on a parcel. The “Effective Year Built” merely reflects the overall effective age of all improvements, based upon condition, for ad valorem assessment purposes. It is in no way affirming nor denying whether the roof deck attachment, roof covering, roof to wall connectors, electrical, plumbing, or any other part of the improvements have or have not been updated to meet current South Florida building code standards.

The “Actual Year Built” indicated on each property record is intended to be just as it sounds, the year in which the building was constructed. While we strive on a daily basis to update and verify the information contained in our system, the fact remains, inaccuracies do exist on some properties as to “Actual Year Built.” Our office continues to make every effort, with the help of property owners, to check and correct our information as necessary. However, during this process insurance companies have relied on this data to cancel policies and raise insurance rates, without seeking any further independent verification.

Because of misuse of the “Effective Year Built” and “Actual Year Built” data by insurance companies, we now display these years on generic white screens (without our office logo). No insurance company or insurance adjuster should use our data in lieu of an actual site inspection and review of actual records to ensure owners are fairly and fully credited for all eligible deductions.


November 2010

“Where are My Exemptions on the Tax Bill?”

Dear Lori,

I bought and moved into my first home in March 2010. I filed for Homestead Exemption at one of your community outreach events in Sunrise Lakes and was told my application has been approved. I just received my 2010 tax bill and can’t understand where the Homestead Exemption is listed?

R.G., Sunrise Lakes, FL., (via email)

Our office receives numerous calls every year asking us to confirm property tax exemptions on tax bills. The Property Appraiser’s Office does not set or collect taxes. We simply calculate assessments and grant exemptions to qualified individuals. The property tax bills for 2010 are mailed out by the Broward County Records, Taxes & Treasury Division on or before November 1, of each year to more than 400,000 property owners.

All qualified Florida residents are entitled to a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile homes lots. To qualify for Homestead, you must own and occupy the property as your primary residence on January 1st. By Florida law, all assessments and exemptions are based upon the status of the property on January 1. Thus, if the former owners of your new home had Homestead, Senior, Widow/Widower, Disability or other exemptions on January 1, 2010, you will inherit these exemptions on your 2010 property tax bill unless the previous owner applies for portability to another property in the same tax year. The 2010 exemptions will automatically expire at the end of 2010. Your new 2011 Homestead Exemption will be reflected next year on all 2011 property records, notices and tax bills.

Please remember any additional property tax exemptions, such as the Widow/Widower, Disability or Veteran’s Exemption status effective after January 1, 2010 will be applied on your 2011 property tax bill.

Current exemptions are not listed individually on the county tax bill. Rather, they are valued together and listed under the column titled “Exemptions” on your tax bill. Your tax bill is calculated by applying the tax rate to your assessed value minus your exemptions and then adding on your non-ad valorem fees.

Remember: By law, January 1 of each year is the date on which the permanent residence is determined and qualified exemptions are granted. If you need more information about your 2010 property taxes and payment options visit www.broward.org/revenue, or call the Broward Call Center at 954.831.400. If you need more information about you property tax assessment and exemptions, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


October 2010

“Getting a Copy of Your Original Deed is Easy!”

Dear Lori,

I received a letter today from a record retrieval company stating the U.S Government Federal Citizens Information Center recommends property owners should have an official or certified copy of their deed. They are requesting $50 plus $4.50 postage and handling to obtain one for me. In your opinion, should I get one, and is this fee fair? What would it cost me to get it directly from Broward County?

P.L., (via email)

Our office has received several calls from concerned homeowners regarding this letter. This mailing is a solicitation from a private company selling copies of certified deeds at a rate much higher than one needs to pay. While this practice is misleading, it is unfortunately, legal.

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search A certified copy of a document has the legal validity of the original document. Your deed is a document or written legal instrument which, when executed and delivered, conveys an interest in or legal title to a property. If you have lost or misplaced your original deed you can obtain a certified copy from the Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division, in person, or by mail. Deeds recorded prior to 1978 must be ordered in person or by written request. The county charges a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/$2.00 certified). If you have questions for the County Records Division, they can be reached at 954.831.4000. (Note: the County Records Division is NOT affiliated with the Property Appraiser’s Office.)

Non-certified copies of deeds and many other important documents are available for free online at Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division’s website (www.broward.org/records), which is also linked from our office’s website. Reviewing and obtaining a non-certified copy of your deed is simple: Go to www.bcpa.net and go to Property Search page, read the statement shown, and click on Accept, click on the Owner Name button, and search by your last name, followed by a comma, and then your first name. After hitting the SEARCH button, you must select your property from a list. To select your property, click on the “Parcel Number” that is in the same row as your address. All the information on your property will be displayed. More than half way down this page, there will be a section labeled “Sales History.” Click on the top “Book Number” (colored blue) to view the most current version of the deed.

If you need more information about viewing deeds, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


September 2010

“Important Notice of Office Closure”

Dear Lori,

I read in your “News for Broward Taxpayers” newsletter due to budget cuts, your Plantation Branch Office will permanently close on September 24, 2010. What are your plans to continue servicing our diverse population?

R.P., Plantation, FL (via email)

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser Locations Due to budgetary constraints, the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Plantation Office will be permanently closing effective 5:00 PM on September 24, 2010. In an effort to ensure continued service to area residents, the Property Appraiser’s Office has established a weekly outreach schedule in your area. Beginning September 29, 2010, Deputy Appraisers will be available to assist property owners with Homestead Exemption, Senior, Portability, and other exemption issues every Wednesday from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM at:

County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman
COMMISSIONER
ILENE LIEBERMAN
Governmental Center West
Office of County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman
1 N. University Drive, Room 111A
Plantation, Florida

Beach Community Center
BCPA OUTREACH AT BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
We also host a series of community outreach events each month throughout Broward County. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA staff assisting taxpayers at civic association meetings, condo clubhouses, senior centers, city halls, and many other community locations throughout Broward. For a complete listing of community outreach events, please visit our online calendar at www.bcpa.net/Events.asp. The outreach program is designed to provide convenient and accessible service to all Broward residents. We will even make arrangements for a deputy appraiser to visit your home or hospital if you are disabled.

To schedule a homebound visit or outreach event, please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Kelly Brown at 954.357.5579 or kbrown@bcpa.net. If you would like more information about exemptions, online filing, and other important property tax assessment issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our customer service professionals at 954.357.6830.


August 2010

“BCPA Office Hours Extended for TRIM Season”

Dear Lori,

just received my “Do Not Pay” proposed property tax notice from your office. When is the best time to visit your office to discuss our valuation and exemptions?

B.W., Deerfield Beach, FL

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
Our office mails over 755,000
Truth-in-Millage (TRIM) Notices of proposed 2010 property taxes to property owners during the month of August. To better accommodate the schedules of working families, our office will be open additional hours during this time of year. Please visit our Main Office located in Room 111 of the Broward County Government Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue (just south of Broward Boulevard) to meet with an appraiser to discuss your assessment. Our Main Office is open weekdays from 7:00AM – 6:00PM – but we are extending hours and will stay open until 7:00PM on weekdays during September 7 – 20, 2010.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser Locations The Main Office and the Plantation Office will be open for special weekend hours on Saturday, August 28 (8:30 AM until 5:00 PM) and Saturday, September 11 (8:00 AM to 6:00 PM) to better assist Broward property owners. All commercial and tangible personal property questions must be directed to the Main Office. Residential and condominium appraisers are assigned to both offices during this period.

Click to File Electronic Petition The Plantation Branch Office is located in Suite 111-A at 1 University Drive in Plantation and is open weekdays from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

Click to Value Adjustment Board The TRIM Notice or proposed property tax notice provides property owners with all their 2010 property tax assessment, exemptions, proposed tax amount and proposed tax rates for each governmental entity. These notices also inform property owners of their rights as to both challenge their property assessment and speak out at the various taxing authority budget hearings. Any property owner who seeks to challenge an assessment by petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) must do so by September 20 at 5:00 PM. All petitions must be received in the office of the VAB (115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 119, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301) by this deadline. You may file a petition online with the VAB http://bcvab.broward.org/axiaweb2010. Qualified individuals seeking to file for 2010 property tax exemptions must do so by with our office no later than September 20, 2010.

Please remember the Property Appraiser does not set or collect your taxes. For further information on assessments, exemptions and the valuations process, please visit www.bcpa.net or call 954.357.6830.


July 2010

“Market is Down, But Florida Law Increases Assessments”

Dear Lori,

I am a long time homeowner in Oakland Park. After filing for my Senior Exemption at City Hall, I noticed my Just Value has dropped over $30,000 but my Assessed/SOH Value still increased 2.7%. Why do assessments increase in a down market?

G.S., Oakland Park, FL

A little known quirk in Florida law will mean that almost 177,000 long time homeowners in Broward County will see their property tax assessments go up – not down this year. The higher assessments come despite the fact Broward properties dropped on average 11.7% in the past year, the third straight year of value declines.

Gov. Lawton Chiles
GOV. LAWTON CHILES
In 1992, the
“Save Our Homes” tax cap became law. But in 1995, Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Florida Department of Revenue approved a rule, Florida Administrative Code Rule 12D-8.0062(5) which requires our office to increase your overall assessed value each year (up to a maximum of 3%) until it reaches the same amount as the market value.

A taxpayer automatically receives Save Our Homes protection starting the year after first obtaining a Homestead Exemption. This law limits the increase in assessed values for properties receiving the Homestead Exemption to no more than 3% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. The Florida Department of Revenue set this year’s SOH cap rate at 2.7%. The limit does not cover new construction or construction that was not taxed before the Save Our Homes limit applied to a property. It also does not apply when the property sells. The new owner starts the limitation all over once he or she qualifies for Homestead Exemption.

Under Florida Law, a homestead recapture rule will cause some taxable values to rise even when the overall market value dropped from last year. Please remember the Property Appraiser does not set or collect your taxes.


June 2010

“Estimate of Taxable Values drop 12.1% for Broward!”

Dear Lori,

I am a local realtor. When are the taxable valuations for Broward County announced? I know your office forecast dramatic decreases to the tax roll earlier this year. I know first-hand the market activity in my neighborhoods and I'm hoping for a recovery soon.

D.W., Oakland Park, FL (via email)

Our office released on June 1, the 2010 Estimate of Taxable Values. As we warned last year, you will again see declines in the tax roll values throughout Broward County. These numbers show the taxable value dropping 12.1% to 129.6 billion.

The numbers released on June 1 will be virtually identical to the final numbers that will be formally confirmed on the Certification of Tax Roll Value on July 1, 2010. The 30 day difference is allowed for our office to correct any errors.

Sales from last part of 2009 and the first five months of 2010 indicate we may have finally seen the end of this catastrophic real estate crash. Sales price trends seemingly indicate Broward reached overall market bottom a few months ago and subsequently are holding steady. In general, we are starting to see mildly encouraging economic signs. The number of foreclosures is down significantly versus last year, as is the MLS real estate inventory of available properties. Certainly, some distressed properties or isolated neighborhood pockets may see further value drops. Additionally, communities with larger numbers of condo units may continue to see modest value declines, as condo values traditionally take longer to stabilize and recover than single-family homes and commercial properties.

Broward County residents can view their new taxable values online at www.bcpa.net. The June 1st Estimate of Taxable Value (by city) can be viewed by clicking Site Index on the home page and 2010 Tax Roll Information.


May 2010

“Follow Our Office on Facebook and Twitter!”

Dear Lori,

I noticed your website, www.bcpa.net, has both Facebook and Twitter links on your homepage. Is it new and open to the public? Our homeowners association is always interested in current news and updates from your office.

R.W., Fort Lauderdale, FL. (via email)

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser on Facebook State and local governments are now using Facebook and Twitter to keep the public informed about government operations and programs. Our office uses the popular online social networking sites: “Facebook” and “Twitter” to help keep you updated on important news. We use “Facebook” and “Twitter” to inform Broward County taxpayers about important property tax filing deadlines, proposed changes in the law, current BCPA news and our schedule of local community outreach events.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser on Twitter You can now follow our office – it’s easy and best of all it’s free! On Facebook, www.facebook.com, search for the “Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office” group and click the link to “Become a Friend,” or “friend” our office at www.facebook.com/propertyappraiser. On Twitter you can “follow” our office at, www.twitter.com/loriparrish and click the “Follow” button. Also, if you are already a member of Facebook or tweet on Twitter, you can access our page directly from our website, using the “links” located on the bottom of our homepage, at www.bcpa.net.


April 2010

“How Are Down Market Properties Reassessed?”

Dear Lori,

I was reviewing properties on your website and I don’t agree with the posted valuations. I believe some of the properties listed don’t reflect the current real estate market conditions. How often are properties reassessed and posted on your website?

J.M. Hollywood, FL (via email)

Florida Statutes require all properties in the state be reassessed every year. Property assessments in Florida are done a year in arrears with January 1 being the statutory date for determining the annual assessment (i.e., what the property was worth as of January 1, 2010). This means your 2010 assessment will be based on the qualified sales in your neighborhood (excluding non-arm’s length transactions and other “disqualified” transfers) from January 1, 2010 back through January 2, 2009.

Click to Department of Revenue CPI Caps The 2010 assessments currently displayed on the property record pages on our website www.bcpa.net are preliminary numbers. Those values will change frequently online as we make various adjustments until they are finalized. The real 2010 assessments – based upon the overall decline in market value last year – will not be posted until June 1. Please check our website after June 1, 2010 to see your 2010 assessments and portability values. If you are Homesteaded and your “Save Our Homes” (SOH) value is less than the Just Value as of January 1st, the “Assessed/SOH” value reflects a 2.7% increase as required by Florida Law. If your Just Value falls below this amount on June 1st this number will be lowered.

If you purchased a property from a foreclosure, your actual purchase price may not reflect the just (market) value for assessment purposes. The Florida Department of Revenue issued an advisory opinion stating Property Appraisers may qualify foreclosure sales which were listed on the MLS open market listings and the property is in normal/good physical condition. Under the current recessionary economic conditions, we are generally treating all 2009 short sales as qualified sales for 2010 assessment purposes.

Remember, you have the right under Florida law to appeal your property assessment before the Value Adjustment Board starting in August 2010 and continuing through the September 20, 2010 appeal filing deadline.


March 2010

“Missed the Homestead or Portability Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I missed the March deadline for filing both my Homestead Exemption and Portability Applications. Is there anything I can do to get my 2010 tax exemptions?

L. C., Dania Beach, FL

File today for 2010 and 2011 exemptions! Recent changes in Florida law allows for late filing of exemptions for the 2010 Tax Year through September 20, 2010. Our office accepts late exemption applications for the Homestead, Disability, Widow/Widower, Granny Flat, Portability, and Non-Profits. To qualify for 2010 Homestead, you must have purchased, be named on the title, and made the property your permanent residence as of January 1, 2010.

In January 2008, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment making some or all of the Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit portable. Portability allows Homestead Exemption holders to transfer some or all of their SOH benefit from their old home to their new home. As of the March 1st traditional filing deadline, over 2,881 applications for Portability have been filed within Broward County.

The first year homeowners could take advantage of this benefit was in Tax Year 2008. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2008 or 2009, gave up the exemption, and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2010, you may be eligible for Portability. To receive this benefit, you must apply for both Homestead Exemption and Portability.

Exemption applications are available at our main office, our Plantation branch office, or online at www.bcpa.net. Our BCPA staff will be happy to assist you with these forms. Remember: No 2010 applications will be accepted after September 20th. To file for a 2010 or 2011 Homestead Exemption, simply click on our online Homestead Application system, located on our home page. If you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at (954)357-6830.


February 2010

“Copies of Deeds are Public Records and Free”

Dear Lori,

We received a solicitation to get the deed to our property here in Deerfield Beach with a fee involved of course. My wife and I were wondering how to obtain a copy of our deed instead of through an intermediary. If you could direct us to the proper agency, either online or in person to get a copy, we would appreciate it.

The Levitt Family, Deerfield Beach, FL (via email)

Every year our office hears of new mailings aimed at Broward County homeowners. The latest scam seems designed to trick you into believing for a substantial fee, a company will send you a “certified deed” for your property. Unfortunately, this practice seems to be legal but is very misleading.

Your deed is a document or written legal instrument which, when executed and delivered, conveys an interest in or legal title to a property. Deed recordation is the process of registering a transfer of real property with the Broward County Records, Taxes and Treasury Division.

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search The truth is deeds and many other important documents are already available online and free at Broward County’s Records, Taxes and Treasury Division’s website and linked from our office’s website. Older deed prior to 1977 and recorded deeds utilizing social security numbers must be must be ordered in person or by written request. The county charges a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/2.00 certified).

Reviewing and obtaining a copy of your deed is simple: Go to www.broward.org/records and enter the public search field. Simply enter the name of the homeowner and you will be shown applicable property data enabling you to retrieve and print a copy of the recorded deed. On the www.bcpa.net website, simply click on the “book number”, located under the “sales history” chart to locate deed information.

If you would like more information about deeds or to obtain a free copy, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


January 2010

“Bringing Community Service to Our Customers”

Dear Lori,

I am the President of my neighborhood homeowner’s association. We are always looking for special programs and speakers. What does your office do in terms of community outreach programs, elderly and homebound assistance?

C.G, Hollywood, FL

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish - Outreach
BCPA LORI PARRISH
COMMUNITY OUTREACH
In order to serve our community, our office has enhanced
community outreach efforts to accommodate individuals and groups. It is our goal to bring community outreach programs directly to where you live and work. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA staff assisting taxpayers with filing of exemptions at civic association meetings, condo clubhouses, senior centers, city halls, and many other community locations throughout Broward.

We’ve already scheduled over 400 customer service outreach events for the 2010 tax exemption filing season. For a complete listing of current community outreach events, please visit our online calendar at www.bcpa.net. You can also apply for your Homestead Exemption or learn more about other exemptions at our user-friendly website.

For those property owners who are homebound due to a disability or illness, our office will make arrangements for a deputy appraiser to visit your home or hospital to assist with exemption filing.

If you’d like to have someone from our office meet with your members at an upcoming association meeting or to schedule a homebound visit, please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Kelly Brown at 954.357.6035 or email her at kbrown@bcpa.net. Helping Broward taxpayers is our job!

If you would like more information about exemptions, community outreach events, homebound visits and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.5579.


December 2009

“Assessing Properties with Chinese Drywall Problems”

Dear Lori,

Our home in Parkland is suspected to contain Chinese drywall. We have contracted with the developer to begin the necessary and extensive renovations. We might have to relocate once these renovations begin. Can you explain the property tax implications for those of us dealing with Chinese drywall?

The Mehringer Family, Parkland, (via email)

Chinese Drywall
CHINESE DRYWALL
Many homeowners in Florida are experiencing the anxiety of dealing with defective
Chinese drywall in their homes. People have been displaced and their lives disrupted. Unlike calamities such as hurricanes, flooding, and fire, defective Chinese drywall is a new disaster of sorts, but with the same consequences. Remediation or reconstruction can make your home uninhabitable while costing thousands of dollars.

Chinese drywall corrosive blackening of metal in or on electrical fixtures, appliances, plumbing and air conditioner coils
CORROSIVE BLACKENING OF METAL IN OR
ON ELECTRICAL FIXTURES, APPLIANCES,
PLUMBING AND AIR CONDITIONER COILS
As has been extensively reported in the news, some homes in Broward contain contaminated Chinese drywall. The drywall contains strontium sulfide, which emits “rotten-egg” odors and seemingly causes visible corrosion to copper pipes and air conditioner evaporator coils. However, until a homeowner contacts our office to notify us, we have no way of independently identifying which homes contain contaminated Chinese drywall. These drywall problems seriously impact the value of these homes.

To ensure fair assessments for these damaged properties, we will reduce the building value by 50% -- subject to the owner providing us with sufficient documentation of the condition and agreeing to this assessment resolution. To request this reduction, please contact our Residential Department Manager, Bob Zbikowski, by email at rzbikowski@bcpa.net or at 954.357.5880 to notify us if your home has documented Chinese drywall issues.

Also, if you missed the September 19 deadline to file for a value reduction and you have subsequently learned about the drywall problems, the Value Adjustment Board has determined this is “sufficient good cause” for you to be allowed to file a late petition for a 2009 value reduction. Please contact the Value Adjustment Board at vab@broward.org for more information, on the appeals process.


November 2009

“New Law Allows Partial Payments of Property Tax Bill!”

Dear Lori,

I heard a representative of your office speak to our Realtor® meeting. He told me your office changed state law to allow taxpayers to make partial payments of their 2009 tax bill this year? How is this new program going to work?

P.L., Plantation, (via email)

Florida State Senator Jeremy Ring
SENATOR JEREMY RING
While the Property Appraiser does not levy or collect taxes, I asked
State Senator Jeremy Ring of Parkland (Chair of the Broward Legislative Delegation) to change state law to allow the Broward County Revenue Department to accept one or more partial payments from taxpayers for property taxes and assessments. During the last Florida Legislative Session, Senator Ring was successful in passing Senate Bill 1580 and getting the Governor to sign this bill into law.

Click to Broward County Revenue Collection Division Recently, the Broward County Commission enacted this “local option” law. Beginning with the 2009 tax bills, taxpayers will be able to make partial payments to the Broward County Revenue Collection Division. The Revenue Collection Division will accept up to 5 partial payments, along with a $10.00 processing fee for each partial payment. Partial payments can only be made on current 2009 taxes between November 1st and March 31st. The balance must be paid in full before April 1st to avoid interest and penalties on the unpaid balance.

Any unpaid balance becomes delinquent and is handled like any other delinquent tax bill and will be subject to the same interest and penalties, including having a tax certificate sold pursuant to Florida Statute. Partial payments are not eligible for any early-payment discount. The taxpayer has the responsibility to ensure that the remaining amount due is paid timely. The county will not send monthly invoices. Partial payments cannot be made on delinquent taxes.

Not all Florida counties are participating in this program. If you own properties in other counties, please to check with your local Tax Collector’s Office to determine if this program is available.

Should you have any questions or wish to participate in the partial payment of property tax plan, please contact the Broward County Collection Division at 954.831-4000 or visit their website at www.broward.org/revenue.


October 2009

“Pre-File Now For 2010 Homestead and Other Exemptions!”

Dear Lori,

My spouse and I are first time home buyers and new to Florida. We recently bought our house and moved to Broward County. What are the requirements for new home buyers to obtain Homestead Exemption?

T & S Kelly, Deerfield Beach, FL. (via email)

The deadline to late file for any 2009 exemption is closed (September 19, 2009); however you can pre-file for 2010 exemptions including: Homestead, disability, widow/widower, granny flat and portability. To be eligible for a 2010 exemption, you must be on title and make the property your permanent residence by January 1, 2010.

File for Your Homestead Exemption Online - CLICK HERE
CLICK TO FILE
You are also eligible if you hold a life estate interest in the property or reside on the property owned by a Trust and live there pursuant to the terms of the Trust. Applicants must be a US Citizen, a Permanent Resident Alien, or hold PRUCOL asylum/refugee parole status in the US. You must be a registered Broward voter or file a notarized Declaration of Domicile form with the Broward County Recording Office. Applicants must either have a Florida Driver’s License or Florida ID Card (for non-drivers). You cannot use a “Valid in Florida Only” driver’s license and cannot keep a valid driver’s license in another state.

Homestead Exemption does not transfer. If you had Homestead on a previous property, you must file for a new Homestead Exemption once you have purchased and moved into a new permanent residence. Remember: It is unlawful to claim an exemption if you or your spouse are claiming a Homestead or other permanent residency-based tax exemption or credit in any other county, state or country.

To pre-file for Homestead Exemption, simply go online at www.bcpa.net. Just click the big yellow button near the top left of our homepage to get started. To file for any other exemptions, visit our Download Forms page to find the appropriate application.

If you prefer to file in person, you can visit our Main Office or our West Broward Branch Office and we will assist you in filing your exemptions. Should you have any questions, please contact our Customer Service & Exemption Department at 954.357.6830.


September 2009

“Taxpayer Protection Alert – Recorded Deed Retrieval”

Dear Lori,

I received a letter from a local record retrieval company offering a certified copy of my recorded homeowner’s deed for $50.00 plus $4.50 shipping and handling. Is this offer legal or can I get a copy of my deed from your office?

C.V., Plantation, FL

Every year brings new mailings aimed at Broward County homeowners. The latest scam seems designed to trick you into believing for a substantial fee, a company will send you a “certified deed” for your property. Unfortunately, this practice seems to be legal but is very misleading.

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search The truth is deeds and many other important documents are already available online and free at the Broward County Records Division and linked from our office’s website. Older deeds prior to 1977 and recorded property deeds utilizing social security numbers must to be ordered through the Broward County Records Division either in person or by written request. The county charges a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/2.00 certified).

Reviewing and obtaining a copy of your deed is simple. Go to www.broward.org/records and enter the public search field or www.bcpa.net and enter the property search field. Simply enter the name of the homeowner and you will be shown applicable property data enabling you to retrieve and print a copy of the recorded deed. On the www.bcpa.net website, simply click on the “book number”, located under the “sales history” chart to locate deed information.

If you are checking for liens, you may wish to check with the municipality in which the property is located, as well as, the county Building Code Services at 954.765.4400. If your query is related to the potential purchase of a piece of property, it may be advisable to obtain the services of a professional to provide maximum assurance of a clear title.


August 2009

“Understanding Who Sets Your Tax Rates”

Dear Lori,

I am a small business owner. With the housing market still in decline, we now have local governments struggling to find tax revenue. How do you decide how high to set our tax rate?

E.R., Fort Lauderdale, FL

This is a common misconception about the Property Appraiser’s Office. The Property Appraiser does NOT set any tax rates. Although we are responsible for assessing property, the various tax rates and special assessment fees are actually set by the Broward County Commission, Broward County School Board, South Florida Water Management District, your City Commission and other special taxing districts which apply to your property.

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
The Property Appraiser’s Office is responsible for fairly determining the value of properties for the purposes of “ad valorem” taxes. To determine the fair market value, we simply hold a mirror to the market. We analyze sale prices from the previous calendar year in every neighborhood, improvements made upon the property, and other legally recognized factors to determine value. This process ensures the assessments are fair and owners will only have to pay their fair share. No more, no less.

The value of Broward County properties dropped on average 10.6 percent in the past year. It’s the second year in a row property values have declined, and next year it could be worse. The numbers reflect both falling real estate prices and recent changes in state law. The downward trend affects everyone. It means less revenue for local governments and other taxing authorities unless planners working on the 2009 -2010 budgets raise tax rates.

The bottom line: If you think the assessed market value of your property is wrong – meaning you believe it does not reflect the true market value of your property on January 1, 2009 – please contact us. If you think the tax rates are too high, you should contact the County Commission, School Board, City Commission and other taxing authorities listed in your TRIM (proposed tax) Notice. The TRIM Notice will include phone numbers for each taxing authority, as well as the schedule of budget public hearings.


July 2009

“Something New About Our 2009 Real Property Assessments!”

Dear Lori,

I own a small home in Wilton Manors. After checking my property record on your website, I noticed my Just Value has dropped $69,000. I’m ok with the value in a down market but I noticed that the land decreased dramatically and my building value increased dramatically. Has something changed on your website?

R. Hoffmeyer, via email

The Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office is constantly making improvements, upgrading the way we assess real property for ad valorem tax purposes. Starting with the new 2009 real property assessments, our residential land values and building (improvement) values are equalized. Our existing computer program is rather antiquated and decades old. In the past, our office was only able to set correct amounts for the total Just Value (Market Value) of a property. This left the internal division between the land and the building or improvements value entirely arbitrary.

Using mass-appraisal methods – the process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date, using standard methods, employing common data, and allowing for statistical testing - we equalized land values this year by neighborhood, not just by subdivision within a neighborhood.

This means the square-foot land value for dry lots in a neighborhood should be the same for other comparable dry lots in the same area. Lots along a golf course will be valued the same as other lots along the same golf course. Point lots valued the same as other nearby point lots. Homes such as yours located along a canal will be valued the same as other similar waterfront lots along a canal in your neighborhood and so on.

You can assist us in improving and updating our property records. Please take a few minutes to help ensure our records about your property are correct. If you are computer friendly, be sure to look up your property on our website at www.bcpa.net and review the building sketches on those pages. Just click on the blue “See Sketch” link on the lower right hand side of the property record page and please call 954.357.6831 or email jchestler@bcpa.net, if you see any errors in the sketch of your home. If you believe we incorrectly paired your lot versus your neighbor’s land value, please contact our Land Section at 954.357.6890 or email mtaravella@bcpa.net.


June 2009

“Understanding the Property Tax Puzzle!”

Dear Lori,

I’m a first time home buyer and I can’t seem to get a straight answer on how property taxes work. The house I’m buying has current taxes due of $8,400. When I use your online calculator, my purchase price with the Homestead Exemption calculates to $3,951. How long would I pay taxes of $8,400 and when would the new tax rate start?

Amanda, via email

As a new home buyer you will inherit the seller’s current status for the 2009 tax year. When buying property, you should look on our website (www.bcpa.net) to determine if the current year’s values have posted. If they have not posted, you can e-mail me for an estimate of your property taxes. The Property Appraiser does not levy or collect taxes, we cannot give guidance as to whether the property tax rate in your area will go up or down in the next year until the taxing authorities (Broward County Commission, County School Board, South Florida Water District or City Commission) give us the new rates and special assessment fees around August 5th, 2009. At your closing, the seller will give you a deduct for the seller’s pro-rata share of the current year’s taxes. You will be responsible for the entire bill in November 2009.

For estimating purposes, take the taxable assessed value, deduct any current year exemptions and multiply it by 2%. Then, look at last year’s TRIM Notice and add back on any non-ad valorem fees for drainage, fire, garbage, etc. The estimation is based upon the average Millage Rate of 20 mills (or 2%).

Click to Tax Calculator You may also use our online tax calculator found at www.bcpa.net for new home purchases only. New home buyers can simply click on the Home Buyers Tax Estimator and follow the easy instructions. Please remember the calculator is only an estimate based upon the millage rates of 2008 until after August 15th when the 2009 rates will apply. Also, this estimate does not include any non-ad valorem fees which the city or local taxing districts may charge. In many areas there are some pricey fees so be sure to check the previous TRIM (proposed tax) notice and add those to the tax estimate. These fees typically range from $150 - $500 or higher. Your property taxes for the following year will be based upon your new assessment (approximately 85% of your purchase price) less any exemptions you apply for and are granted, and the new 2010 tax rates plus any non-ad valorem fees.

Should you have any question, please contact our office at (954) 357-6830.


May 2009

“Help Us Crack Down on Tax Fraud!”

Dear Lori,

I read in both the Sun-Sentinel and the Pompano Pelican that your office is cracking down on homeowners who were illegally claiming Homestead Exemption tax breaks. I live in Pompano Beach and want to help. What is the best way to report this tax abuse without causing a problem with the neighbor?

A.S., Pompano Beach, FL

Property owners who file false applications to obtain a Homestead Exemption are breaking the law and they’re making you pay more in taxes each year. Why? Because the School Board, the County Commission, your local City government, and the various taxing authorities must fund their budgets by equitably dividing the tax burden among all property owners within their jurisdictions. If someone lies to lower his or her taxes, someone else has to make up the difference.

Our office aggressively seeks to stop homestead fraud. Since we formed our homestead fraud investigative units in 2005 over 14,795 fraud investigations have been resolved, resulting in over 19 million dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest and over 3 billion dollars of assessed value back onto the tax rolls. We have worked with city governments, homeowner and civic associations to help identify tax fraud.

If you know of anyone claiming Homestead Exemption on a property he or she is not permanently residing in or if the property is rented, vacant or merely a vacation home, we urge you to contact our investigators in our Department of Professional Standards and Compliance at 954.357.6900 or www.bcpa.net/fraud form.asp and we’ll check it out.

Once reported, our office will fully investigate each charge. Property owners who intentionally cheat on Homestead can be back taxed for as many as ten years, plus be required to pay a substantial penalty and annual interest. While it is extremely helpful and time saving when you speak directly to an investigator, you may remain anonymous.


April 2009

“How often are Properties Reassessed?”

Dear Lori,

I was looking up properties on your website and I don’t agree with the posted valuations. I believe some of properties listed don’t reflect the current real estate market conditions. How often are properties reassessed and posted on your website?

R. B., Pembroke Pines, FL (via email)

Florida Statutes require all properties in the state be reassessed every year. Property assessments in Florida are done a year in arrears with January 1 being the statutory date for determining the annual assessment (i.e., what the property was worth as of January 1, 2009). This means your 2009 assessment will be based on the qualified sales in your neighborhood (excluding non-arm’s length transactions and other “disqualified” transfers) from January 1, 2009 back through January 2, 2008.

Click to Department of Revenue The 2009 assessments currently displayed on the property record pages on our website www.bcpa.net are merely rollover values from 2008. The real 2009 assessments – based upon the overall decline in market value last year – will not be posted until June 1. Please check our website after June 1, 2009 to see your 2009 assessments. Until then, simply ignore the 2009 values displayed on our website.

If you purchased a property from a foreclosure, your actual purchase price may not reflect the just (market) value for assessment purposes. The Florida Department of Revenue issued an advisory opinion stating Property Appraisers may potentially qualify foreclosure sales which were listed in MLS and sold in the open market under the current recessionary economic conditions. We are generally treating all 2008 short sales as qualified sales for 2009 assessment purposes.

Remember, you have the right under Florida law to appeal your property assessment before the Value Adjustment Board starting in August 2009 and continuing through the September 18, 2009 appeal filing deadline.


March 2009

“Missed the Homestead or Portability Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I missed the March deadline for filing both my Homestead Exemption and Portability Applications. Is there anything I can do to get my 2009 tax exemptions?

L. C., Dania Beach, FL

Florida law allows for late filing of exemptions for the 2009 Tax Year through September 18, 2009. Our office accepts late exemption applications and helps taxpayers prepare the required late filing petitions for the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB). To qualify for 2009 Homestead, you must have purchased, be named on the title, and moved onto the property on or before January 1, 2009.

Last January, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment making some or all of the Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit portable. Portability allows Homestead Exemption holders to transfer some or all of their SOH benefit from their old home to their new home. As of the March 2nd traditional filing deadline, over 4,350 applications for Portability have been filed in Broward County.

The first year homeowners could take advantage of this benefit was in 2008. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2007 or 2008, gave up the exemption, and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2009, you may be eligible for Portability. To receive this benefit, you must apply for both Homestead Exemption and Portability.

Exemption applications and VAB petitions are available at our main office, our Plantation branch office, or online at www.bcpa.net. Our BCPA staff will be happy to assist you with these forms. All VAB petitions must be accompanied by a non-refundable filing fee of $15.00 made payable to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board. If you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications, please do not hesitate to contact us at (954)357-6830.


February 2009

“Change You Can Use At BCPA.NET”

Dear Lori,

I was at the Annual Housing Symposium, sponsored by the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale. You demonstrated new photographic and neighborhood sales improvements that are now on your bcpa.net website. Can you explain the changes and what they do?

J.R., Fort Lauderdale, FL

The new photos are called “Pictometry” and you can view four-directional, 45-degree, low elevation images of every property in Broward County. In addition to the traditional overhead (straight-down) aerial photography on our website, this new tool allows you to get a better look at Broward County. To find these images, first look up the property. Next, on the property record page, click the VIEW MAP button at the top. Then, click on the selection tool (white arrow) and click on the property you want to view. You will see property details listed on the right side and, just above it, click the red Pictometry link. Use the four side bars around the photo to slide the image. Both 2007 and 2008 images are available on our website.

Pictometry Controls
PICTOMETRY CONTROLS
Additionally, you can now view sales on our website. For single family homes, we have two convenient ways you can view all sales since January 2007 in any subdivision Broward County. To view all sales in single family homes or condos simply look up a property and scroll down to the Sales History section on the page. Click the blue Search Subdivision Sales link to display all the sales. Another option for single family home sales is to use our new VIEW MAP feature on the property record pages. Once you reach the aerial of your chosen property, simply change the drop-box reading “No Sales” to “2008 Sales” and all 2008 sales will light up on the map. Sales from 2005-2007 sales are also available with this map feature.

If you would like more information on this and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.5579.


January 2009

Help Us Complete Your Residential Property Survey

Dear Lori,

Our family received your News for Broward Taxpayers Newsletter with the 2009 Homestead Exemption renewal mailing. On the back of the newsletter is a residential property survey your office wants us to complete. Why is this survey so important?

J. H., Pembroke Pines, FL

CAMA Sketch
CAMA SKETCH
The
Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office is continuing to upgrade our computer assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system to better serve the taxpayers. We are requesting your assistance in updating our property records. We are transitioning from a rather antiquated system which never tracked physical details of properties such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, carport and garage spaces, pools, etc.

Click to BCPA Newsletter If you received our newsletter in the mail with your Homestead renewal notice, you have the option of completing this quick survey online at www.bcpa.net/survey using the PIN number printed on your renewal receipt. If you do not have a PIN number or you do not have a home computer, you must use the printed form to participate. Please see the back page of our newsletter if you’d prefer to respond using the printed form. However, the online form is the quickest to complete.

Be sure to look up your property on our website as we’ve added more building sketches. Just click on the blue “See Sketch” link on the lower right-hand side of the property record page – and please call 954.357.6831, if you see any errors in the sketch of your home.

I strongly urge you to complete this special residential survey. Please take a few minutes to help ensure our records about your property are accurate. While completing the property survey is purely voluntary, any assistance you provide will help ensure you pay no more than your fair share of taxes.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact our Residential Appraisal Division at 954.357.6831 or email jchesler@bcpa.net. IMPORTANT: If you previously completed this survey, you do not need to resubmit it this year. Thank you in advance for all your help in making our office even better.


December 2008

“Bringing Community Service to Our Customers”

Dear Lori,

I am the President of my neighborhood homeowner’s association. We are always looking for special programs and speakers. What does your office do in terms of community outreach programs and homebound assistance?

D.M., Pompano Beach, FL

Property Appraiser Lori Parrish - Outreach
BCPA LORI PARRISH
COMMUNITY OUTREACH
In order to serve our diverse community, our office has enhanced
community outreach efforts to accommodate individuals and groups. It is our goal to bring community outreach programs directly to where you live and work. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA staff assisting taxpayers with filing of exemptions at civic association meetings, condo clubhouses, shopping centers, city halls, and many other community locations throughout Broward.

We’ve already scheduled over 300 customer service outreach events for the 2009 tax exemption filing season. For a complete listing of current community outreach events, please visit our online calendar at www.bcpa.net. We have enhanced our website to enable you to easily file for Homestead Exemption or download applications and other helpful forms without having to visit our offices.

For those property owners who are homebound due to a disability or illness, we have a homebound program. Our office will make arrangements for a deputy appraiser to visit your home or hospital to assist with exemption filing.

If you’d like to have someone from our office meet with your members at an upcoming association meeting or to schedule a homebound visit, please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Kelly Brown at 954.357.6035 or email her at kbrown@bcpa.net. Remember: Helping Broward taxpayers is our job!

If you would like more information about exemptions, community outreach events, homebound visits and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.5579.


November 2008

“Last Call To Late-File A 2008 Homestead Exemption!”

Dear Lori,

My mother moved to Deerfield Beach last year. Unfortunately, due to her illness, she never got around to filing for her Homestead Exemption before the March 3rd deadline. Is there any way my mom can still file for a 2008 Homestead Exemption?

T. Williams, Fort Lauderdale

Don’t worry. Florida law allows for late filing with good cause for the 2008 Tax Year through December 1, 2008. Your mother may still apply for Homestead Exemption with a “late-filing with good-cause” petition to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board. The petitions are available at our main office, Plantation office or online at www.bcpa.net under Download Forms. The late filing petition is simple to complete and our office staff will be happy to assist you. Please note there is a $15.00 non-refundable filing fee for the petition. Checks should be made out to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board.

To claim a 2008 Homestead, you must have purchased, be named on the title, and moved onto the property on or before January 1, 2008, and meet certain other residency qualifications of having a Florida driver’s license/ID card and a voter card (or recorded Declaration of Domicile) showing the property address. “Good cause” means the showing of particular extenuating circumstances in complying with the law such as an emergency or illness.

Remember – your late filing petition must be received in the Broward County Value Adjustment Board’s office no later than 5:00 PM on December 1, 2008, for you to be eligible for a 2008 exemption. No exceptions!

If you would like more information about exemptions, VAB petitions and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at 954.357.6830.


October 2008

“Short-Sales, Foreclosures and Your Assessments”

Dear Lori,

I am a proud owner of a second home in Broward County. But I have a problem with a statement on your website (bcpa.net) showing the assessed values exclude short-sales and foreclosures and are based on just market values. What if foreclosures and short-sales are the market, what else is there to consider?

A. H., Santa Monica, California (via email)

The Property Appraiser’s Office is responsible for fairly determining the value of properties for the purpose of “ad valorem” taxes. To determine the fair market value, we simply hold a mirror to the market. We analyze sale prices from the previous calendar year in similar neighborhoods, improvements made upon the properties, and other legally recognized factors to determine value.

If you purchase a property in foreclosure or short-sale, your actual purchase price may not reflect the just (market) value used in determining your taxes. Instead, Florida law requires our office to use the reasonable market price of a sale of similar homes in your neighborhood (or a similar area) sold under normal financial conditions to determine the assessment. Regardless of your 2008 purchase price – and regardless of any falling prices in your area during 2008 – the law requires our office to base the assessment a year in the arrears. This means your 2009 assessment will be based on the qualified sales in your neighborhood (excluding foreclosures, short-sales and non-arm’s length transactions) between January 2, 2008 and January 1, 2009.

Our “market-mirror” shows that the total number of residential sales in Broward County so far is 15,792 along with 1,359 commercial sales. Additionally, the Broward foreclosure rate is well over 7,100 for the year. I have asked the Florida Department of Revenue for an opinion regarding down market conditions but have not yet received any response. The bottom line: Our office will ask for state legislation allowing us to consider all sales in down markets to accurately reflect just (market) value.


September 2008

“How Can I Tell If I Got My Second Homestead Exemption”

Dear Lori,

I just received my “Do Not Pay” proposed tax notice from your office. I have a hard time understanding what happened to that second $25,000 Homestead Exemption Florida voters approved in January. How do I know I received it?

M.M., Dania Beach, FL

Our office has been deluged with questions asking where the additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption is. Our office automatically applied the 2nd homestead to all qualifying properties this year.

Amendment 1 provides an additional Homestead Exemption of up to $25,000 applied to assessed value above $50,000. If your assessed value is $75,000 and up, your exemption will be the original $25,000 Homestead Exemption plus the full $25,000 additional Homestead.

Check Trim Notice
CHECK TRIM NOTICE
The second $25,000 is NOT printed in the “Base Exemptions” box at the top of your “TRIM” (Truth in Millage) Notice. By law, “Base Exemptions” are only those exemptions which apply to all taxing authorities: $25,000 Homestead, Widow/Widower, Disabled Veteran, and Disability. The second $25,000 Homestead, the Senior’s Additional Exemption and the Florida Combat Veteran Disability exemptions are not “Base Exemptions” as they do not apply to the School Board portion of taxes. Instead these savings are deducted in the mathematical calculation used to reach the total proposed tax amount listed at the bottom of your TRIM Notice.

Look for the upper right hand box on your TRIM Notice for a listing of all qualified property tax exemptions. It will state “2 Homestd” if you qualify. Taxpayers may look up their properties on our website at www.bcpa.net for a more detailed explanation of the property values, exemptions and taxes, or contact us at 954.357.6830 and we will provide an explanation to you.


August 2008

“Market is Down, But Florida Law Increases Assessments”

Dear Lori,

I own a small condominium. After checking my property record on your website, I noticed my Just Value has dropped $20,000 but my Assessed/SOH Value still increased 3%. Why do assessments increase in a down market?

S.G., Fort Lauderdale, FL

A little known quirk in Florida law will mean almost 400,000 homeowners in Broward County will see their property tax assessments go up – not down – this year. The higher assessments come despite the fact Broward properties dropped on average 4.8% in the past year, a dramatic reversal after years of double-digit gains.

Gov. Lawton Chiles
GOV. LAWTON CHILES
In 1992, the
3% “Save Our Homes” tax cap became law. But in 1995, Gov. Lawton Chiles and the Florida Department of Revenue approved a rule during times of declining real estate market value. The recapture rule requires property appraisers to raise the assessed value of a Homesteaded property by the 3% annual cap level until it reaches the same amount as the market value.

A taxpayer automatically receives Save Our Homes protection starting the year after first obtaining a Homestead Exemption. This law limits the increase in assessed values for properties receiving the Homestead Exemption to no more than 3% or the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The limit does not cover new construction or construction that was not taxed before the Save Our Homes limit applied to a particular property. It also does not apply when the property sells – because the new owner starts the limitation all over again once he or she qualifies for Homestead Exemption.

The recapture rule may cause your taxable value to rise even if your market value dropped from last year. Because property values generally increase over time, the current down real estate market represents the first time the recapture rule will have wide effect. The bottom line: Talk to your State Senator and State Representative if you believe this “recapture rule” should be amended or repealed.


July 2008

“Understanding Who Sets Your Tax Rates”

Dear Lori,

I am a local realtor. With the housing market in a tailspin, we now have local governments struggling to find tax revenue. How do you decide how high to set the tax rate?

C.H., Fort Lauderdale, FL

This is a common misconception about the Property Appraiser’s Office. The Property Appraiser does NOT set any tax rates. Although we are responsible for appraising property, the various tax rates and special assessment fees are actually set by the Broward County Commission, Broward County School Board, South Florida Water Management District, your City Commission and other special taxing districts which apply to your property.

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
The Property Appraiser’s Office is responsible for fairly determining the value of properties for the purposes of “ad valorem” taxes. To determine the fair market value, we simply hold a mirror to the market. We analyze sale prices from the previous calendar year in every neighborhood, improvements made upon each property, and other legally recognized factors to determine value. This process ensures the assessments are fair and owners will only have to pay their fair share. No more, no less.

The value of Broward County properties dropped on average 4.8 percent in the past year, a dramatic reversal after years of double-digit gains. The numbers reflect both falling real estate prices and a recent change in state law that doubles the Homestead Exemption on residential property. That may mean relief for beleaguered homeowners, but just how much won’t be known until local governments set their tax rates later this summer.

The bottom line: If you think the assessed market value of your property is wrong, please contact our office. If you think the tax rates are too high, you should contact the School Board, City Commission and other taxing authorities listed in your TRIM (proposed tax) Notice. The TRIM Notice will include phone numbers for each taxing authority, as well as the schedule of budget public hearings.


June 2008

“Help Us Crack Down on Tax Fraud!”

Dear Lori,

My neighbor has moved and has been renting his property for over one year. Your website has the condo listed as having a “Homestead Exemption.” What is the best way to report this tax abuse without causing a problem with the neighbor?

R.G., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Property owners who file false applications to obtain a Homestead Exemption are breaking the law and they’re making you pay more in taxes each year. Why? Because the School Board, the County Commission, your local City government, and the various taxing authorities must fund their budgets by equitably dividing the tax burden among all property owners within their jurisdictions. If someone lies to lower his or her taxes, someone else has to make up the difference.

Our office aggressively seeks to stop homestead fraud. Since we formed our homestead fraud investigative units in 2005 over 14,795 fraud investigations have been resolved, resulting in over 19 million dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest and over 3 billion dollars of assessed value back onto the tax rolls. We have worked with city governments, homeowner and civic associations to help identify tax fraud.

If you know of anyone claiming Homestead Exemption on a property he or she is not permanently residing in or if the property is rented, vacant or merely a vacation home, we urge you to contact our investigators in our Department of Professional Standards and Compliance at 954.357.6900 or www.bcpa.net/fraud form.asp and we’ll check it out.

Once reported, our office will fully investigate each charge. Property owners who intentionally cheat on Homestead can be back taxed for as many as ten years, plus be required to pay a substantial penalty and annual interest. While it is extremely helpful and time saving when you speak directly to an investigator, you may remain anonymous.


May 2008

“Taxpayer Protection Alert!”

Dear Lori,

I received an email last week at our title company office. Every agent received the same email from an on line company selling what’s called a Homestead Declaration. I think your office should let taxpayers know what this is - and it’s not the same as a Homestead Exemption.

J.R., Fort Lauderdale, FL (via email)

Every year brings another example of creative companies trying to sell services aimed at Broward County homeowners. The debtor/creditor protections granted by Florida law are entirely unrelated to any functions of the Property Appraiser – but we can point you in the right direction. The confusion arises because Florida law has a least three separate sets of legal rights – all vaguely related through the concept of permanent residency, which are all named “homestead.”

Our office handles matters involving the $50,000 Homestead Exemption on property taxes on a primary residence. This type of “homestead” is covered by Chapter 196, Florida Statues. Chapter 196, however has nothing to do with debtor/creditor protection. Another provision of Florida law entitled “homestead” ensures a will is probated in the county of the last permanent residence of the decedent. The so-called “Homestead Declaration” relates to Florida’s debtor/creditor protections for a primary residence, found in Chapter 222, Florida Statutes. Please pay specific attention to Section 222.01, Florida Statutes, which has a sample of the Notice of Homestead form you must file with Broward County Recording Division to take advantage of these legal rights after a final judgment is entered against you in court. Any Florida bankruptcy attorney should also be familiar with this.

However, if you are not dealing with a possible bankruptcy situation or facing creditors who are seeking to take your home, you do not need to be very concerned with the Chapter 222 “homestead” protections at this time.


April 2008

Keeping Families Together: “Granny-Flats”

Dear Lori,

My mother told me your office has a property tax exemption for Homesteaded properties due to the construction (or reconstruction) on the property for the purpose of providing living quarters for one or more parents or grandparents?

D.B., Fort Lauderdale

Accessory Dwelling Unit -ADU - AKA Granny Flat
ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT - GRANNY FLAT
When I was on the County Commission, I led the effort to adopt a law known as the
“Granny Flat” ordinance. Taxpayers who build additions onto an existing home or perform renovations to provide living quarters for a parent or grandparent may be entitled to an exemption equal to the amount of the new construction (up to 20% of the homestead value). The “Granny Flat” law – as it is better known – creates a financial incentive for taxpayers to keep families together, and to lessen the needs for costly social services.

To be eligible, the owner must have a Homestead Exemption on the property before any construction begins. The construction or reconstruction must be properly permitted and comply with all local development regulations. Copies of all permits and plans must be submitted to our office, along with an annual application.

The annual application should be filed by March 1st of each year or a late file petition will be required. The occupant(s) must be at least 62 years if age by January 1st of the year in which the reduction is requested. The occupant(s) must permanently reside on the property and cannot receive any benefits requiring a declaration of permanent residency on any other property in any other County or State. All these requirements must be met in order to qualify.

Bob Wolfe of BCPA
Bob Wolfe
It may sound complicated – and it is – but the savings provided by this ordinance are well worth the effort. Because the Granny Flat requirements are a complex matter, it’s a good idea to contact our office prior to any construction. Our office will gladly answer any questions you have or help you through the application process. For more information please contact Bob Wolfe at 954.357.6871 or visit our website at www.bcpa.net.


March 2008

“Missed the Homestead or Portability Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I missed the March deadline for filing both my Homestead Exemption and Portability Applications. Is there anything I can do to get my 2008 tax exemptions?

L. C., Dania Beach, Florida

Don’t worry. Florida law allows for late filing for Tax Year 2008 through September 18, 2008. Our office accepts late Homestead applications and helps taxpayers prepare the required petitions to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) for all eligible properties. To claim a 2008 Homestead, you must have purchased, be named on the title, and moved onto the property on or before January 1, 2008.

In January, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that makes some or all of the Save Our Homes (SOH) benefit portable. Portability allows Homestead Exemption holders to transfer some or all of their SOH benefit from their old home to their new home. As of the March 3rd traditional filing deadline over 4000 applications for portability have been filed in Broward County.

The first year that homeowners can take advantage of this benefit is 2008. If you had a Florida Homestead Exemption in 2007, and gave up the exemption and moved to a new homestead by January 1, 2008, you are eligible for portability. To receive this benefit, you must apply for both the Homestead Exemption and Portability.

The application and petition are available at our main office, our branch office, or online at www.bcpa.net. Our BCPA staff will help you complete the form if you need assistance. The petition must be accompanied by a non-refundable filing fee of $15.00 made payable to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board. Call our Customer Service staff at 954-357-6830 if you have any questions or need help with your tax exemption applications.


February 2008

Answering your Portability Questions

Dear Lori,

We have a few questions about the new amendment, when can our family take advantage of portability and the increase in homestead exemption?

S.G., Fort Lauderdale, Florida (via email)

On January 29th, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved Amendment 1 to increase the Homestead Exemption to $50,000; gives homesteaded owners the “portability” right to take their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefits to a new homesteaded property, when they move; grants businesses and mobile home residents a $25,000 break on tangible personal property taxes; and caps annual increases for non-homesteaded properties to no more than 10% beginning in 2009.

Homesteaded owners do not need to apply for the additional savings, as the $50,000 homestead exemption amount will be automatically applied starting this year. Our office has posted both the initial application forms for portability and administrative guidelines to implement the rest of these new benefits at www.bcpa.net.

If you had a Homestead on Florida property in 2007 and are now seeking to move your Homestead to a new location in 2008 you may apply for “portability” of your SOH benefits now. Anyone who moves within the state after January 1, 2008 can apply and the transfer will take effect on their 2009 tax bills. The constitutional amendment allows residents to transfer up to $500,000 in value exempt from taxation through Save Our Homes. This benefit is the difference between a home’s market (Just Value) as set by the Property Appraiser’s Office – and its assessed value. The difference can be great for longtime homeowners because Save Our Homes limits the growth of the assessed value to no more than 3% per year, while the just value is tied to the real estate market.

Go to www.bcpa.net, download the application and mail it to the Property Appraiser’s Office. You may also fax your application to 954.357.8474. The main office is in the Governmental Center at 115 South Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. A satellite office is located at 1 N. University Drive, Suite 111-A, in Plantation.

If you have more questions about portability, please contact our office at 954.357.6830. Thank you for all your help in making portability a reality.


January 2008

Help Us Complete Your Residential Property Survey

Dear Lori,

Our family received your News for Broward Taxpayers Newsletter with the 2008 Homestead Exemption renewal mailing. On the back of the newsletter is a residential property survey your office wants us to complete. Why is this survey so important?

J. H., Pembroke Pines, FL

The Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office is currently in the process of upgrading our computer assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system to better serve the taxpayers. We are requesting your assistance in improving and updating our property records. Our existing computer system is rather antiquated and never tracked physical details of properties such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, carport and garage spaces, pools and jacuzzis, etc.

If you received our newsletter in the mail with your Homestead renewal notice, you have the option of completing this quick survey online at www.bcpa.net/survey using the PIN number printed on your renewal receipt. If you do not have a PIN number or you do not have a home computer, you must use the printed form to participate. Please see the back page of our newsletter if you’d prefer to respond using the printed form. Once complete, simply fax the survey to 954-357-8474 or mail to: Property Appraiser’s Office, 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Room 111, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.

If you are computer friendly, be sure to look up your property on our website as we’ve recently added building sketches to those pages. Just click on the blue “See Sketch” link on the lower right-hand side of the property record page – and please call 954-357-6831, if you see any errors in the sketch of your home.

Please take a few minutes to help ensure our records about your property are accurate. While completing the property survey is purely voluntary, any assistance you provide will help ensure you pay no more than your fair share of taxes.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact our Residential Appraisal Division at 954-357-6831 or email dstaruch@bcpa.net. I strongly urge you to complete this special residential survey. Thank you in advance for all your help in making our office even better.


December 2007

The New Property Tax Plan – “What’s In It For Me?”

Dear Lori,

On January 29, Floridians will have an opportunity to vote on the proposed property tax reform constitutional amendment. My question is simple: What’s in it for me?

B.W., Fort Lauderdale, FL

There’s something for everyone in the new constitutional amendment to cut property taxes. While the relief may be far less than what we hoped for, it contains four key types of tax savings.

Portability of Savings: Floridians will be able to move their Save Our Homes (SOH) benefits – up to $500,000, from one homesteaded property to the next. In order to transfer the SOH benefit, you must establish Homestead within two years of selling your previously homesteaded property. These benefits will apply to all sales in 2007. Portability applies to both up-sizing and down-sizing in value and may be used an unlimited amount of times for moves anywhere within Florida.

Additional $25,000 Homestead: Floridians will see their Homestead Exemption double to $50,000 for all properties with an assessed value of at least $75,000. This second exemption does not apply to the school portion of your tax bill, meaning the average Broward homesteaded owner will save an additional $308, if the amendment is approved.

Business Equipment Exemption: Currently, all businesses in Florida are subject to an annual tax on tangible personal property (TPP). For a business, TPP items include equipment, computers, desks and phones. For small rental properties, TPP may include beds and refrigerators. This amendment creates a $25,000 TPP exemption resulting in an average savings of $508 for each business – ending filing requirements for over 80% of all Broward businesses.

10% Cap for Non-Homesteaded Properties: The annual growth of taxable value for businesses, apartments, second homes and other rental properties will now be limited to 10% per year.

Want to see how portability will work and estimate your taxes under this proposal? Visit our website at www.bcpa.net to use our online calculator tools to see how these new proposals will impact you. Please urge everyone you know to vote on January 29th. You can request an absentee ballot by calling (954) 357-7050 or go on line to www.browardsoe.org.


November 2007

Portability and a New Property Tax Plan

Dear Lori,

I am planning on downsizing from a 4 bedroom home in Coral Springs to a 2 bedroom condo in Plantation for $200,000. My current home has a taxable value of approximately $120,000 and a market value of $300,000. Will my taxes go down since I will be able to move with the portability clause?

At least homeowners will get some relief in the future if they decide to move and with the new $50,000 Homestead Exemption.

L. V., Coral Springs, FL (via email)

How much you’ll pay in taxes on your new home depends on how long you have owned your old home and how much the value increased during that time period. The longer you’ve owned your home, accruing savings from the Save Our Homes (SOH) tax benefits for Florida residents, the more you will save when moving to a new home.

When you buy a less expensive home, you can transfer the SOH savings to your new homestead, based on a simple formula. The formula: New Home Market Value divided by Old Home Market Value, then multiplied by the Old Home SOH = New SOH Value.

If you buy a more expensive home, you can transfer up to a maximum of $500,000 of accumulated savings to your new homestead. Your home has a market value of $300,000 and a current assessed value of $120,000. The SOH “differential” is $180,000. You can carry $180,000 in savings to a new home and subtract the $180,000 from the new home market value for a new SOH value.

On January 29, 2008, Floridians will vote on a Constitutional Amendment that will: double the Homestead Exemption to $50,000; allow portability of the Save Our Homes benefits; provide a 10% cap on assessment increases on non-homesteaded properties; and create a $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property for businesses and mobile home residents. Our website www.bcpa.net will soon add a calculator tool so you can see how these new proposals will impact your tax bill.


October 2007

“Disappointed in Property Tax Cuts?”

Dear Lori,

With the housing market in a tailspin with weak sales and stalled prices, we now have the Florida Legislature fumbling over tax reform. My question is simple: “Why haven’t my taxes dropped like a rock?”

S.G., Pompano Beach, FL

Taxpayers are disappointed they aren’t seeing bigger savings from the much-touted property tax cuts. Florida law sets January 1 as the assessment date each year for determining both value and exemption eligibility. While January 1, 2007 is the date used in setting your market value, the value is based upon the sales of similar properties in the same or comparable subdivisions, neighborhoods or condominiums from January 1, 2007 back through January 2, 2006. If market values continue to drop in 2007, resulting in lower sales prices, these changes will be reflected on your 2008 proposed tax notice and subsequent tax bill. Likewise, in a year when values increase, those increases in value will not be reflected until the following tax year.

Property values increased an average of 10% in Broward last year, increasing the taxable value of all property in the county from $157.4 billion to $176.4 billion. Although the volume of sales slowed last year, sales prices in most of the county did not begin to fall until the 2007 calendar year. Once again, 2007 assessments are based on 2006 sales prices.

The good news is Homestead Exemption and Save Our Homes prevents the taxable value of a property from increasing more than 3% per year, for 2007 the SOH increase is 2.5%. However, a home’s market value can decline and its taxable value still increase due to a quirk in this popular law. Save Our Homes still requires an increase in the taxable value of a home each year until it adjusts to market value, regardless of market conditions.

We also have lots of uncertainty with the Florida Legislature’s efforts at tax reform. Until the legal maneuvering in Tallahassee ends, it will be hard to know what proposals are likely to be submitted to the voters. Stay informed by visiting our website at www.bcpa.net and click the Legislation menu option for future updates.


September 2007

Will You Save More With Tax Reform?

Dear Lori,

Thank you for the copy of Understanding the Tax Reform Proposals that our family received in the mail. It is rather complex and difficult to understand. I guess my main question is will I save more with the proposed “Super Exemption” or with the current “Save Our Homes” 3 % assessment cap?

N.P., Wilton Manors, FL (via email)

Understand there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer. The real answer depends on your specific situation. If you are a long time resident and have substantial Save Our Homes savings currently, you’d do best to keep the current exemption. If you are a recent homesteaded buyer of a modestly priced property, plan to move frequently or “down-size” in the future, you could save more under the new plan – although it can cost you more down the road, depending upon future market values..

To see a side-by-side comparison of what the two plans may mean to you, simply look up your own homesteaded property on our website at www.bcpa.net. Once you have found your property record, just click the link at the top of the page for the “Super Exemption Calculator” and you’ll see if you save more money with the current law or with the proposed new amendment.

Voters will cast ballots on the proposed constitutional amendment on January 29, 2008. This proposed tax reform contains several different items – all voted together as a single issue, including the “Super Exemption” for homesteaded properties, a phase-out of the Save Our Homes protection, a tax break for the tangible personal property of businesses, and assessment methodology changes effecting owners of waterfront marinas and affordable residential rental properties.

We’ve posted full copies of the current property tax roll-back law, the executive summary of the roll-back law, and the proposed amendment on our website. Please visit our Legislative page at www.bcpa.net or contact our office at 954.357.6830. Please remember the tax roll-back takes effect this year, but voters will cast the ballots on the proposed constitutional amendment on January 29, 2008.


August 2007

“Late-filing” a Homestead Exemption petition to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board

Dear Lori,

My family purchased a home in Tamarac last year. Because of a job transfer, we still had a home in Orlando with Homestead Exemption. We have now cancelled the exemption for 2007 in Orange County.

Because of the huge increase in my property taxes and insurance, we are in debt and need immediate help to get an exemption here. We know the filing deadline has passed, but can you tell us what to do in order to get the exemption, as soon as possible? Is it still possible to file a Homestead Exemption for this year?

J. Buckley, Tamarac (via email)

You may still apply for Homestead Exemption with a “late-filing” petition to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board. The petitions are available at our main office, Plantation office or online at www.bcpa.net under Download Forms. The late-filing petition is simple to complete and our office staff will be happy to assist you. There is a $15.00 non-refundable filing fee for the petition. Checks should be made payable to Broward County Value Adjustment Board.

You may late-file for exemptions through the end of the year, however, after September 18, 2007, the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) requires you to file a Good Cause petition in addition to the late-filing petition. Please be advised the VAB will likely require you to attend a hearing prior to resolving your petition.

Remember – You must file a petition with the Broward County Value Adjustment Board to be considered for a late-filing application for 2007. No Exceptions!

If you would like more information about exemptions, VAB petitions and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954) 357-6830.


July 2007

Many Questions Remain With Tax Reform Measures

Dear Lori,

I’ve just left a meeting of tax reformers in Deerfield Beach, and this all seems very confusing. We didn’t realize it will eliminate Save Our Homes, by choice or by attrition. And choosing the alternative tax plan may end up costing homeowners more money after 5 or 6 years. Can you help us explain these tax reforms?

C. Greenberg, Broward County, FL (via email)

First, understand the Florida Legislature passed two separate property tax relief measures: one is a statutory roll back of spending and the other is a proposed 2008 constitutional amendment. Both are very complex and difficult to understand. Cities, counties and special districts are required to cut this year’s property taxes by 3% - 9% from the “rolled back rate” (meaning the amount levied last year plus new construction). Also, the faster a government’s taxes have risen, the higher the cut. School districts are exempt from this statutory measure, plus the formula exempted a few Broward cities from making any cuts. This statutory cap can be overridden up to 10% by a 2/3 vote of the governing board. Any change above 10% requires a unanimous vote of the board or a referendum.

Second, on January 29, 2008, Florida voters will consider a proposed constitutional amendment to create a new Homestead Exemption ranging from $50,000 to $195,000. This so-called “Super Exemption” is designed to replace the current Homestead Exemption and gradually replace Save Our Homes. If approved, homeowners can decide if they want to make an irrevocable, one time decision to take the new exemption or keep the current Save Our Homes assessment cap. When a homeowner moves, dies or transfers title, they will lose SOH and start fresh with the new exemption. First-time and new homeowners will only be eligible for the new exemption. Initial calculations show a large number of Broward homeowners would continue to save more in taxes under the current law. Also, the proposed amendment offers no relief for renters, snowbirds and commercial property owners.

The bottom line is the statutory tax roll back law takes effect this year – but it cannot yet be determined if or how much you will individually save on your November tax bill, please watch for your TRIM (proposed tax notice) in August, 2007 for specific tax information. Voters will cast ballots on the proposed constitutional amendment in January 2008. We’ve posted full copies of the property tax roll-back law and the proposed amendment on our website at www.bcpa.net and will soon have an interactive calculator to compare how much you’d save – if any – under the competing options.

If you would like more information about this exemption and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954)357-6830.


June 2007

Local Cities Vote to Enact Doubled Senior Exemption in Time for 2007 Tax Roll

Dear Lori,

I wrote you recently about voters approving doubling the Senior Exemption up to $50,000. You asked us to contact our local officials ask about their plans on this issue and I did.

After reading in the newspapers about lack of property tax reform, how do I know my Senior Exemption will be approved? I am still very confused and afraid that many seniors will miss this opportunity. Thank you for your help.

I. Scarfone, Miramar, FL

Florida voters passed a Constitutional Amendment last year which has the potential to double the current Additional Senior Exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for qualified seniors on fixed incomes. However, this amendment does not automatically double the current exemption to $50,000. Instead, it gives the County and various cities the “local option” to increase the current $25,000 exemption to any amount “up to $50,000.”

The following cities have approved increasing to $50,000 the Senior Exemption: Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Miramar, Oakland Park, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise and Weston. This increase in the exemption will result in an estimated $100 tax savings for seniors living in any of these eleven cities. Seniors already receiving the Additional Senior Exemption do not need to apply for the increased amount, as it will be adjusted automatically.

In order to qualify for the Additional Senior Exemption, individuals must be 65 years or older with an adjusted household gross income for last year (2006) not exceeding $24,214. The deadline for timely filing has passed, however, you can still late file with a petition to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board. The Senior Exemption application and late filing petitions are available in our office or online at www.bcpa.net.

If you would like more information about this exemption and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954)357-6830.


May 2007

Protecting the Integrity of Our Property Tax Exemptions

Dear Lori,

I’m 73 years old and a widow. I’m not going to drop below age 65 in the future so why did your office send me a letter asking that I prove my combined household adjusted gross income for 2006 was less than $24,214?

M.W., Sunrise

First, please understand you were selected entirely at random by our computer system. It wasn’t personal and was not intended as a statement we distrust you. Florida’s homestead, senior’s additional homestead, and disability exemptions grant property owners significant tax savings each year. Thus, we constantly work to protect these valuable exemptions for all eligible taxpayers.

Click to Department of Revenue Web Site The senior’s additional homestead exemption requires property owners to re-qualify annually based upon a specific adjusted household income cap. The Florida Department of Revenue adjusts the amount each year, based upon the cost-of-living index. For 2007, the maximum qualifying adjusted household income amount is $24,214. Florida Statutes (Section 196.075) requires our office “to generate random audits of the taxpayers’ sworn statements to ensure the accuracy of the household income reported. The Property Appraiser may not grant or renew the exemption if the required documentation requested is not provided.”

Thank you, in advance, for your cooperation with our request. Your prompt response helps protect your exemptions and safeguard the integrity of our property tax exemptions. If you have any questions or concerns about this random audit, please feel free to contact our Customer Service Division at 954.357.6830. We’d be happy to assist you.


April 2007

It’s Tax Time in Tallahassee!

Dear Lori,

I was wondering if you knew of any updates on the new law in which a homeowner could carry over the taxes from their old residence to their new residence within Broward County. I think it was called the Portability Act? My family has outgrown our home and I am desperately waiting for this act to be passed so I can move. Your help is greatly appreciated.

S. Iqbal, Broward County (via email)

There is a tax crisis in Florida and families are desperate for relief. High property values have led to higher taxes – threatening many with the loss of their homes and businesses. The Save Our Homes amendment has kept taxes down for a large number of Floridians, so the growth in property taxes is unfairly being borne by the rest of the taxpayers.

Florida State Senator Jeffrey (Jeff) H. Atwater
SEN JEFFREY ATWATER
The Florida Legislature is feeling a lot of pressure to “do something” about property taxes. The current Session is considering many measures such as allowing for Save Our Home portability, revenue caps on local governments, doubling the homestead exemption, or even abolishing homestead taxes in a trade for a sharply increased sales tax. Nearly every day new ideas are proposed and amendments suggested for existing proposals. Everyone in the Florida Legislature is working hard to find a real solution, but there seems to be little consensus so far in selecting the best path that would help the most people.

Until the Session ends in May 2007, it will be hard to know what changes are likely to become law. For many of the proposals, Florida voters would be required to approve related constitutional amendments in a statewide election. Legislators are talking about setting a special election on these issues for Fall 2007.

I strongly urge you to get involved in the process by contacting your State Senator and State Representative to tell them you support portability and other tax reform ideas. Study the plans and push for the ones you believe are best. As taxpayers, we’re all in this boat together. Hopefully, they will find solutions this year to help all of us. Stay tuned.


March 2007

It’s All about Property Taxes and Budgets

Dear Lori,

I had the opportunity to hear one of our County Commissioners at last month’s Chamber Breakfast. I was surprised to learn that almost half of the revenue in the County Commission’s general fund goes to the Constitutional Officers. Is this true?

R. Lobo, Fort Lauderdale (via email)

The Property Appraiser’s budget makes up less than ½ of 1% of the Broward County budget. The property tax crisis requires all governmental agencies to tighten their budgets. While it would be inappropriate to discuss other constitutional offices, we are happy to discuss our office budget and share with you our progress.

My office is determined to comply with our constitutional duties and ensure our tax roll is accurate. This has taken much time, additional resources and increased staffing. Upon my election and at my request, both the County Auditor and the Florida Department of Revenue were invited to review the office budget and personnel data, comparing them with other Florida Property Appraisers. Both agencies found this office to be under funded, understaffed and lacking basic management accountability. While our current office budget is $20,274,755, it is a direct result of meeting the auditors’ recommendations aimed at bringing our office up to par. We have met challenges brought to light by the external audits by utilizing last year’s budget surplus for technology advances and additional budgeted appraiser positions. My office voluntarily decreased our total expenditures last year to assist in meeting budgetary goals.

We recognize the importance of managing public dollars efficiently and with accountability. Our office welcomes input from the community. If you would like more information about our office budget, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net, click on the site index and go BCPA Budgets.

If you have any questions for Lori, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net, email her at lori@bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954)357-6830.


February 2007

Voters Doubled Senior Exemption but it Requires State and Local Enactment

Dear Lori,

Your recent newsletter talks about voters approving doubling the Senior Exemption up to $50,000. You asked us to contact our County Commission and City Commission to ask about their plans on this issue.

I contacted my County Commissioner’s office and they told me that the state made the final decision on this issue. I am confused and afraid that many seniors will miss this opportunity to have our Senior Exemption count.

I. Scarfone, Miramar, FL (via email)

Florida voters did pass a Constitutional Amendment last year which has the potential to double the current Senior Exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 for qualified seniors on fixed incomes. However, this amendment does not automatically double the current exemption to $50,000. Instead, it gives the County and various cities the “local option” to increase the current $25,000 exemption to any amount “up to $50,000.”

We all received notice from the Florida Department of Revenue stating the State Legislature will need to pass implementing rules before our County and City Commissions can approve this new exemption. House Bill 333 will solve this problem and it will be retroactive in time for the 2007 tax roll. We expect it to pass soon.

Please make sure you and other qualified seniors, 65 years or older who have a combined household adjusted gross income for last year (2006) not exceeding $24,214 apply for this money saving exemption before March 1. This exemption saves the average Broward senior nearly $300 each year in taxes. Let your local elected officials know of your strong support for the adoption of this Senior Homestead enabling ordinance.

If you would like more information about this exemption and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954)357-6830.


January 2007

New Tax Savings for Combat-Wounded Florida Veterans

Dear Lori,

I am a retired Army officer who is trying to get information for my American Legion Post members on the implementation of the disabled veteran Constitutional Amendment passed in November. I am eager to help get this information to Broward County’s veteran community.

Col. D. McDoanld, Jr. USA retired (via email)

Thank you for your generous offer of help. This past November, Florida voters adopted a Constitutional Amendment providing an additional exemption for partially or totally permanently disabled veterans. Veterans must be age 65 or older; were a Florida resident at the time of entering military service; and whose partial disability was combat-related.

Qualifying veterans may receive a percentage discount on their property taxes equal to the percentage of the veteran’s permanent service connected disability. Individuals must have Homestead Exemption on the property and apply for this exemption, no latter than March 1, 2007 to be in effect for the 2007 tax year.

Click Here to the Department of Veterans Affairs All eligible veterans must provide the following:

  1. Evidence the applicant was a resident of Florida at the time of entering military service of the United States,
  2. Official letter from the US Department of Veterans Affairs stating the percentage of veteran’s service-connected disability,
  3. Evidence identifying all or portion of the disability as combat related, and
  4. Proof of the veteran’s honorable discharge.

If you would like more information about this exemption and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954)357-6830.

The Fort Lauderdale September 6th budget hearing crystallized some of the tax issues facing property owners throughout the State. Click Here to read about what happened. - editor


December 2006

Understanding Ownership When Buying a New Home

Dear Lori,

My mother and I are purchasing a condo which she will be living in. Is she eligible for the $25,000. Homestead Exemption, if both of our names appear on the deed?

R. Weisz, Broward County (via email)

Yes provided the deed states “Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship”. Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship allows your mother to qualify for Homestead Exemption and the full 3% Save Our Homes cap. Joint tenants with Rights of Survivorship allow you to retain your full Homestead Exemption on another property, as well. We always recommend you seek professional advice from a qualified attorney when making real estate decisions, hopefully this information will help you better understand this common form of home ownership.

Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship or “JTRS” gives two or more unmarried co-owners legal rights to property. JTRS owners each own overlapping 100% interests – any one filing for homestead would qualify for 100% of the Save Our Home coverage. When a JTRS co-owner dies, all remaining title interests automatically are divided between the remaining JTRS co-owner(s) and the last one alive owns the entire property.

Keep in mind this is a very simple explanation of a complicated legal issue. There are many more variants of ownership types, but this should give you a basic understanding of the answer to your question. If you would like to learn more about this and other important property tax issues, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or contact our office directly at (954) 357-6830.

The Fort Lauderdale September 6th budget hearing crystallized some of the tax issues facing property owners throughout the State. Click Here to read about what happened. - editor


November 2006

Citizens Insurance Letter to Broward Homeowners

Dear Lori,

I emailed your office last week regarding my homestead application for 2006. I just received a letter from Citizens Insurance stating they were unable to verify my homestead status. How can I check the status of my homestead exemption?

P.M., Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. You are one of many Broward homeowners who have contacted our office to tell us about the letter sent by Citizens Insurance. Due to Senate Bill 1980, passing the Florida Legislature in May, Citizens Property Insurance will stop offering windstorm coverage to non-homestead properties after March 1, 2007. The aim of this anti-consumer law is to reduce risk and slow the growth for this insurer of last resort. If owners of non-homestead properties cannot find coverage from another insurer, they can stay with Citizens. However, they will be charged a 25 percent surcharge.

Last month, Citizens Insurance mailed thousands of letters into Broward County to determine which policies cover non-homestead properties. These letters were misleading as they stated “...based upon your current policy information and data collected by your local Property Appraiser’s Office, Citizens is unable to determine if your property meets the definition of ‘Homestead Property’...” Unfortunately, it appears Citizens never checked our records before sending out the letters. They have apologized to our office for the confusion and owe all of you one as well.

If you received one of these letters and now need to prove you have homestead on your property, simply go to www.bcpa.net to find and print your property record. The $25,000 homestead exemption is reflected on all properties currently holding the exemption.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net .

The Fort Lauderdale September 6th budget hearing crystallized some of the tax issues facing property owners throughout the State. Click Here to read about what happened. - editor


October 2006

Many Thanks for Protecting Our Taxpayer Rights!

Dear Lori,

Our family watched you last night on our local T.V. news station. Thank you for standing-up to the Davie Town Council. I just wanted to let you know that we appreciate all that you do to make our town a better place – you rock!

P. Harper, Davie, Florida

It’s no secret Broward County has seen tremendous growth in real estate values over the last 5 years. Higher values often mean higher property taxes. Taxpayers have the right and the responsibility to know how their property values and taxes are determined. This is why it so important for citizens to voice their opinions during the annual budget hearings.

And guess what - this year it worked! For the first time in decades taxpayers attended their budget hearings and participated in the process. Our office attended many of these hearings to assist taxpayers with questions about their property tax valuations and exemptions. If taxing authorities don’t have any input from those whose tax dollars they receive, tax dollars will be spent in the manner in which the taxing authorities choose.

Your Truth in Millage notice shows last year’s assessments and taxes, current year’s assessment and proposed taxes, and qualified property tax exemptions. The property values on the 2006 TRIM notice are based upon sales in the real estate market during 2005, when sales were at an all time high. Any changes made to these notices by our office (or by the Value Adjustment Board) will be reflected on your November tax bill, sent to you by Broward County Revenue Collection.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net .

The Fort Lauderdale September 6th budget hearing crystallized some of the tax issues facing property owners throughout the State. Click Here to read about what happened. - editor


September 2006

County Commission Pushes Portability of Save Our Homes Question for November Ballot!

Dear Lori,

We were disappointed to read that Tallahassee politicians killed property tax reform this year. We read in the Sun-Sentinel that the County Commission has placed this issue on the November ballot. What does this mean to Broward County taxpayers?

P.M., Plantation, Florida

Broward County Commissioner Jim Scott
BROWARD COMMISSIONER
JIM SCOTT
Led by County Commissioner
Jim Scott, our County Commission has joined the fight for property tax reform. A countywide Referendum Election will be held on Tuesday, November 7th for the purpose of conducting a “non-binding straw ballot” to determine the opinion of Broward County voters as to “whether the Florida Constitution should be amended to provide that when a person sells a Broward County homesteaded property, and acquires a subsequent homestead exempt property within Broward, the assessed value of the subsequently acquired property, for the purposes of ad valorem real estate taxation, shall be reduced by an amount as determined by law.”

This is an effort to show public support and encourage the Legislature to recognize Florida homeowners need tax relief. Our County Commission and I want Broward voters to send a message to Tallahassee on whether or not Save Our Homes should be portable upon the purchase of a new home. Unfortunately, Florida’s legislative leaders once again ignored the wishes of taxpayers and failed to act on our proposed constitutional amendment this year.

Please remember this important issue when candidates for public office ask you for your family’s votes this November.

If you would like to learn more about this and other important property tax reform measures, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net and click the “Legislation” menu option.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


August 2006

Taxed out of House and Home!

Dear Lori,

It is finally happening. After living in Hollywood most of my life, I am faced with the decision of selling my house and leaving Florida. That’s wrong! I am finding it harder to handle the expenses; it seems you cannot make enough money to live here.

My wife and I are real estate professionals and are finding there is no way a teacher; firefighter or police officer can qualify for a traditional mortgage loan.

As you know, you don’t get much for $300,000. That’s $2000 a month principal and interest, and another $1000 a month for taxes and insurance. Taxes and insurance are running over 50% of the monthly payment right now. Please help! We really do not want to leave.

R.B., Hollywood, Florida

Often, many taxpayers wait until it is too late to fight a proposed tax hike. On average, properties in Broward County increased approximately 19% in market value this year over the previous year. As property owners, that means you made a great investment. But as taxpayers, that same news has other financial consequences. For non-homesteaded properties, it means your taxing authorities (i.e., School Board, County Commission, City Commission, hospital district board, etc.) will potentially collect 19% more in property taxes this year unless they sharply cut your tax rates.

Here’s an example: If a taxing authority cuts the millage rate by 5%, that would still equal a 14% tax hike (19% tax base increase – 5% rate cut = 14% tax hike).

Remember the Property Appraiser’s Office does not set your tax rates. If you want to protest your proposed tax amount, or the non-ad valorem fees and special assessments, you must contact your elected officials who serve on these boards and commissions and/or attend the public hearings.

Broward County School Board public hearings are August 1st and September 7th at the KCW Administration Building. The Broward County Commission public hearings are September 12th and September 26th at the Broward County Governmental Center.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


June 2006

Tallahassee Approves Increased Accountability for
Property Appraisers!

Dear Lori,

Thank you for supporting “portability” of Save Our Homes. While our family was disappointed to learn that Tallahassee politicians killed property tax reform this year, we would like to learn more about your 2006 Legislative Package. Did any of your legislative proposals become law?

L.B., Margate, Florida

Florida State Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla
STATE SENATOR ALEX
DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA
Florida Property Appraisers are currently subject to very little oversight. This is how, for example, a former Broward County Property Appraiser was able to ignore Florida Law requiring physical inspections of all properties every three years – allowing most properties to languish with 12 – 15 years between inspections. Because of that failure, some people didn’t have to pay any taxes on buildings not assessed on the tax roll…while you were paying more to make up the difference.

Florida State Representative Jack Seiler
STATE REPRESENTATIVE
JACK SEILER
This is the reason why I asked Miami Dade County
State Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla and Broward County State Representative Jack Seiler to ensure this never happens again. We joined together to support a new law (SB 490 and HB 979) requiring that the Florida Department of Revenue notify the Mayors and County Commissions when audits of the 67 county Property Appraisers are available for all taxpayers to see.

We are please to announce that the Governor agreed with this common sense reform and signed our measure into law. Beginning July 1st, 2006 all Florida Property Appraiser audits will now become truly “public documents” for the County Commissions and local taxpayers to review. Past audits of the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office often found procedural, statistical and analytical errors that were never made public.

If you would like to learn more about our 2006 State Legislative Package, and check the status of these and other new state laws, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net and click the “legislation” menu option.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


May 2006

“Tallahassee Kills Portability!”

Dear Lori,

My partner attended the Realtor Rally at the Convention Center. He told me you spoke on the portability issue and said it was “completely dead.” Is this true? If this issue is dead and will not appear on the ballot, we cannot afford to move. Please give me an update?

T.G., Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Unfortunately, Florida legislative leaders once again ignored the wishes of taxpayers and failed to act on our proposed constitutional amendment. This means there will be no “portability” on the November ballot. With the State Legislature adjourned for the year, 2008 looks like our next opportunity for the ballot.

Many of you joined us and fought hard to pass this important property tax reform measure. Please remember this important issue when candidates for public office ask you for your family’s votes this November. Let’s make property tax reform a major issue for this election year!

Be assured, our office will continue supporting a new constitutional amendment allowing homesteaded owners to move their sheltered SOH (Save Our Homes) value from one primary residence to the next within the same county. This concept is called “portability.”

Only then will you and your families feel the financial freedom to make real estate decisions without being financially “locked” in your homes – because families cannot afford the high property taxes if they move.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


January 2006

“Understanding Save Our Homes”

Dear Lori,

My neighbor and I own identical condos. My neighbors bought their condo in 1999 and I bought my Condo in 2002. My estimated tax bill is $5,201 – but my neighbor’s bill is only $3,588. This seems unfair.

C.K., Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Unfortunately, we hear this story every year. A provision in Florida’s Constitution – the Save Our Homes Amendment – causes this confusion. Save Our Homes was intended to prevent homeowners from being taxed out of their homes in the face of rapidly rising real estate values. The Save Our Homes cap limits increases in assessed value of homesteaded properties to no more than 3% per year – regardless of how much more the properties increase in market value.

Because of this, Florida law favors owners who stay in their homesteaded property for many years. In 2005, the average Broward homeowner with homestead saved nearly $2,100 in taxes because of Save Our Homes.

For new home purchases, your first year assessed value is based upon your sale price and other recent sales. Thus, the market value and assessed value for your property are identical the first year. Next year, you’ll likely see the market value climbing at a rate much higher than your assessed value. Your taxes will never drop to the level of your neighbor because of Save Our Homes – but, when they sell their home, you should see the next buyer paying quite a bit more in taxes than you are.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


December 2005

“Finally Some Hurricane Wilma Property Tax Relief!”

Dear Lori,

I read in the newspaper that the Florida Legislature is considering some type of tax bill relief for those of us hit hard by Hurricane Wilma. Do you have any information about this?

R.A., Pembroke Pines, Florida

State Representative Adam Hasner and State Senator Jeff Atwater have introduced state legislation to provide tax relief to Broward County taxpayers impacted by Hurricane Wilma. The legislation seeks to extend the date by which taxpayers can receive discounts on their payment up to 6o days. This would be in addition to the extra 15 day extension already granted by Broward County.

Florida State Senator Jeffrey (Jeff) H. Atwater
SEN JEFFREY ATWATER
Under current law, property taxes are due and payable in November and are delinquent on April 1st of the following year. This year, the county’s mail processor was without power for over a week resulting in tax bill delays. Taxpayers are usually given an early payment discount on their property tax bills depending upon when the payment is made. Under the Hasner/Atwater bill, Broward County may, by an affirmative vote of the County Commission, authorize any of the following discount periods:

  1. Four percent for taxes paid by January 31, 2006
  2. Three percent for taxes paid by February 28, 2006, and
  3. Two percent for taxes paid by March 31, 2006

Florida State Representative Adam Hasner
REP ADAM HASNER
We expect these taxpayer friendly bills to pass the December Special Legislative Session and be enacted by the County Commission. These discounts will not apply to payments made on behalf of taxpayers by financial institutions.

Remember: property owners pay their current year property taxes to the Broward County Revenue Department not the Property Appraiser! Property owners may pay by mail, in person, or online. For additional information regarding property tax payments, visit www.broward.org/revenue or call the Broward County Call Center at 954-831-4000.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


November 2005

“Hurricane Wilma’s Property Tax Impact”

Dear Lori,

I am a homeowner in Deerfield Beach who has sustained eight thousand dollars worth of damage to my home from hurricane Wilma. We have a $9,950 deductible, which is estimated at 5% of our home value.

Can we possibly get a property tax break from this disaster, and if so what do we need to do to apply?

P.A., Deerfield Beach, FL

Unfortunately, none yet exists. This does not mean Broward residents badly impacted by the storm will not be able to receive some property tax relief. Last year, the Florida Legislature met in special session and approved tax breaks for the victims of the 2004 hurricanes – but the tax relief was explicitly limited to just the victims of these storms.

Hurricane Tax Breaks Any post-hurricane property tax relief would require passage by the Florida Legislature of a new law covering Hurricane Wilma’s victims. If the Legislature adopts a similar law for us: (1) your home would have to be uninhabitable for a period of at least 60 days; and (2) the damage to your property would have to drop your market value below your Save Our Homes taxable value.

Rest assured our office will support any changes in state law to bring storm related tax relief to Broward taxpayers. But, until then, there is no available “hurricane tax breaks.” If you support these proposals, be sure to contact your State Senator and State Representative. If any proposals become law, we’ll post the news on our website at www.bcpa.net.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


October 2005

“Bringing Community Service to our Customers”

Dear Lori,

I am the President of my neighborhood Homeowner’s Association. We are always looking for special events and speakers. What does your office do in terms of community programs and homebound assistance?

D.M., Pompano Beach, FL

In order to serve our diverse community, our office is enhancing community outreach efforts to accommodate individuals and groups. It is our goal to bring community outreach programs directly to where you live and work. You will find our friendly and informed BCPA staff signing-up taxpayers for Homestead Exemptions at civic association meetings, in condo clubhouses, at shopping centers, in city halls, and at many community locations throughout Broward.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Nance Parrish
B.C. PROPERTY APPRAISER
LORI NANCE PARRISH
We’ve already scheduled over
100 customer service outreach events for the 2005 – 06 traditional tax exemption filing season. For a complete listing of current community outreach events, please visit our website at www.bcpa.net. We’re also enhancing features on our website to enable you to more easily file for exemptions without having to visit any of our offices.

If you’d like to have someone from our office meet with taxpayers at an upcoming meeting of your condo/civic association (or attend other events), please contact me directly at 954-357-6904. Remember: helping Broward taxpayers is our job!

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor


September 2005

“Understanding Your TRIM Notice”

Dear Lori,

I just received this new “Do Not Pay” tax notice from your office. Why does it seem every year my taxes keep rising?

M.R., Plantation, FL

This is a question we commonly receive each year after our office mails out the Truth in Millage (“TRIM”) Notices to Broward County taxpayers. Although the statement is prepared and sent by our office, we do not set any of the tax rates listed in your TRIM Notice. Your tax rates and special assessments are actually set by various governmental bodies including the School Board, the County Commission, your local City Commission, and various special taxing districts.

The purpose of the TRIM Notice is to give taxpayers a reasonable, advance notice of proposed tax rate changes. The TRIM Notice informs you as to which taxing entity is proposing the tax change, provides you with the contact information for each entity, shows how these changes will affect your tax bill and notifies you of any upcoming public hearings scheduled on the tax changes.

It is my hope all of our taxing authorities will lower the tax rate throughout Broward County due to the increase in market values this year. Only then will they “hold the line” on the amount we all pay in property taxes. That’s why our Broward County Commission, for example will actually cut their millage rate this year (for the ninth year in a row).

If you have any questions about the assessed value of your property, please contact our office or visit our website at www.bcpa.net. The deadline by law to file a petition to challenge your assessment or add a missed exemption is September 21st, 2005.

On the Property Appraiser’s web site, it states that the deadline to file a petition challenging the assessed value is 7:00 pm on Monday, September 19th, 2005.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor

August 2005

“New Protection for Spouses of Disabled Veterans”

Dear Lori,

I am a widow of a disabled veteran. Money is tight. Enclosed is a copy of the letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs showing that my deceased husband was receiving monthly disability compensation. I would appreciate anything you could do to help?

L.M., Coconut Creek

A new Florida law took effect July 1, 2005 designed to assist military families. The law grants a property tax exemption to the un-remarried surviving spouse of a disabled former service member who, on the date of the disabled ex-service member’s death, had been married to the deceased ex-service member for at least five years.

Click Here to the Department of Veterans Affairs Current law provides a $5,000 reduction in taxable value to any resident “ex-service member” who was disabled to a degree of 10% or more while serving during a period of wartime service or by misfortune while on active duty service as a member of the United States Armed Forces, a member of the Florida National Guard, or a member of the United States Armed Forces Reserve.

Now these savings will carry over to the surviving spouse. To qualify, an applicant must produce a certificate of disability from the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and have been “honorably discharged” from military service. Approximately 4,000 Broward veterans and their spouses may qualify for this extension of benefits. For further information about this and other tax saving property exemptions, call us at 954.357.6830 or visit www.bcpa.net to learn more.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or email me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor

July 2005

“Taxpayer Fraud Alert!”

Dear Lori,

I received a letter from a local record retrieval company offering a certified copy of my recorded homeowners deed for $55.00 plus postage and handling. Is this offer legal or can I get a copy of my deed from your office?

B.C., Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Every year brings deceptive new mailings aimed at Broward County homeowners. The latest scam seems designed to trick you into believing that for a substantial fee, a company will send you a “certified deed” for your property.

The truth is that deeds and many other important documents are already available online and free at the Broward County Records Division and linked from our office’s website. Older deeds prior to 1977 and recorded property deeds utilizing social security numbers need to be ordered through the Broward County Records Division either in person, by mail, or e-mail. The county charges a nominal fee for reproduction ($1.00 a page/$1.50 certified).

Reviewing and obtaining a copy of your deed is simple. Go to www.boward.org/records and enter the public search field or www.bcpa.net and enter the property search field. Simply enter the name of the homeowner and you will be shown applicable property data enabling you to retrieve and print a copy of the recorded deed. On the bcpa.net website, simply click on the “book number”, located under the “sales history” chart to locate deed information.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas on making our office better, please drop me a note or e-mail me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor

May 2005

“Help Us Crack Down on Tax Fraud!”

Dear Lori,

My neighbor has moved to N. Carolina and has been renting his home for over one year. Your website has the home listed as having a “homestead exemption.” What is your office doing to stop this tax abuse?

C. R., Pompano Beach, Florida

Property owners who file false applications to obtain a Homestead Exemption are breaking the law and they’re making you pay more in taxes each year. Why? Because the School Board, the County Commission, your local City government, and the various taxing authorities must fund their budgets by equitably dividing the tax burden among all property owners within their jurisdictions. If someone lies to lower his or her taxes, someone else has to make up the difference.

Homestead Fraud Hotline Our office aggressively seeks to stop homestead fraud. We have formed the homestead fraud investigative unit under the Department of Professional Standards and Compliance. We work with city governments, homeowner and civic associations to help identify tax fraud. Plus, we always rely on the numerous anonymous phone and mail tips about potential Homestead fraud.

Once reported, our office will fully investigate each charge. Property owners who intentionally cheat on Homestead can be back taxed for as many as ten years, plus be required to pay a substantial penalty and annual interest. Our aggressive anti-fraud work makes tax cheats pay their fair share and that helps keep your taxes down. If you believe you have reliable information about someone engaging in Homestead fraud, please call our investigators at 954-357-6900 and we’ll check it out.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas on making our office better, please drop me a note or e-mail me at lori@bcpa.net.

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish addressed the GMCA Advisory Board on April 21st, 2005. For the content of her address and answers to questions posed by residents, Click Here. - editor

April 2005

“Understanding Online Homestead Filing!”

Dear Lori,

My husband and I filed for our 2005 Homestead online. How do we know it was received and filed in a timely manner?

K.C., Deerfield Beach, Florida

File for Your Homestead Exemption Online - CLICK HERE
CLICK TO FILE
In the past, filing for a Homestead Exemption meant a trip to either our downtown Fort Lauderdale office or one of our regional branch offices. Now you can file online at www.bcpa.net website. Just click the big yellow button near the top of our homepage to get started (or Click Here or on the File Online Graphic at right).

In 2004, approximately 5,000 taxpayers applied for homestead via the Internet. This year the number jumped to over 23,000 household filings! Since this system is new, you might want to check the status of your online homestead filing. Simply go to the website’s homepage and click the online homestead status box (or Click Here).

Your Social Security number will be used to trace the online application. Remember to try both spouses’ numbers, if married. You will see an application status box, listing the current status of the application. Please be patient, as it will take our office a few months to complete the review of all applications.

If your application is denied, a certified denial notice will be sent to you by July 1, 2005. You will be given 30 days to appeal the denial. If your application is approved, the homestead exemption will be reflected on your “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” or TRIM notice in August.

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas on making our office better, please drop me a note or e-mail me at lori@bcpa.net.

March 2005

“Missed the Homestead Filing Deadline?”

Dear Lori,

I missed the March 1 deadline for filing my Homestead Exemption Application. Is there anything I can do to get my 2005 Homestead Exemption?

B.W., Fort Lauderdale

You may file a petition for consideration by the Broward County Value Adjustment Board showing “good cause” for missing the March 1st deadline.

The petition is available at our main office, our branch offices or on-line at www.bcpa.net. Our BCPA staff will help you complete the form if you need assistance. The petition must be accompanied by a non-refundable filing fee of $15.00 made payable to the Broward County Value Adjustment Board. This provision was enacted by the Florida State Legislature and allows for exemptions to be granted to late filers with extenuating circumstances.

The petition may be filed after March 1, 2005. The absolute deadline for filing the petition is 25 days following the mailing of the notice of proposed property taxes (TRIM notice). This date usually falls in early September. You may call our office to confirm the deadline date to file the petition. We also have an outreach program that assists homebound persons with filings. Please call us at 954-357-6830 for details.

RememberYou must file a petition with the Broward County Value Adjustment Board to be considered for a late-filing application for 2005. No Exceptions!

We’re doing so much to improve this office…but I need your help. If you have any ideas on making our office even better, please drop me a note or e-mail me at lori@bcpa.net.

Sincerely,

Lori Nance Parrish
Broward County Property Appraiser

If you have a question for Lori, please call her office at 954-357-6904, email her at lori@bcpa.net or write to her at the Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301.

Galt Mile residents may contact Bob Wolfe of Inter-Governmental Media Relations at (954) 445-5732 or at media@bcpa.net for further information.

Click To Top of Page



Property Appraiser Shares Good News with Galt Mile

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Nance Parrish
B.C. PROPERTY APPRAISER
LORI NANCE PARRISH
June 30, 2013 - On June 20, 2013, Broward County Property Appraiser (BCPA) Lori Parrish sent two trusted officials from her office to address the Galt Mile Community Association (GMCA) Advisory Board. Deputy Property Appraiser Bob Wolfe, a longtime friend to the Galt Mile who handles media relations for Parrish was joined by Condominium and Cooperative Division Coordinator Maureen Morrison. Since the Advisory Board represents homeowners who fall under her purview, Morrison initially took the floor.

Parrish Report Boosts Spirits

Bob Wolfe of Property Appraiser's Office
BOB WOLFE OF BCPA
Three weeks earlier, Parrish released the 2013 Estimate of Taxable Values, a statistical compilation generated annually on June 1. Focusing on residential sales transactions that were closed between January 2, 2012 and January 1, 2013, the report lists the estimated gross taxable value of properties in each of Broward’s 31 municipalities, as well as certain neighborhoods, the County’s unincorporated area and tax districts component to the County’s assorted taxing authorities. More importantly, it compares the 2013 values to those of 2012, demonstrating the percentage change for each of the included jurisdictions.

Village of Lazy Lake
VILLAGE OF LAZY LAKE
In short, it is invaluable as a market barometer for real estate in Broward County. After summarizing the data, Morrison announced that our housing market is bouncing back. With the exception of the unincorporated area and 28 homes in the Lilliputian community of Lazy Lake, 30 of Broward’s 31 municipalities booked a healthy increase in property values. Closer scrutiny of the 8.29% decline in the unincorporated area revealed that lower values for sizable tracts owned by Florida Power & Light dragged down a modest increase in residential property values.

With $60 million added to its $25 billion tax base, Fort Lauderdale values jumped 4.36%, juiced by long delayed new construction. In Broward County, a $603 million increase in property values pumped up the countywide tax roll to $132 billion, a 4.39% improvement over the previous year that prompted the Property Appraiser to describe current home value levels as “pre-recession”. Broward recaptured 75% of its 2008 $176 billion value, when the overinflated real estate bubble exploded, precipitating the recession. Fort Lauderdale realized 80% of its 2008 $32 billion pre-recession tax roll.

Click Here to Lauderdale Lakes Website While last year’s 2012 Estimate of Taxable Values also showed a net increase, the 1.24% improvement was distilled from a snake-bit mixed bag of 2011 municipal economic snapshots. Declines suffered by eight of the County’s cities (including Dania Beach and Tamarac) were marginally offset by modest gains in the other 23. More than one-quarter of Broward’s municipalities were flirting with abbreviated work weeks, roundhouse layoffs, massive service cutbacks and unplanned job furloughs while impoverished Lauderdale Lakes faced a $9 million debt to BSO for unpaid dispatch services, a $1.4 million budget shortfall, a $30 million long term marker, $2.5 million pilfered from its CRA account to keep the lights on and imminent receivership. In contrast, this year’s data portrays a 12 month storybook regional recovery.

To avoid the acrimony suffered by most government staffers in the tax business, Morrison issued a preemptive BCPA disclaimer, noting that assessments are not only based on the valuations crunched by the Property Appraiser, but also on tax rates unilaterally set by the County, its municipalities, and other statutory taxing authorities (i.e. School Board, Hospital District, Water Management District, Children’s Services, etc.). When queried about upcoming assessments, Morrison admonished “Until these rates are set in early August and finalized at Public Hearings in September, there’s no way of knowing how the data will translate into tax bills.” However, County and City officials have been floating clues alluding to modest millage hikes.

The Millage Mystery

District Director John Newstreet of Chip LaMarca's Office
JOHN NEWSTREET - DISTRICT DIRECTOR FOR
COUNTY COMMISSIONER CHIP LAMARCA
For instance, after Broward County agreed to fund a long awaited consolidated countywide emergency dispatch service, settling an increasingly belligerent dispute with many of its major cities (including Fort Lauderdale), County Commissioners updated constituent municipalities in their respective Districts about the settlement’s financial impact. At the May 16 Galt Mile Advisory Board meeting, John Newstreet - District Director for County Commissioner Chip LaMarca - revealed plans to raise the County millage rate by .17 mils to offset an anticipated $20.3 million funding shortfall for the $42.6 million project. Newstreet said “About $21 will be added to the tax assessment for a homesteaded property with an average taxable value of $121,000.”

Mayor Jack Seiler and Commissioner Bruce Roberts
MAYOR JACK SEILER AND
COMMISSIONER BRUCE ROBERTS
City officials have also been dropping breadcrumbs suggestive of an increase. At recent Advisory Board and Presidents Council meetings, City Commissioner Bruce Roberts repeatedly commented that despite a City Commission policy to immobilize the City’s Millage rate, a slight uptick may be necessary to address debt and fuel growth critical to the recovery. Citing the Property Appraiser’s June 1 valuation report as evidence of a recovering housing market, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler surmised that we may “see a little bit of a bounce back up” in our tax bills, while waxing optimistically “I think it'll be negligible.”

After 6 years of hot-footing their way through budget gauntlets strapped to a frozen millage rate while squeezing blood from nickels to make payroll, the prospect of once again collecting enough tax revenues to painlessly pay the bills has our local public officials floating on endorphins. They are dabbling with two options. If they stick to last year’s Millage rate, the higher valuations will increase tax bills and bring in more revenues. They are also trying to determine whether local taxpayers are adequately confident in the economy to additionally cushion the budget by nudging the Millage.

Housing Bounces Back

Click Here to Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors Morrison clarified that although valuations are harvested from last year's sales activity, City and County officials draw on more recent data when configuring millage rates. As reported in the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald, median single family home prices in Broward rose 22% to $250,000 in May, as the market continued a dramatic reversal after six years of price declines that hit bottom in 2012. The May 2013 Broward median price for condos jumped 28.2%, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors.

Click Here to Greater Fort Lauderdale RealtorspAnother key market statistic is the estimated number of months it would take to deplete the entire housing inventory given current sales rates. Of particular interest to Galt Mile homeowners, this industry indicator is commonly used to determine whether we are in a buyers’ or sellers’ market. The standard benchmark for a balanced market (in which neither buyer nor seller enjoys the upper hand) is 5.5 months of inventory. Higher numbers (larger inventories) favor buyers while lower numbers (smaller inventories) favor sellers. In May 2013, Greater Realtors of Florida reported a 3.4 months’ supply of single family homes and a 4.3 months’ supply of condos, denoting a market wherein sellers squarely call the shots. After five years of buyers cherry-picking properties, the market transitioned in January of 2011; when the supply of single family homes and condos both shrunk to less than 5.5 months of inventory, passing control to sellers.

Constitutional Compost

House Speaker Dean Cannon
FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER
DEAN CANNON
former Senate President Mike Haridopolos
FORMER SENATE PRESIDENT
MIKE HARIDOPOLOS
Morrison turned her attention to several newly approved Constitutional Amendments that were a positive by-product of a moronic legislative vendetta. Since many Florida Legislators view constitutional dictums as personal playthings, former House Speaker Dean Cannon and former Senate President Mike Haridopolos became apoplectic when Florida voters passed Constitutional Amendments 5 and 6 in 2010 – which preclude lawmakers from “engineering” election outcomes by gerrymandering voting districts. Outraged by the prospect of ordinary citizens messing with legislative career paths by leveling long-twisted electoral playing fields, the legislative leaders dumped 11 proposed junk amendments into last November’s ballot.

Hoping that impatient voters would tick off “yes” or “no” based on little more than a deliberately misleading ballot title, he introduced proposals to make the Judiciary subservient to the Legislature, scotch the line separating Church and State, and reverse Constitutional privacy protections for every woman in the State of Florida, which he then blended with a series of overly generous although emotionally charged tax exemptions. At the October 18, 2012 GMCA Advisory Board meeting, BCPA Media honcho Bob Wolfe warned members that the proposed amendments were “deceptive” and the tax proposals shared one element, “They would force local governments to explode tax rates for property owners.” While handily rejecting asinine or blatantly partisan proposals and some arbitrarily generous tax gifts, voters approved several of the more reasonable targeted tax exemptions.

Morrison briefly summarized how these new Amendments affect property owners. Amendment 2 extended an existing exemption for combat-disabled seniors from Florida to all combat-disabled veterans, regardless of where they resided when entering the military. Amendment 9 entitles the surviving spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty (volunteer law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics) to the same total homestead property tax exemption currently available to surviving spouses of Florida military veterans who die from service-connected causes on active duty. A bit more of a stretch is Amendment 11, which authorizes cities and counties to grant full homestead property tax relief to low-income seniors who have lived in a home valued at up to $250,000 for at least 25 years. Since the relief is contingent on supermajority approval by both the City and County, it is unlikely to become effective until after 2014 - if ever.

Ludicrous Legislation

District 28 Senator Nancy Detert
SEN. NANCY DETERT
Opening the floor to questions, Morrison and Wolfe were asked how the 2013 legislative session impacted tax exemptions. One Advisory Board member inquired about the fate of legislation he referred to as The Mercenary Snitch Bill. Filed by Sarasota Senator Nancy Detert, Senate Bill 182 provided for two vehicles conceived to deter abuse of Florida’s Homestead Exemption. The bill sought to cultivate whistleblowers by placing a bounty on Homestead cheats - either “double dippers” who claim homestead status for two or more properties in different jurisdictions by fraudulently characterizing each one as their primary residence or scofflaws who rent their homesteaded properties without a military active duty exemption or explicit approval from the Property Appraiser.

A second section of the bill required Condominium and Cooperative associations to annually submit to the County Property Appraiser by January 31st “A list of the units that were rented in the previous year rather than occupied by the owner.” While forcing associations to generate uncompensated work product, the bill failed to provide them with liability protection. For instance, if the Property Appraiser aggressively pursued the owner of a unit mistakenly identified by the association as having been rented, the association could face costly damages. Even if the information were accurate, since scofflaws at risk for sizable sums in back taxes, penalties, and interest are often predisposed to slug out a settlement in court, their mandated involvement would threaten to place associations at ground zero in a legal maelstrom they would otherwise observe from the sidelines.

Click to BCPA Homestead Fraud web page Although they would have liked to get rental lists from “associations turned snitch”, most Property Appraisers agreed that the whistleblower bounty was counterproductive. Since an ensuing flood of marginally credible “tips” would have to be individually investigated by the Appraiser’s office, several testifying Property Appraisers told the Senate Committee on Community Affairs that it would overwhelm their limited resources while producing few viable leads. Expressing familiarity with the bill, Bob Wolfe fielded the question, explaining that the bill failed. In fact, it never made it past the Community Affairs Committee, where it was marooned on the Calendar through Sine Die (the end of the session).

St. Augustine Senator John Thrasher
ST. AUGUSTINE SENATOR JOHN THRASHER
Another Advisory Board member asked about a bill that would enable any Florida resident to rent a homesteaded property for up to 30 days each year. Declaring that Homestead Exemptions were never meant to be applicable to rental properties, Wolfe disparaged Senate Bill 342 sponsored by Senator John Thrasher as a “bad joke”. He added that the short-term rental bill was approved because “Thrasher is a former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, and a close ally of Senate President Don Gaetz.”

St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth
ST. JOHNS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR
DENNIS W. HOLLINGSWORTH
Wolfe explained that the bill was a favor from Thrasher – who represents Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns Counties – to St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis Hollingsworth, a Thrasher supporter. Ponte Vedra Beach, south of Jacksonville in St. Johns County, is home to the headquarters of the PGA Tour and hosts The Players Championship. Golf enthusiasts, links groupies and media personnel who annually swarm the renowned TPC Sawgrass Golf Courses during The Players Championship and other PGA events need temporary room and board. Thrasher drafted the legislation because local homeowners who want to annually rent space to PGA golfers or paparazzi covering PGA events feared that St. Johns Property Appraiser Sharon Outland would shred their Homestead Exemptions. Seizing an opportunity to share some local media glow, Hollingsworth and Thrasher cooked up this turkey.

Click Here to The Players Championship Wolfe commented “The new law is virtually useless for the purposes that most owners – or tenants – lease a property, although the 30-day lease terms are perfect for siphoning a few bucks from the golf tournament.” While facilitating lucrative month-long rentals for a handful of St. Johns homeowners, enacting this local patronage project miffed Property Appraisers across the State, who agree with Wolfe that the geocentric measure solely benefits the sponsor’s upstate constituents.

Tangible Personal Property

An association official asked Morrison and Wolfe how residential personal property is treated when a unit is leased to a tenant. Wolfe explained how items that would be ordinarily be considered household goods by an owner living on the property - such as stoves, refrigerators and furniture - become taxable Tangible Personal Property (TPP) which must be reported each year. Even if the owner-landlord fails to file a tax return reflecting rental income, the Property Appraiser will assess tangible personal property by making a “best estimate” based on similar equipment and assets owned by other businesses that lease comparable properties. The assessment will also include a 25% penalty for non-filing, incentivizing owner-landlords to annually file a timely return.

Morrison added that owners who disagree with the assessed TPP value – or any other valuation listed on their TRIM notices - can provide additional information to the Property Appraiser demonstrating that the appraised value differs from the market value of the property. If still dissatisfied, property owners have 25 days from the August mailing date of the TRIM Notice to file a petition with the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB). The actual deadline - which is always in mid-September of each year - is indicated on the TRIM notice.

Beach Community Center
BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
Finally, Wolfe reminded the Advisory Board that the Property Appraiser sponsors monthly customer service outreach events for Galt Mile residents. BCPA staffers – including a Deputy Property Appraiser – will assist area residents with Homestead, Senior, and other exemption applications, as well as answer assessment questions in the Beach Community Center at 3351 NE 33rd Avenue from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM on the final Friday of each month.

BCPA Contact Info

  • To contact BCPA Condominium and Cooperative Division Supervisor Maureen Morrison, call 954-357-6832 or email her at mmorrison@bcpa.net

  • To contact exemption specialist and BCPA Media point man Bob Wolfe, call 954-357-6871 or email him at media@bcpa.net

  • For questions about scheduled outreach events, contact Nicoleta Jones at 954-357-5579 or send an email to njones@bcpa.net

  • For Customer Service, call Assistant Property Appraiser Kim Cardone at 954-357-6830 or send her an email at kcardone@bcpa.net

  • To rat out friends and neighbors, call BCPA fraud-buster Ron Cacciatore at 954-357-6900 or email him at rcacciatore@bcpa.net

  • For the Big Cheese, call Lori Parrish at 954-357-6904 or send her an email at lori@bcpa.net

 

Surprisingly, they will respond – even Parrish! Click Here to check through the BCPA website. Disabled? Have trouble walking? Call Customer Service Manager Kelly Brown at 954-357-6035 or email her at kbrown@bcpa.net to arrange for a FREE Homebound Outreach visit by a bona fide Deputy Property Appraiser - in your home! That’s right. These guys deliver!!!

Click To Top of Page


 Lori Parrish June 2010 Update

Property Appraiser Bodes Better Days

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Nance Parrish
B.C. PROPERTY APPRAISER
LORI NANCE PARRISH
July 8, 2010 - On June 17, 2010, Broward County Property Appraiser
Lori Parrish addressed the Galt Mile Community Association Advisory Board. A no-nonsense, straight talking public servant, Parrish is a working class rarity. After serving 4 years on the Broward County School Board and another 16 years on the Broward County Commission, Parrish decided to use business skills honed operating the Swap Shop on Sunrise Boulevard and The Millennium Hollywood’s City Place by successfully running for the Broward Property Appraiser’s seat in 2004 (re-elected in 2008). The job wasn’t what she expected. Before she could begin collecting, counting and categorizing the county’s money, she had to clean out a rat’s nest of nepots and no-shows inherited from her predecessors.

Former Broward County Property Appraiser William Markham
FORMER B.C. PROP. APPRAISER
WILLIAM “Bill” MARKHAM
After serving as Broward Property Appraiser for 36 years, William Markham’s passing from a massive heart attack led to the interim appointment of Rocky Rodriguez, a political placeholder who treated the office as Markham’s shrine, leaving it exactly as he found it.
Rocky Rodriguez with Lori Parrish
ROCKY RODRIGUEZ WITH
BCPA - LORI PARRISH
Grateful winning politicians often dispense government jobs as a reward for campaign boosters and a palliative to dysfunctional friends and relatives. Since their skills and qualifications are often limited to carrying a bag or an envelope from location “A” to location “B”, these people are preferably deposited into positions involving difficult-to-track field work. The Property Appraiser’s office was the ideal outlet for these political discards.

New BCPA Staff all Earned CFEs to Qualify for their Positions
NEW BCPA STAFF EARNED CFEs
Over his prolonged tenure, Markham collected a sizable staff of phantom employees. No one understood why the 81 Appraisers listed on Bill Markham’s roll couldn’t keep pace with the work load. When Parrish took the reins, she discovered that there were actually only 18 still alive and showing up for work. Prior to 2005, calling the Property Appraiser’s office was often an exercise in futility. If someone actually answered the call, they would politely ask that you hold on for a minute before hanging up the phone. In addition to the defective communications and rampant absenteeism, the department’s fraud unit was operated by one staffer on a part-time basis.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser Locations Once elected, Parrish cleaned house. She rebalanced the overwhelmingly white male staff and installed the checks and balances necessary for efficient oversight. To enhance communications, both in the office and with “clients”, she required that staffers respond immediately to phone, fax or email requests while morphing the BCPA web site from a bureaucratic marketing tool into a productive online office. She also expanded the Community Outreach Program. Instead of limiting the local availability of consulting staffers to the “exemption filing” season, the Outreach Program provides year-round assistance to property owners. These changes were so effective that Parrish was able to close two of the four BCPA offices without missing a beat. The Outreach Program will assume additional significance when budget cuts close the remaining satellite office in Plantation on September 24th, leaving only the Government Center-based main office (115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111) to house BCPA operations.

She began replacing the antique computer system – which was roughly as useful as a Ouija Board – mothballing archaic software originally developed by Commodore for the “Pong” game - and subsequently upgraded by Atari as a platform for “Space Invaders”. Today’s cell phones offer exponentially greater computing power. By replacing Markham’s window dressing fraud program with a fully functional unit, Parrish recaptured $3 billion in assessed valuations from properties fraudulently exempted from the tax rolls, raking in $20 million in “found” revenues.

Bob Wolfe of BCPA
Bob Wolfe
Accompanied by her Director of Media and Governmental Relations, Bob Wolfe, Parrish opened with a review of county property values. Everyone snapped to attention when she said that sales trending from late 2009 and the first five months of 2010 strongly support the conclusion that “we may have finally seen the end of this catastrophic real estate crash.” Basing her assessment on valuation statistics compiled through June 1st, she stated that after bottoming out a few months ago, Broward sales prices had since leveled off. She also reported mildly encouraging economic signs.

May 2010 Broward Foreclosures
MAY 2010 BROWARD FORECLOSURES
Parrish observed that the number of properties in foreclosure is down significantly compared to last year, along with the MLS real estate inventory of available properties. The number of filings in South Florida fell 49 percent in May from a year ago (filings dropped 55 percent in Broward County and 36 percent in Palm Beach County). However, the value of certain distressed individual properties or isolated neighborhood pockets may be subject to further declines. Since condo values traditionally take longer to stabilize and recover than single family homes and commercial properties, she warned that certain condo communities may also experience modest dips in value.

Click to 2010 Estimate of Taxable Values for Broward as of June 1, 2010 The 2010 assessments are based on property values as of January 1, 2010, as measured by qualified sales recorded during the January 2, 2009 through January 1, 2010 assessment period (with greatest weight given to sales in the 4th quarter of 2009). The 2011 assessments will reflect the prices realized during this calendar year. Next year’s tax roll will therefore remain relatively flat (i.e., similar to the 2010 tax roll values). Since the positive indicators bode hardening values and prices for 2011, these improvements won’t be reflected in the tax rolls until 2012.

Click to Broward County Revenue Collection Division Using a laptop and a projector, Parrish displayed the 2010 Estimate of Taxable Values for Broward as of June 1, 2010. Although the Property Appraiser doesn’t officially submit a Certification of tax roll Values to ad valorem taxing authorities, special assessment districts, and the Department of Revenue until July 1st, the June 1st estimate is virtually identical to the final numbers used to calculate the rollback rate and a proposed millage rate. The only possible changes may issue from correcting errors discovered during the 30 day period prior to July 1st.

According to her statistics, taxable values for the overall county dropped an average 12.1%, although the numbers vary for each municipality, neighborhood and taxing authority district. Valuation declines in the County’s largest cities are 10.6% in Fort Lauderdale, 11.8% in Hollywood and 14.7% in Pompano Beach. To better demonstrate that the county statistics blend a wide range of valuations, Parrish pointed out that Davie and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea only saw a 7.4% drop while North Lauderdale values plunged 24.3%.

Parrish demonstrated some of the useful tools available on the BCPA website. Broward property owners can file for a Homestead Exemption online. To file for other exemptions, simply download the appropriate form from the forms page, complete the application and send it in. Using the Property Search feature, anyone can research the valuation history of any Broward property, including recorded notices. The website’s Community Outreach Calendar details the locations, time and place for 12 months of outreach events.

Beach Community Center
BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
Prior to opening the floor to questions, the Property Appraiser ran through some locally scheduled events, stating “A BCPA staffer will assist Galt Mile residents with Homestead, Senior and other property tax exemptions at the Beach Community Center on Friday, June 25, 2010 from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM. Over the summer, events are scheduled for Fridays at 10 AM on July 30, August 27 and September 24, 2010.”

When asked if a new property owner could still apply for a 2010 Homestead Exemption, she answered “To late file for 2010, you must be on the title and the property must have been your permanent residence as of January 1, 2010. The deadline is September 20, 2010. If you purchased your home this year, you inherited the seller's exemption status for the current tax year.” Parrish reminded Advisory Board members that new homebuyers are eligible for an $8000 Federal credit if buying their first home or if they can document having lived for 5 consecutive years in their previous primary residence.

Trim Notice
TRIM NOTICE
Several members asked why they saw small a valuation increase on their last TRIM notices despite a decline in the property’s value. Parrish explained that under Florida law, a homestead “recapture” rule might cause some taxable values to rise even when the overall market value drops versus the previous year. Parrish said “If you are Homesteaded and your ‘Save Our Homes’ value is less than the market value as of January 1, your overall assessed value is increased each year - up to the 3% annual cap - until it eventually reaches the same amount as the market value.” The Department of Revenue set this year’s “Save Our Homes” (SOH) rate at 2.7%. Parrish added “Roughly 182,000 Broward homeowners will experience the recapture effects of this law - mostly owners who purchased and homesteaded their properties before 2003.”

Click to Department of Revenue Given the growing impact of foreclosures on associations, members asked Parrish how foreclosures and short sales affect a buyer’s prospective exemptions. Parrish said that the Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) issued an advisory opinion that foreclosures generally should not be used for assessment purposes. However, Property Appraisers may qualify a foreclosure sale if the property was listed for sale on the MLS open market and the property is in decent condition. Using the same criteria, Property Appraisers can similarly qualify short sales.

Click to Broward County Records Division Public Search Returning to the laptop and projector, Parrish said “You can search for recorded notices of foreclosure, liens, lis pendens, release of liens, court judgments, and various other documents on the Broward County Records Division website.” While punching up an example, she explained “By using the ‘Category’ feature on their search page, you can limit your search to foreclosures or liens.”

A member asked whether unit owners can rent their units without losing their Homestead exemptions. Quoting from the governing statute, Parrish responded “Section 196.061 of the Florida Statutes says that rental of a dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes ‘shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead.’ Ordinarily, only active duty military personnel are exempt.” Parrish then described a universal yet little known exception to this rule.

She said “Under a hardship situation, we will allow a once-in-a-lifetime exemption, provided the entire rental term falls within a single calendar year.” To clarify the type of hardship considered for this exception, Parrish said, “For example, if someone was hospitalized from March through October and wanted to rent their home, we would allow a one-time exception to the abandonment rule. However, if the unit was rented for only a single day from December 31st through January 1st, the exemption would be lost. The rental must end before January 1st and can only be used once during any property owner's lifetime.” Parrish recommended that unit owners interested in exploring this one-time exception contact her office.

GMCA President Pio Ieraci
GMCA PRESIDENT
PIO IERACI
Before Parrish wrapped up her presentation, GMCA President Pio Ieraci expressed concern about a notice sent to Galt Mile associations by the Property Appraiser’s office requesting that they turn over any information about unit owners that may have improperly applied for a Homestead Exemption. Pio said “I am disturbed by this request. Not only are we being asked to do your job, I believe that it’s wrong to violate the confidentiality of our members’ information.”

When discussed during a previous Advisory Board meeting, the Board members decided against cooperating with this request. While fraud costs everyone money, it was deemed inappropriate for associations to disclose confidential information about their members unless withholding that information placed anyone in danger. To preclude inadvertent compliance with this request by some unsuspecting association office employee, it was also suggested that each association should instruct their administrative personnel to turn over such requests to the Board.

Lori Parrish Addresses GMCA
LORI ADDRESSES GMCA
Parrish answered, “I understand that that you may be hesitant to inform on your neighbors or reveal information you consider confidential. The letter is simply a request for your help. I hope you understand why I am so passionate about fraudulent exemptions. These people are increasing the tax bill for every other Broward property owner, not unlike those association members that default on their assessments and force their neighbors to assume their obligations.” She emphasized that this type of fraud is a strategically planned annual rip-off, not a desperate knee-jerk reaction to current financial pressures. Particularly irksome to Parrish is the fact that most violators can well afford the assessment. Parrish said “These crooks couldn’t care less that they are hurting every one of their neighbors. When I see the pain suffered by taxpayers struggling to scrape by this economic catastrophe, I don’t have much patience for those who deliberately add to their burden - and yours - and mine!”

Homestead Fraud Hotline Hoping to better illustrate the moral dilemma precipitated by her request, Ieraci retorted, “Lori - we are all very grateful for the improvements you’ve engineered in the Property Appraiser’s Office. We all support your efforts to stamp out the fraud that costs us $millions every year. Although I personally agree that fraudulent exemptions are despicable, I believe that Board members are obligated to safeguard confidential information about the association’s members.” In what appeared to be a duel for the last word, the Property Appraiser leveled a response that was pure Parrish, “I understand, Pio, nobody likes a rat.”

FYIA few weeks later, Parrish’s mildly encouraging economic indicators grew a bit brighter. When the July 1st Tax Roll Values were released, the 12.1% decline in county-wide valuations contracted to 11.7%. The estimated 10.6% decrease in Fort Lauderdale property values was revised to 10%. After these July 1st valuations are certified by Parrish, they provide guidance for every taxing authority struggling to find a millage rate that will fund their objectives without fomenting a taxpayer rebellion. Perhaps Parrish is right... maybe things are looking up!


Click To Top of Page


Property Apprasier Extends Office Hours for Trim Season

BCPA Offices also to open for 3 Saturdays to help working families.

Bob Wolfe of BCPA
Bob Wolfe
August 13, 2009 - On August 6th, Bob Wolfe from the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office sent this information to Galt Mile residents considering requesting assistance from the Property Appraiser to understand components of their
TRIM notices. The basis for upcoming assessments, the TRIM notice is often the key to successfully adjusting potential tax indebtedness. READ ON! – [Editor]

Fort Lauderdale - Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish announced special office hours to assist taxpayers during the “Truth-in-Millage” (TRIM) season of August and September.

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
“Our office is mailing over 823,000 notices of proposed taxes and to better accommodate the schedules of working families, our offices will be open additional hours to assist taxpayers,” said Parrish. The Main Office located in Room 111 of the Broward County Governmental Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue, is always open weekdays (M - F) from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM. - but we are extending hours and will stay open until 7:00 PM on weekdays during September 8 - 18, 2009.

The Main Office and the Plantation Office will be open for special weekend hours of 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on three Saturdays: August 22, August 29, and September 12. All commercial and tangible personal property valuation questions must be directed to the Main Office. Residential and condominium appraisers are assigned to both offices during this period.

The West Broward Branch Office is located in Suite 111-A at 1 North University Drive in Plantation and is open weekdays from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

The TRIM or proposed property tax notice is designed to inform taxpayers of their 2009 property assessments, exemptions and proposed tax rates for each governmental entity. These notices inform taxpayers of their rights as to both challenging property assessments and speaking out at various governmental budget hearings. Any taxpayer who seeks to challenge a property tax assessment by petition or late file for a qualified property tax exemption must do so before September 18, according to rules set by the Broward County Value Adjustment Board.

For further information on assessment, exemption and valuation appeal process, please visit www.bcpa.net or call 954-357-6830.

Contact Bob Wolfe of Inter-Governmental Media Relations at (954) 445-5732 or at media@bcpa.net for further information.

Bob Wolfe
Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office

Click To Top of Page


Property Appraiser Lori Parrish Announces

Special Saturday Office Hours

Bob Wolfe of BCPA
Bob Wolfe
April 8, 2008 - On April 7th, Bob Wolfe from the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office sent this information to assist Galt Mile residents who may have missed thr March 3rd deadline for submitting Homestead and other exemption applications. While there is a process available to apply for these exemptions after the deadline, it is somewhat complicated. Such residents may want to consider requesting assistance from the Property Appraiser to prepare the necessary
petition for late filing. The Property Appraiser is also helping residents take advantage of the recently passed Save our Homes portability provision. Additionally, as part of the Outreach Program, a representative from the Property Appraiser's office is scheduled to help Galt Mile residents at the Beach Community Center (3351 NE 33rd Avenue) from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM on April 25th. READ ON! – [Editor]

Fort Lauderdale - In an effort to provide convenient and accessible service to residents, Broward County Property Appraiser, Lori Parrish, has announced that the Property Appraiser's Fort Lauderdale and Plantation offices will be open 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 12.

“Our office will be open additional hours in order to better accommodate busy working families,” Parrish explained. “Bring your children when you file for Homestead ... we've even got a place for them to play when you visit our offices!” Parrish added.

Documents required to file a Homestead Exemption include:

  • A current Florida Driver's License or Florida Identification Card, and

  • A current Florida Voter Registration Card or Declaration of Domicile

  • Non-US citizens must also provide proof of permanent residency

The passage of Amendment One (Portability) on the January 29th ballot means Homesteaded owners may be eligible to transfer prior Save Our Homes benefit to a new Homestead in Broward County. If eligible, portability of your Save Our Homes assessment could save you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars in taxes! Ask us how you can apply.

Widows, widowers, permanently disabled persons, veterans with a service-connected disability, and qualified senior citizens on fixed-incomes may be entitled to additional tax-saving exemptions.

Did you miss March 3rd deadline to file for a 2008 Homestead? Don't worry. Florida law allows you to late file through September 19, 2008. Our office accepts late Homestead applications and helps taxpayers prepare the required late filing petitions.

For further information please visit our website at www.bcpa.net or call 954-357-6830.

The Property Appraiser maintains two ofices. They are located at:

  • Ft. Lauderdale Office - 115 S. Andrews Ave, Room 111 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

  • Plantation Office - 1 N. University Drive, Suite 111A Plantation, FL 33324

Bob Wolfe
Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office

Click To Top of Page


 GMCA Appraises Lori Parrish

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Nance Parrish
B.C. PROPERTY APPRAISER
LORI NANCE PARRISH
April 30, 2005 - On April 21st,
Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish reviewed her first 100 days in office during a luncheon meeting for the Galt Mile Community Association’s Advisory Board. Accompanied by her Director of Media and Governmental Relations, Bob Wolfe, Ms. Parrish painted a picture of a department in dire need of reorganization. Accordingly, she developed an effective organizational chart. Her “team” is headed by Chief of Staff Henry Templeton. Bob Wolfe works for Administration chief and former campaign manager Ron Gunzberger along with Community Outreach coordinator Steven Cisneros. Ronald Cacciatore, a former Broward Sheriff’s Office detective, heads Training, Investigations and Homestead Verification. Ms. Parrish told Board members that the condo and coop honcho is Robert Scherer, who works in Joe Zdanowicz’s Real Property Department.

Rocky Rodriguez with Lori Parrish
ROCKY RODRIGUEZ WITH
NEW BCPA - LORI PARRISH
Upon taking the reins of Property Appraiser from Rocky Rodriguez, Parrish described the Department as needing an attitude adjustment. She said that many department personnel didn’t take their jobs seriously. Property Appraisal Departments are often a repository for political “repayment”. In exchange for “helping out” in a tough campaign, a grateful office-winner might reward boosters with a government job, preferably involving difficult-to-track field work. As such, a new Property Appraiser’s first order of business is to separate the “wheat from the chaff”. The department was plagued with “no-shows”. Parrish credits tough Department of Tangible Personal Property chief Jack Gruber with curing the rampant absenteeism.

Apparently, there is a critical shortage of Property Appraisers. William Markham was the longtime Broward Property Appraiser whose untimely passing led to the interim appointment of Rocky Rodriguez. Ms. Parrish explained that while she found 81 Appraisers listed on Bill Markham’s roll, there were actually only 18. Parrish said, “The Department needs 20 new Property Appraisers immediately.” To help rebuild a shaky relationship with constituent-consumers, she insisted that Property Appraisers answer their own emails and phone calls. “For the department to be effective,” Parrish explained, “we need to have excellent communication both with our constituents and one another.” Parrish continued, “I don’t allow locked doors,” illustrating her policy of “openness” and “easy access” to and between appraisers. She also confronted what appeared to be disparate treatment of women and minorities. For filling the same job title, they would stereotypically receive less remuneration and/or opportunities for promotion. To fulfill a promise made following her January 4th swearing in, she is intent on obliterating the discriminatory “glass ceiling” and racial barriers, the traditional byproducts of racial and sexual politics.

Homestead Fraud Hotline Parrish stressed the importance of the Department’s fraud unit. When initially reviewing her available resources, she was surprised to find that the fraud unit was operated by two staffers on a part-time basis. Their casual attention to tax fraud was reflected in the units’ disappointing productivity. During Parrish’s first 17 days, she developed 131 cases. Her first 60 days yielded $12 million in fraud related recoveries. Fraud represents an enormous potential offset to our property tax obligation. Her Department is empowered to go back ten years, adding 50% penalties and 10% interest to cases of illegal evasion. From fraud alone, Parrish expects to harvest “a half $billion currently buried in the tax rolls.” Property Appraiser Parrish anticipates that her crusade will bear fruit by next year, stating, “The tax rolls will be accurate by June of 2006.”

File for Your Homestead Exemption Online - CLICK HERE
CLICK TO FILE
Another major obstacle Parrish faces stems from the Department’s technological deficiencies. “We were battling with antiquated computer and phone systems.” Her Department of Information Systems head is Erik Reed. She explained, “We plan on taking advantage of the internet to provide improved access to services. Residents can now apply for exemptions online. Our web site (www.bcpa.net) is multi-lingual, communicating in English, Spanish and Creole.” Parrish pointed out that, all the forms used by the department can be downloaded from the web site.”

Inviting questions from the Board, Lori responded to an inquiry from Presidents Council Chair Pio Ieraci. Addressing the tax impact of skyrocketing property values, Ieraci inquired about the department’s use of actual sales prices to form the basis for determining tax obligations. He asked if they would, “create a formula that residents might use to estimate the tax consequence” of the market reappraisal inherent to newly purchased properties. Acknowledging an inequitable drawback to the area’s superheated real estate market, Parrish answered, “Unfortunately, these can only be accomplished on a case by case basis. Each property must be evaluated on its own merits.” She pointed out that the appraised value for tax purposes is not the same as the appraisals used by lenders to evaluate collateral equity. She suggested that he contact Bob Scherer, the condo and coop specialist in the Real Property Department.

Florida Representative Carl J. Domino
Rep. Carl J. Domino
Florida Senator Mike Haridopolos
Sen Mike Haridopolos
GMCA Secretary Eric Berkowitz asked Ms. Parrish if she planned on, “supporting portability of the Save our Homes protection afforded to homesteaded properties.” The 1992 Save our Homes amendment limits increases in the “just value” of a property to the lesser of the percentage change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) or 3 percent. Should an “empty-nester” decide to move to smaller, more affordable, surroundings, the protection evaporates. Berkowitz noted that legislative attempts to achieve limited portability have come up short, indicating the need for “a high profile champion to authoritatively address opponents’ concerns.” Ms. Parrish responded, “People were being trapped in their homes by the huge tax consequence suffered when attempting to downsize.” Parrish claimed, “I was the first to describe the carry-forward of ‘Save our Homes’ protection as ‘portability’. Representative Carl J. Domino is currently sponsoring a bill to submit a Constitutional Amendment for approval to the Florida electorate that would, upon favorable disposition, make the Save our Homes protection portable.” Domino’s bill, House Joint Resolution (HJR) 43, subtracts the difference between the appraised and market values of the old homesteaded property in the year of sale from the new property’s first year tax obligation. A similar bill filed last year, HJR 417, died in the Committee on State Administration on April 30, 2004, the last day of the legislative session. Senator Mike Haridopolos advanced similar Joint Resolutions in the Senate; Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 2300 was last year’s entry and SJR 894 is currently filed. Parrish doesn’t hold high hopes for the bills’ passage, primarily due to legislators’ misconceptions about the possible negative impacts on local budgets. Ms. Parrish termed Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary R. Nikolits as an ally in this struggle.

Gary R. Nikolits
Palm Beach Property
Appraiser Gary Nikolits
Advisory Board member Dr. Jim Comis from Ocean Summit inquired about, “the affects of leasing on the Homestead Exemption.” Florida law affirms that you are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. If you rent the property, you cannot claim the $25,000 exemption. To the general surprise of most Board members, Parrish clarified that there was “a one-time exemption to this requirement.” Within a single calendar year, the property may be leased once during the owner’s lifetime without jeopardizing its Homestead status. By way of example, Parrish said, “a homeowner on vacation may rent the unit while abroad and still retain homestead protection. However, this can only be exercised one time and the exception ends on December 31st.”

In addition to political savvy accumulated on the Broward Board of County Commissioners and business acumen gleaned working for the huge “Swap Shop” on Sunrise Boulevard, Lori Parrish brings explosive energy to her new calling. If successful at locating and infusing the missing “fraud dollars” back into the system and acting as “champion” for “Save our Homes” portability, she will substantially lessen our tax bite. Despite the Advisory Boards’ wide divergence of political leanings, a majority of attending members left the meeting feeling that Lori Parrish is the right person in the right job at the right time. Given the tax ramifications of Broward’s high-flying real estate market and the current anti-tax political climate, this confluence of opinion is remarkable.

Click To Top of Page


 Trapped  



Save our Homes

Former Broward County Property Appraiser William Markham
Former B.C. Prop. Appraiser
WILLIAM “Bill” MARKHAM
September 2, 2004 - While few experiences are as disorienting and stressful as moving to a new home, fixed income homesteaders have encountered an additional layer of anxiety; the product of an unanticipated glitch in legislation that many Florida residents consider to be a blessing. William Markham, the late Broward County Property Appraiser, fought two watershed battles for Broward homeowners. The first, and most notable, was his consistent support of the
Homestead Exemption, a substantial property tax deduction available to Florida homeowners who claim their property as a primary residence. He struggled to elevate the exemption to its present $25,000 level. Of greater import and impact is the significant protection afforded to Florida residents by the Save our Homes legislation. Markham spearheaded the battle to amend the Florida Constitution with this landmark tax umbrella. He considered both as “works in progress”.

A benefit restricted to homeowners claiming a homestead exemption, the 1992 Save our Homesamendment limits increases in the “just value” of a property to the lesser of the percentage change in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) or 3 percent. A 1965 Supreme Court decision defining the “Just Value” of a property as its “market value” provides the basis for our system of “property value-based” assessments. The “Save our Homes” amendment shields us from the tax ramifications of skyrocketing property values. As currently applied to South Florida’s burgeoning real estate market, $4.9 billion in taxable “just value” has been saved by Broward County taxpayers utilizing the amendment’s protective cap. Pensioners who serendipitously experienced a doubling or tripling of their home’s market value avoid the crushing tax consequence that would normally place their assessment expense beyond their resources. This insulation from erratic market surges rescued the homes of thousands of Broward residents who might otherwise have been forced to relocate. This benefit manifested an unexpected drawback, a trap.

An unintended consequence of the “Save our Homes” amendment arises from its lack of portability. The protection only persists as long as the homestead claimant remains in the existing property. Should an “empty-nester” decide to move to smaller, more affordable, surroundings, the protection evaporates. On January 1st of the following year, the new home is exposed to the full tax consequence of its “just” or market value, yielding situations wherein the resident’s assessment is often double or triple that of their prior address, despite its being half the size or value! Characterized as the “moving penalty”, this insufficiency in the amendment has literally trapped thousands of Floridians who would have moved but for the attendant horrific tax punishment. Addressing this “Save our Homes” inequity, along with his ongoing battle to increase the homestead exemption proportionately to rising property values, remained on Bill Markham’s plate upon his passing.

There have been several legislative attempts at correcting this oversight during the 2004 session. Joint Resolution HJR 417 in the Florida Statehouse by Representative Carl J. Domino (Co-sponsored by Allen; Baxley; Brandenburg; Cantens; Davis, M.; Green; Harrell; Holloway; Kottkamp; Mayfield; Meadows; Planas; Rubio) would have squarely cured the problem. Unfortunately, it died in the Committee on State Administration on the last day of the 2004 legislative session - April 30th.

Florida Senator Mike Haridopolos
Sen. Mike Haridopolos
Senator Mike Haridopolos (R - Melbourne) advanced a similar Joint Resolution in the Senate, SJR 2300. The text included, “When a person sells his or her homestead property within this state and within one year purchases another property and establishes such property as homestead property, the newly established homestead property shall be initially assessed at less than just value, as provided by general law. The difference between the new homestead property’s just value and its assessed value in the first year the homestead is established may not exceed the difference between the previous homestead’s just value and its assessed value in the year of sale. In addition, to be assessed as provided in this paragraph, the assessed value of the new homestead must equal or exceed the assessed value of the previous homestead. Thereafter, the homestead shall be assessed as provided herein.”

The legislation closes with a mandate to place a Constitutional Amendment on the November 2004 ballot to accomplish the same objective. It states, “CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT - ARTICLE VII, SECTION 4 - TAXATION; HOMESTEAD PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS - Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to provide for assessing at less than just value property purchased within 1 year after a sale of homestead property and established as new homestead property, limited by the difference between the new homestead property’s just value and its assessed value in the first year the homestead is established, which may not exceed the difference between the previous homestead’s just value and its assessed value in the year of sale and the new homestead property's assessed value must equal or exceed the old homestead property’s assessed value.” On March 29th, the Joint Resolution was “laid on the table” following an unfavorable vote in the Senate Committee on Comprehensive Planning.

Florida House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Jeffrey D.
Rep. Jeff Kottkamp
Representative Jeffrey Kottkamp (R - Cape Coral) sponsored Joint Resolution HJR 1603 that “proposes amendments to ss. 4 and 6, Art. VII of the State Constitution to limit the assessed value of property purchased and used as homestead property after a sale of homestead property to the just value of the homestead property sold, subject to specific requirements, and to increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000.” His Joint Resolution also died on April 30, 2004, this time in the House Subcommittee on Local Affairs.

These legislators had the right idea. Remediation of the “moving penalty” is a win-win scenario from any perspective. The sponsoring legislators would attain near-hero status. The municipalities, while seemingly sacrificing an immediate boost in certain individual tax valuations, would more than offset the lost revenue from the substantial and sustained increase in transaction taxes and documentary tax revenue. City and County conditional revenue losses are largely theoretical, as the sales in question wouldn’t occur anyway absent the tax relief afforded by a portability amendment. In fact, the restraint on Real Estate sales imposed by the “moving penalty” threat has created a reservoir of potential sellers. Upon being immunized by the appropriate legislation (or Constitutional Amendment) from the crippling tax repercussions, the first wave of accumulated sellers would create a revenue explosion for the cities. Thousands of homeowners desirous of downsizing because of divorce, children moving out, change of employment or school, etc. would inflate city coffers with windfall transaction tax revenues. Once the 12-year inventories of stockpiled sellers (from the amendment’s 1992 inception to date) execute their transactions, the cities would continue to benefit from the thousands of additional sales each year that the moving penalty would have otherwise discouraged. In addition to the widespread potential sales stemming from lifestyle changes, the recent South Florida Real Estate boom has created a plethora of residents who have seen their properties double and triple in value. The opportunity to transform their newly-inflated property assets into more modest living arrangements plus a substantial nest egg has further heated the high-flying market. Realtors would likewise experience a surge in sales from the cumulative reserve of fixed-income residents heretofore unwilling or unable to contend with a doubling of their property taxes.

Florida Representative Carl J. Domino
Rep. Carl J. Domino
If this amendment is such a panacea, why did its 2004 legislative incarnations die in committee or on the calendar? Simple - it suffers from obscurity. While homeowners are generally grateful for the “Save our Homes” protection after reading their annual TRIM (Truth in Millage) notice, few understand its terms and conditions. Fewer still realize that its current lack of portability is an inequitable oversight that can be cured. The highly publicized and much heralded Homestead Exemption yields an annual savings of $650 for the average claimant. The “Save our Homes” amendment annually averages $1200 in savings - almost twice that of the more well known Homestead Exemption - and the savings grow every year! As explained by Joint Resolution HJR 417 sponsor Representative Carl J. Domino (R-Palm Beach Gardens), “Right now, many folks on the housing ladder are stuck in their current homesteads. This is clearly a measure that voters, and hence politicians, are going to want to support.” That is...if they knew about it! The answer to this quandary is uncomplicated - the amendment needs a champion.

J.R. Markham - Candidate for Broward County Property Appraiser
J.R. MARKHAM
Broward County Commissioner Lori Nance Parrish
B.C. COMMISSIONER
LORI NANCE PARRISH
An ideal candidate to oversee this effort would be the next occupant of the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office. The BCPA’s office provides the perfect “bully pulpit” to focus the kind of public scrutiny and community involvement that our legislators feed on. In the August 31st Democratic Primary, former Broward County Commissioner Lori Nance Parrish edged out 24-year-old J.R. Markham (45% vs. 40% of participating voters) for the opportunity to run against Republican Mark Taravella, Independent John Makos and write-in candidate David Longstaff for the Broward Property Appraiser’s post on Election Day. Ms. Parrish’s narrow victory ascribes to the lack of a percieved distinction between the candidates. Not surprisingly, the primary candidates devoted their campaign efforts to puerile negative mischaracterizations of one another. Despite the clear “name recognition” advantage that Ms. Parrish enjoys as well as being the big fish in the Broward Democratic pond, her relatively anonymous competitors could present a serious challenge by clearly supporting a “Save our Homes” portability amendment. Conversely, Ms. Parrish’s endorsement of a portability amendment would launch her career as Property Appraiser with a flourish. Any candidate that successfully links their platform to plank that would save every homeowner considering a move literally thousands of dollars could immediately become a serious contender. A word to the wise...

Click To Top of Page


If you are new to the neighborhood, counted 62 or 65 candles on your last birthday cake, plan to relocate or recently returned from summering in Kabul, Baghdad or Basra, reading this can bulk up your wallet. How will downsizing your empty nest and locking up that sweet little beachfront condo inflame your tax bill? Do you want to rent your Galt Mile property without flushing your Homestead protection? Since taxes can cause hiatus hernias, stuttering, chronic diaphoresis, migraines, baldness and other stress-related afflictions, the following missive also promotes good health.

As amended in 2008, the Florida Constitution (VIII)(6), provides legal Florida residents with a Homestead Exemption on their homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots - if they qualify. Capped at $50,000, this tax-saving exemption is applicable to the first and third $25,000 of the assessed value of an owner/occupied residence. While the first $25,000 applies to all property taxes, the second $25,000 does NOT offset taxes assessed by the Broward County School Board, a historically corrupt taxing authority that’s a favorite target for Federal and State prosecutors. Even so, Broward County property owners shielded by the Homestead Exemption in 2013 saved from $640 to $1,152 (depending upon their respective municipal millage rates). A Homestead Exemption added benefit, the “Save Our Homes” tax cap, enabled the average Broward homesteaded homeowner in 2013 to blot out another $743 in taxes. As property values spring back, this residency sweetener is likely to ripen.

You are entitled to a Homestead Exemption if, as of January 1st, you have made the property your permanent home or the permanent home of a person who is legally or naturally dependent on you. Each year, your permanent residence is determined by where you live on January 1st. As defined in Florida Statute § 196.012(17), “‘Permanent residence’ means that place where a person has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment to which, whenever absent, he or she has the intention of returning. A person may have only one permanent residence at a time; and, once a permanent residence is established in a foreign state or country, it is presumed to continue until the person shows that a change has occurred.”

The regular filing period for a 2014 homestead exemption is March 2, 2013 to March 3, 2014. For those of us who sleep through this soft deadline, Section 196.011(8), Florida Statutes provides a second bite at the apple by allowing the Property Appraiser to extend the filing deadline to September 17, 2014 for applicants who demonstrate that extenuating circumstances precluded their timely applications for the 2014 exemption (Parrish will accept “OOPs, I forgot!”). However, once that “hard” late filing deadline closes, no further exemption applications can be accepted for the year, regardless of any sob story for missing the late filing deadline.

When filing an application you must bring the items listed below, dated prior to January 1, 2014. To claim 100% coverage, all owners occupying the property as Tenants in Common (i.e., proportional share co-owners) must file in person on jointly held property. In the case of a husband/wife (“Tenants by the Entirety”) or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship (“JTRS”), any one owner may qualify for 100% coverage – although it is highly advisable for all eligible owner-occupants to file. If you are married and the Deed has different last names for a husband and wife, a marriage certificate must be presented if the deed does not indicate the two co-owners are “husband and wife.”

Proof of Ownership: In general, the recorded Deed or Co-op Proprietary Lease must be held in the name(s) of the individuals applying for Homestead. You do not need to bring a copy of the deed or co-op lease if the document has already been recorded in the Official Records of Broward County. IF THE PROPERTY IS HELD IN A TRUST, EITHER A NOTARIZED CERTIFICATE OF TRUST OR A COMPLETE COPY OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT IS REQUIRED. Note: Parrish recommends using the simple Certificate of Trust form instead of submitting the entire trust for review, as it better protects the privacy of your estate planning and other financial matters.

Proof of Permanent Florida Residence (preferably dated prior to January 1, 2014). Acceptable forms of proof are as follows:

  • FOR ALL APPLICANTS: Florida Driver’s License (“Valid Only in Florida” driver license is not acceptable) or Florida Identification Card (for non-drivers only) is required IN ADDITION TO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
  • FOR NON-US CITIZENS: In addition to the items listed above, you must have proof of permanent residency, resident immigrant status (such as a “Green Card”), asylum/parolee status (or some other PRUCOL status) or proof that you are the parent of a US-born minor child (US Citizen) who shares your residence.

Note: it is generally against the law for a Florida resident to drive in Florida with an out-of-state license or tag if he/she claims Homestead Exemption (Sections 320.37 and 322.08 of the Florida Statutes).

PRUCOL is an acronym for “Permanent Residence (in the United States) Under Color of Law.” Leeched from the 1978 case “Holley vs. Lavine” in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that casually evolved into doctrine for determining local or State benefits eligibility, PRUCOL applies to individuals who are neither U.S. citizens nor aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence (i.e. lawful temporary residents, refugees, political parolees, asylum grantees, deferred deportation, etc.). Essentially, it includes aliens living in the U.S. with the knowledge and permission (express or implied) of the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and whose departure that agency does not contemplate enforcing.

Click to USCIS Web Site Following the September 11, 2001 tragedy, Immigration and Naturalization service (INS) operations were transferred from the Justice Department to the Department of Homeland Security. Upon dissolution of the INS on March 1, 2003, immigration service functions were imparted to the newly formed USCIS.

Pursuant to Rule 12D-7.007(3), Florida Administrative Code, anyone residing in the U.S. under what is considered a “temporary” visa (E-, F-, H-, J-, L-, M-, N-, O-, P-, TC- or R-class visa) is INELIGIBLE for a Homestead Exemption. Similarly, anyone here under “Temporary Protected Status” (TPS) is also ineligible. This is true under Florida law no matter how long you have owned your home and lived/worked in Florida – and regardless of how many times you are legally able to renew your visa.

The Florida Department of Revenue application form (DR-501) requests the following information for all owners living on the premises and filing (if applicable).

  • Current employers of all owners
  • Date of each owner’s last Florida permanent residency
  • Date of each owner’s previous residency outside Florida and date terminated
  • Date of occupancy for each property owner
  • Social security numbers of all owners filing, including the Social Security numbers of any married spouses – even if not filing or named in the Deed (as per Section 196.011(1)(b), F.S.) – are required
  • Florida Voters Registration number (U.S. citizen) or Immigration number (if not U.S. citizen)
  • Florida Drivers License, Florida I.D. and/or Vehicle Tag numbers (if applicable)
  • Percentage of Ownership
  • Declaration of Domicile w/residency date
  • Current employers of all owners
  • School Location of Dependent Children
  • Bank Statement and Checking Account Mailing Address
  • Addresses listed on last I.R.S. income tax returns

Florida Statute 196.011(9) (a) requires the owner to notify the Property Appraiser whenever the use of the property or the status or condition of the owner(s) changes so as to change the exempt status of the property. If the status of the property or the owner(s) alters Homestead eligibility, the law requires notification of the Property Appraiser’s office by March 1st. Failure to so notify the property appraiser exposes the property owner to 10 years of retroactive tax indebtedness plus 15 percent interest per annum and a penalty of 50 percent of the taxes fraudulently exempted. If Mr. Slippery moves to a subsequently purchased Florida property, the local Property Appraiser will record a notice of lien in the county or counties wherein the deadbeat’s new property or properties are located.

Click to New York’s S.T.A.R. exemption If you (or your married spouse) have a Homestead Exemption in any other county, state or country (or an equivalent permanent residency-based exemption or tax credit, such as New York’s “S.T.A.R.” exemption) on another property you also currently own, you will not be eligible for a homestead in Broward until you surrender the exemption in that other jurisdiction.

The Homestead Exemption does not transfer from property to property. If you had this exemption last year on another property and moved, you must file a new application for your new residence. Notify the Property Appraiser to cancel the exemptions on your former home. Property purchased during last year may show qualified exemptions of the seller. The sellers’ exemptions will not carry over to this year; you must apply for your own exemptions! Note: An adult child who inherits a home from a deceased parent does not inherit the Homestead.

Florida’s Portability law allows property owners to transfer their Save Our Homes benefit earned on a previous Homestead property to their new Homestead property. If you are applying for a new Homestead Exemption AND you held a Homestead exemption on a previous property within the last 2 tax-years anywhere in Florida, you should also submit a Portability application with your Homestead application. Again – although portability benefits are transferable, the Homestead Exemption prerequisite for the “Save Our Homes” tax cap is not. You must apply for a new Homestead Exemption to be eligible for portability benefits.

In times of inflating property values, Florida’s 1992 “Save Our Homes” (SOH) Constitutional Amendment caps annually assessed valuations of Homesteaded properties by the lesser of 3% or the percentage increase of the consumer price index (CPI). However, when property values decline, a homestead recapture provision (Section 193.155, F.S. and 12D-8.0062, Florida Administrative Code) causes taxable values to annually rise by 3% (or the percentage change in the CPI - if less) until the assessed value finally equals the market value. As a result, even when their property values drop, certain taxpayers face modestly increased tax bills. Since the provision drives taxpayers crazy and yields minimal revenues, Property Appraisers, Tax Collectors and taxpayers favor mothballing this Constitutional crabapple.

Click to Florida Constitution After decades of gerrymandering election districts to benefit whatever party currently ruled the roost, the November 2010 voter-approved redistricting reforms delivered by Ballot Amendments 5 and 6 finally precluded Legislative and Congressional incumbents from preselecting who could vote in the districts where they planned to run, forcing them to leave election outcomes to voters – a novel concept for Florida politicians. Outraged by a process that allowed ordinary voters to mess with their career paths by leveling long-twisted playing fields, vengeful Republican legislative leaders sought to give the arrogant public a taste of its own medicine. Overnight, a truckload of junk amendments were nested in the November 2012 ballot.

Government and Media Relations Deputy Bob Wolfe of the Property Appraiser’s Office
BCPA MEDIA RELATIONS
DEPUTY BOB WOLFE
At the October 18, 2012 GMCA Advisory Board meeting, Government and Media Relations Deputy Bob Wolfe of the Property Appraiser’s Office warned neighborhood officials that these amendments cloaked poison pills designed to explode the tax impact on Homesteaded property owners. Anticipating that few voters would actually read the skewed Ballot Language, sponsors fitted them with deliberately misleading Ballot Titles. To further blur their actual impact, tricky lawmakers peppered several reasonable provisions into amendments otherwise booby-trapped with outrageous partisan privileges and huge tax increases. Although marketed by Republican lawmakers as a vehicle that would enable the legislature to eliminate the Save our Homes recapture rule – an objective long-supported by taxpayers and Property Appraisers alike – also buried in Constitutional Amendment 4 was a $1.7 billion tax hike for Homesteaded property owners. When voters wisely rejected 8 of the 11 largely screwball amendments – including the ridiculously expensive Amendment 4 – the unpopular recapture rule survived another year.

Three reasonable amendments approved by the 2012 Florida electorate all affect property owners. Amendment 2 extended an existing exemption for combat-disabled seniors from Florida to all combat-disabled veterans, regardless of where they resided upon entering the military. Amendment 9 entitles the surviving spouses of first responders who die in the line of duty (volunteer law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics) to the same total homestead property tax exemption currently available to surviving spouses of Florida military veterans who die from service-related causes while on active duty. Amendment 11 authorizes cities and counties to grant full homestead property tax relief to low-income seniors who lived in a home valued at up to $250,000 for at least 25 years. Since the relief is contingent on supermajority approval by both the City and County boards, its anticipated cost to local governments of $27.8 million over 3 years is not likely to hit in the immediate future.

The amount of the homestead exemption granted to an owner residing on a particular property is applied against the amount of that person’s interest in the property. For example, assuming a property valued at $40,000, with the residing owner’s interest in the property being $20,000, only $20,000 of the homestead exemption can be applied to that property. If there are multiple owners, all as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, the owner living at property filing receives the full $25,000 exemption.

“Can I still receive a Homestead Exemption if I rent my property?” It depends on the local Property Appraiser. Florida Statute § 196.061 historically provided “The rental of an entire dwelling previously claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes shall constitute the abandonment of said dwelling as a homestead, and said abandonment shall continue until such dwelling is physically occupied by the owner thereof. However, such abandonment of such homestead after January 1 of any year shall not affect the homestead exemption for tax purposes for that particular year so long as this provision is not used for 2 consecutive years.”

Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Nance Parrish
B.C. PROPERTY APPRAISER
LORI NANCE PARRISH
Since Florida’s Constitution determines if a property is a “Permanent Residence” by its status on January 1st, what happens before or after that bellwether date is technically irrelevant. As provided for in the above exception, if a lease begins after January 1st and terminates by December 31st in the same year, nothing in Florida law requires surrender of the Homestead Exemption. This implied safe harbor disappears if the property is leased again during the following (second consecutive) year. Because Florida law (Florida Statute § 196.015) empowers the local Property Appraiser with broad discretion in juggling eligibility, relevant policies vary by jurisdiction. At the onset of her tenure, Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish had adopted a once in a lifetime policy policy for rentals with lease terms that wholly fall within a calendar year, allowing each homeowner a single opportunity to rent their Homesteaded property without sacrificing the exemption. These safe harbor policies were savaged during the 2013 legislative session.

St. Augustine Senator John Thrasher
ST. AUGUSTINE SENATOR JOHN THRASHER
St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth
ST. JOHNS COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR
DENNIS W. HOLLINGSWORTH
St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth told Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) that constituent homeowners who live near the Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters of the PGA Tour wanted to rent their homes to golf enthusiasts, links groupies and media personnel who haunt The Players Championship and other PGA events for a few weeks each year – without endangering their Homestead Exemptions. A former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and a close ally of Senate President Don Gaetz, Thrasher elbowed Senate Bill 342 into law over the objections of Property Appraisers across the State. The new law changed Florida Statute § 196.061(1), asserting that a Homesteaded property will not be considered abandoned “unless the property is rented for more than 30 days per calendar year for 2 consecutive years.”

Click Here to The Players Championship While virtually useless for the purposes that most owners (or tenants) lease a property, the 30-day lease terms are perfect for siphoning a few bucks from the golf tournament. Although it will facilitate lucrative month-long rentals for a handful of St. Johns homeowners, by delimiting an annual statutory maximum lease term of 30 days, thousands of longer leases that were regularly granted safe harbor by local property appraisers are now at risk. Enacting this local patronage pork trough threatens tens of thousands of leases between unit owners and their annual or seasonal tenants in community associations across the State. Lori Parrish strongly suggests that her office be consulted prior to executing any leases – spin for do it or else!

Sample TRIM Notice
SAMPLE TRIM NOTICE
By the end of the second week in August, the Property Appraiser mails “Notices of Proposed Taxes” (AKA “TRIM” notices”) to all Broward County property owners. Once you receive the TRIM (Truth in Millage) notice, you must act expeditiously if you intend to challenge the assessment or proposed tax rates. Unfortunately, many property owners ignore the TRIM Notice and wait until they receive their tax bills in November – after the September 17th deadline – it will be too late to file an appeal.

The TRIM Notice contains proposed tax rates as set by local taxing authorities (i.e., Broward School Board, Broward County Commission, City of Fort Lauderdale, South Florida Water Management District, North Broward Hospital Board, Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the Florida Inland Navigation District). During the past two years, Broward properties realized average countywide jumps in taxable value of 1.48% in 2012 (wherein losses recorded in 7 of Broward’s 31 municipalities were marginally offset by gains in the remaining 24) and 4.46% in 2013 (when 30 of 31 cities and towns registered increases).

Click to Broward County Revenue Collection Division The DR-420 Certification of Tax Roll Value for 2013, released by the Property Appraiser on June 28, 2013, observes that 30 Broward municipalities recorded “varying overall tax roll value increases this year. Only one municipality (tiny Lazy Lake) and the unincorporated area of Broward experienced value declines.” Closer scrutiny of the 8.29% decline in the unincorporated area revealed that lower values for sizable tracts owned by Florida Power & Light dragged down a modest increase in residential property values.

Taxable values for the Galt Mile’s “Big Three” taxing authorities realized increases of 4.49% (the School Board), 4.46% (the County Commission) and 4.49% (the City of Fort Lauderdale). Each taxing authority holds two public hearings from August through September, where taxpayers may question proposed millage rates, non-ad valorem fees and special assessments, or comment on services being cut from local budgets. Your TRIM Notice lists the hearing dates, locations and contact phone numbers for each taxing authority. While these hearings provide flustered taxpayers with an opportunity to vent, prospects for successfully manipulating a lower millage rate are statistically comparable to spontaneously growing an eye on your thumb.

Click to Broward County Revenue Collection Division Tax calculations are based upon a simple mathematical formula: TAXABLE VALUE x TAX MILLAGE RATES + SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS = TAX BILL. The TRIM notice reminds property owners that they can save money by paying early. Paying in November earns a 4% discount. The discount drops to 3% in December, 2% in January, 1% in February and full price in March.

Click to Value Adjustment Board Appeals Process While the Property Appraiser’s Office exerts no influence over tax rates, if the market value as shown in the box “Your Property Value This Year” is higher than the market value of your property as of this past January 1, a Deputy Property Appraiser will discuss your market value and how it was calculated on request. Similarly, the Property Appraiser’s office will review any exemptions that were denied. If still dissatisfied, you can file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) to reconsider the assessment and/or any denied exemptions.

The Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) is the independent appeals board that has initial jurisdiction over challenges to any property valuations (the “assessed value”), denials of exemptions, denials of classifications, and other similar matters. When HB 909 amended Florida Statute 194.015 in June of 2008, the 5-member VAB’s composition was changed to include two Broward County Commissioners, one School Board member and two layperson taxpayers (a homesteaded property owner selected by the County Commission and a commercial property owner selected by the School Board).

The Board is completely independent of the Property Appraiser’s office. As per Florida Statute 194.035, the Value Adjustment Board appoints Special Magistrates - who are all qualified, professionally designated real estate appraisers (for valuation cases) and/or attorneys (for exemption cases) – to conduct the hearings. The only question the Special Magistrates can determine is whether the market value of a property as shown on the TRIM Notice was higher than the property’s market value as of last January 1st.

The process is triggered by filing an appeal application form (DR 486) and a nonrefundable $15 statutory filing fee with the VAB by the September 17, 2014 deadline. The fully completed petition must be filed with the Value Adjustment Board at Broward Government Center, 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 120, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 (or filed online using a credit card) - BEFORE THE DEADLINE. While the Property Appraiser is immutably prohibited from processing an appeal after September 17th, a taxpayer who misses the deadline due to extraordinary circumstances can still petition the VAB to consider a valuation appeal. Since “good cause” late-filings are vetted on a case by case basis by the VAB attorney, the applicant must contact the VAB directly to assess an appeal’s merit.

In accord with the provisions of Florida Statute 194.034 (d), petitioners are required to furnish the VAB Appeals office with all the information or documentation that will be used to support their conclusions of value. Failure to provide information previously requested by the Property Appraiser at least 15 days before the hearing precludes its use before the VAB.

Broward County Headquarters at Governmental Center
COUNTY HEADQUARTERS AT BROWARD GOVERNMENTAL CENTER
To best prepare a case, documentary evidence supportive of a claim should be compiled with the assistance of the Property Appraiser staff, VAB staff and/or an attorney. To request the VAB’s help, a petitioner can visit the VAB office in Room 120 at Government Center (115 South Andrews Avenue), call 954-357-7205 or 954-357-5367 or send an email to VAB@broward.org. To elicit assistance from the Property Appraiser’s Office, visit their headquarters at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111 in Governmental Center (954-357-6830) or email Manager Kelly Brown at kbrown@bcpa.net. Any person representing you at the hearing must have a letter of authorization or power of attorney attesting to that fact. This applies to anyone whose name is not on the deed. If a late-filing petitioner is denied “Good Cause” by the VAB or if the Board finds against the applicant after a hearing, the petitioner is entitled by law to file an action in Circuit Court within 60 days of the date on the final decision letter, pursuant to Sec. 194.171, Florida Statutes.

CAVEAT EMPTOR! As you are doubtless aware, this appeal is a lawsuit. Such actions are considered de novo, or original actions, rather than an appeal of the VAB decision. Lawsuits cost thousands of dollars in legal fees (retainers can run $250 to $500 per hour) and court costs. If unsuccessful, these costs would be incremental to the possible doubling or trebling of property taxes implicit in losing the homestead exemption. An appeal is anything but a consequence-free “toss of the dice”.

Low-Income Senior Exemptions

Pursuant to Section 196.075, F.S., residents 65 years or older as of January 1, 2014, may qualify for the additional $25,000 Senior Exemption. In 2013, qualified seniors had to demonstrate a total 2012 household adjusted gross income of not more than $27,590 (adjusted annually for inflation by the Department of Revenue) to be eligible for the additional exemption. Since income eligibility is recalculated every January to reflect changes in the cost-of-living index, this exemption must be applied for annually. While the exemption applies to the county portion every Broward resident’s taxes, only those residents living in cities that adopted the exemption (such as Fort Lauderdale) may also apply it to their municipal tax bite. The filing period is from January 1st to March 1st each year. To insure a proper filing, follow the steps below:

If You File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (C), and Part (D) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household
  2. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household to the Property Appraiser on or before March 1, 2014.
  3. Submit a copy of your 2013 Income Tax Return Form 1040 and W-2 for all persons residing in your home (excluding renters and boarders) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1.

If You Do Not File An Income Tax Return:

  1. Complete Part (A), Part (B), Part (D), and Part (E) of the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household
  2. Complete Lines 1 through 4 of the IRS Form 4506 and sign the form. There is no fee for verification of non-filing.
  3. Submit the Sworn Statement of Adjusted Gross Income of Household, proof of age, and the IRS Form 4506 to the Property Appraiser on or before March 1, 2014.
  4. Submit a copy of your Social Security Statement (SSA 1099) to the Property Appraiser no later than June 1, 2014. The Social Security Administration will send you your SSA-1099 by February 1

If you miss the March 1st “soft” filing deadline for the 2014 Senior Exemption, and believe that you have “Good Cause” for not having timely filed the application, you can still call the Property Appraiser’s office at 954-357-6830 before September 17, 2014 (the hard deadline) or email Customer Service & Exemptions Division Manager Kelly Brown at kbrown@bcpa.net and ask if and how you can still file for the 2014 Senior Exemption. As per State law (Section 196.011(8), Florida Statutes), applicant material submitted after the September 17th "hard deadline" will not be considered.

Other Exemptions

With the exception of the $5,000 Veteran’s Disability Exemption and the Historic Property Exemption, a Homestead Exemption is a legal eligibility prerequisite for a buffet of other tax-saving vehicles. While helping property owners with Homestead Exemptions and Low-Income Senior Exemptions, Property Appraiser personnel also facilitate applications for the following exemptions:

  • WIDOW/WIDOWER EXEMPTION: Bring copy of spouse’s death certificate, newspaper obituary, or memorial card.

  • DISABILITY/VETERAN’S DISABILITY EXEMPTION: Ask us about the filing requirements for the various partial and full versions of these exemptions.

  • DEPLOYED MILITARY EXEMPTION: Bring dated official evidence (US military documentation) of participation in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Noble Eagle or Operation Odyssey Dawn

  • ADDITIONAL EXEMPTION FOR COMBAT-WOUNDED FLORIDA DISABLED VETERANS: Bring documented proof that disability was combat related (i.e., copy of Purple Heart Medal award paperwork), and a certificate from the US Government or US Department of Veterans Affairs attesting to the percentage of your permanent disability.

  • “GRANNY FLAT” EXEMPTION: Bring permits, Certificate of Occupancy and construction plans used to house your 62-year old (as of January 1st of the year for which the exemption is requested) “Granny Flat” occupant

  • HISTORIC PROPERTY EXEMPTION: Depending upon whether or not the historic property is open to the public, submit a fully completed application, evidence of its designation status and documentation demonstrating the percentage of the property eligible for its historic designation

  • NON-PROFIT, RELIGIOUS, EDUCATIONAL & GOVERNMENTAL EXEMPTIONS: In addition to proof of ownership by an eligible organization, eliciting Institutional & Non-Profit Exemptions also requires documentation demonstrating that it is currently "predominant used" for an eligible purpose.

Click to Broward County Property Appraiser Office The Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office is located in Broward County Governmental Center at 115 South Andrews Avenue, Room 111, in downtown Fort Lauderdale (just south of Broward Boulevard). The Office is ordinarily open weekdays from 7 am until 6 pm. and - with exceptions - closed on weekends and Holidays. In 2014, the office will be open on “Special” Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and hours are extended during “TRIM season” to address the heavier traffic. The telephone number is 954-357-6830. The Broward County Property Appraiser maintains a web site at http://www.bcpa.net. Maureen Morrison is the Broward County Property Appraiser’s condo and co-op supervisor in the Real Property Office. Maureen can be reached at (954) 357-6832 or by email at mmorrison@bcpa.net.

Exemptions Division Manager Kelly Brown helping Outreach Senior
BCPA MANAGER KELLY BROWN HELPS SENIOR
Beach Community Center
BEACH COMMUNITY CENTER
The Broward County Property Appraiser’s Office conducts taxpayer outreach sessions at City Halls, Condos, Co-ops, Community Centers, Homeowners, Civic and Community Associations and a variety of other venues where Deputy Property Appraisers provide local residents with property tax information and help with filing exemptions. On the last Friday of most months, BCPA staffers assist Galt Mile residents at the Beach Community Center (3351 NE 33rd Street) from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information about these events, contact Customer Service & Exemptions Division Manager Kelly Brown - who oversees Community & Homebound Outreach - at 954-357-6830 (or 954-357-6035) or by email at kbrown@bcpa.net.

File for Your Homestead Exemption Online - CLICK HERE
CLICK TO FILE
The Property Appraiser’s office has instituted a new Online Homestead Filing Program. While the Property Appraiser’s Outreach Program is remarkably convenient for new filers, the internet-based program is even easier. You can save time, gas-money and avoid lines and crowds that assemble at the local Broward office or the outreach venues. To apply for a 2014 homestead, simply Click Here to use the online Homestead Application system. To apply for other exemptions, visit the Download Forms page and either print, complete and submit the appropriate application by mail or in person or - if an interactive version is available - fill out and submit the online application.

Note: Homebound persons and other qualified individuals with disabilities who cannot readily leave their home may also file for a Homestead Exemption by calling (954) 357-6035 to arrange for a visit from the Property Appraiser’s Homebound Outreach Program.

Galt Mile Residents

  • Please contact Bob Wolfe of Inter-Governmental Media Relations at (954) 445-5732 or at media@bcpa.net for further information.
  • Click Here to access the Broward County Property Appraiser web site in English, Spanish or French (Creole).
  • Click Here for additional information about Homestead and other Exemptions.
  • Click Here for info about additional Senior Exemptions
  • Click Here for info about new Tax Reform Legislation
  • Click Here for info about the TRIM (Truth in Millage) Notice
  • Click Here for info about the Broward County Value Adjustment Board (VAB)
  • Click Here to file a 2013 petition to the Broward County VAB or check its status - ONLINE
  • Click Here for all Exemption & Appeals forms
  • Click Here to access the Online Homestead Filing Program and file for your exemption the easy way!
  • Click Here to check the status of your pending 2013 VAB Petition
  • Click Here to use the Home Buyer’s Tax Estimator
  • Click Here to get a copy of your tax bill
  • Click Here to see copies of deeds, mortgages, liens, release of liens and court judgments

Facing the Music

Homestead Fraud Hotline Upon reviewing the resources inherited from her predecessor following her 2005 installation as Property Appraiser, Lori Parrish learned that the fraud unit was comprised of a file cabinet attended by two secretaries on a part-time basis. During her first 17 days, Parrish developed 131 cases. Her first 60 days yielded $12 million in fraud related recoveries. She tossed the antique computer system – mothballing archaic software originally developed by Atari as a precursor to their “Pong” platform. Today’s cell phones offer exponentially greater computing power. Having replaced the window dressing fraud program with a fully functional unit, by 2010 Parrish recaptured $3 billion in assessed valuations from properties fraudulently exempted from the tax rolls, raking in $20 million in “found” revenues. Department of Information Systems head Erik Reed has since provided the fraud unit with statewide search capabilities and a nationwide reach.

Broward residents who scam the County by fraudulently claiming exemptions for which they are clearly ineligible outrage Parrish. In 2010, she pleaded with Galt Mile Advisory Board members to rat out snowbirds claiming Homestead Exemptions. Despite having informed Ms. Parrish that Advisory Board members wouldn’t violate the confidentiality of their residents’ information, they were understandably conflicted about passively enabling these thieves. We agree with Ms. Parrish that scammers increase the burden on every other taxpayer in the County and applaud her efforts to smoke them out and hold them accountable. Note: I suggest that scofflaws forgo any solace taken from their association’s refusal to cooperate with Parrish’s ever-intensifying crusade. If I can accrue evidence of exemption violations in fifteen minutes by Googling public records sites, her IT bloodhounds can do it in 60 seconds - without breaking a sweat.

Director Ron Cacciatore of Professional Standards and Compliance
RON CACCIATORE
BCPA FRAUDBUSTER
THE BOTTOM LINE: Since 2010, Ms. Parrish has substantially enhanced her fraud-busting operations. When BCPA fraud watchdog Ron Gunzburger left the Property Appraiser’s office in 2012 to serve as General Counsel for newly elected Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, the unit was seamlessly managed by Director Ron Cacciatore of Professional Standards and Compliance, a former BSO Detective. In 2013, Bob Wolfe informed the GMCA Advisory Board that Parrish is annually adding $millions in taxes recovered from fraudulent exemptions to the County coffers. If you have been claiming a Disability Exemption while playing tennis every Thursday or a Homestead Exemption while continuously renting your unit for the past six years, you’re in trouble. If you turn yourself in, you may forgo the 50% penalty on the money you ripped off from the County. Alternatively, if she nails you, your goose is cooked. Moving won't help. Think about it!

Click To Top of Page



To GMCA HOME

To ISSUES INDEX

To FIRE SAFETY PAGE

To SHORE PROTECTION PAGE

To EMERGENCY ROOM PAGE

To TALLAHASSEE PAGE

To BROWARD COUNTY PAGE

To CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE PAGE

To FORT LAUDERDALE BUDGET CRISIS PAGE

To AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR PAGE

To CALYPSO GASWORKS PAGE

To 32nd STREET ALLEY PAGE

To FLPD CRIME STATISTICS

To MAIN PAGE

To GOVERNANCE

To REPORT CARD

To LAWS & STATUTES

To GOVERNMENT LINKS

Click To Top of Page


GMCA HOME MAIN PAGE Associations Directors Governance Laws & Statutes Issues
Newsletters Calendar Market Page Vendors Forum Report Card Archives Site Map Contact
LINKS PAGE Finance News Weather Government Directions Travel Dining Entertainment Search
Webmaster EPB