Property Tax Definitions
"Ad valorem tax" means a tax based upon the assessed value of property. The
term "property tax" may be used interchangeably with the term "ad valorem tax."
"Ad valorem tax roll" means the roll prepared by the property appraiser and
certified to the tax collector for collection.
"Assessed value of property" means an annual determination of the just or
fair market value of an item or property or the value of the homestead property
as limited pursuant to s. 4(c), Art. VII of the State Constitution or, if a property
is assessed solely on the basis of character or use or at a specified percentage
of its value, pursuant to s. 4(a) or (b), Art. VII of the State Constitution, its
classified use value or fractional value.
"County property appraiser" means the county officer charged with determining
the value of all property within the county, with maintaining certain records connected
therewith, and with determining the tax on taxable property after taxes have been
levied. He or she shall also be referred to in these statutes as the "property appraiser"
"County tax collector" means the county officer charged with the collection
of ad valorem taxes levied by the county, the school board, any special taxing districts
within the county, and all municipalities within the county.
"Couple" means a husband and wife legally married under the laws of any state
or territorial possession of the United States or of any foreign country.
"Department" means the Department of Revenue.
"Enterprise zone" means an area designated as an enterprise zone pursuant
to s. 290.0065. This subsection shall stand repealed on December 31, 2005.
"Extend on the tax roll" means the arithmetic computation whereby the millage
is converted to a decimal number representing one one-thousandth of a dollar and
then multiplied by the taxable value of the property to determine the tax on such
"Exempt use of property" or "use of property for exempt purposes" means predominant
or exclusive use of property owned by an exempt entity for educational, literary,
scientific, religious, charitable, or governmental purposes, as defined in this
"Fee timeshare real property" means the land and buildings and other improvements
to land that are subject to timeshare interests which are sold as a fee interest
in real property.
"Governing body" means any board, commission, council, or individual acting
as the executive head of a unit of local government.
"Homestead" means that property described in s. 6(a), Art. VII of the State
"Levy" means the imposition of a tax, stated in terms of "millage," against
all appropriately located property by a governmental body authorized by law to impose
ad valorem taxes.
"Market Value" means the typical price a willing buyer would pay to a willing
"Mill" means one one-thousandth of a United States dollar.
"Millage" may apply to a single levy of taxes or to the cumulative of all
levies. Final Millage Rates for Municipalities and Final Millage Rates for Unincorporated Polk.
"Non-ad valorem assessment roll" means a roll prepared by a local government
and certified to the tax collector for collection.
"Permanent resident" means a person who has established a permanent residence
as defined in subsection (18).
"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.
"Personal property," for the purposes of ad valorem taxation, shall be divided
into four categories as follows:
(a) "Household goods" means wearing apparel, furniture, appliances, and other
items ordinarily found in the home and used for the comfort of the owner and his
or her family. Household goods are not held for commercial purposes or resale.
(b) "Intangible personal property" means money, all evidences of debt owed
to the taxpayer, all evidences of ownership in a corporation or other business organization
having multiple owners, and all other forms of property where value is based upon
that which the property represents rather than its own intrinsic value.
(c) "Inventory" means only those chattels consisting of items commonly referred
to as goods, wares, and merchandise (as well as inventory) which are held for sale
or lease to customers in the ordinary course of business. Supplies and raw materials
shall be considered to be inventory only to the extent that they are acquired for
sale or lease to customers in the ordinary course of business or will physically
become a part of merchandise intended for sale or lease to customers in the ordinary
course of business. Partially finished products which when completed will be held
for sale or lease to customers in the ordinary course of business shall be deemed
items of inventory. All livestock shall be considered inventory. Items of inventory
held for lease to customers in the ordinary course of business, rather than for
sale, shall be deemed inventory only prior to the initial lease of such items. For
the purposes of this section, fuels used in the production of electricity shall
be considered inventory.
(d) "Tangible personal property" means all goods, chattels, and other articles
of value (but does not include the vehicular items enumerated in s. 1(b), Art. VII
of the State Constitution and elsewhere defined) capable of manual possession and
whose chief value is intrinsic to the article itself. "Construction work in progress"
consists of those items of tangible personal property commonly known as fixtures,
machinery, and equipment when in the process of being installed in new or expanded
improvements to real property and whose value is materially enhanced upon connection
or use with a preexisting, taxable, operational system or facility. Construction
work in progress shall be deemed substantially completed when connected with the
preexisting, taxable, operational system or facility. Inventory and "Predominant
use of property" means use of property for exempt purposes in excess of 50 percent
but less than exclusive household goods are expressly excluded from this definition.
"Predominant use of property" means use of property for exempt purposes in
excess of 50 percent but less than exclusive.
"Procedure" The property appraiser is the elected constitutional officer
responsible for determining and listing the value of all property in each county.
All questions of assessment are initially determined by him. If a property owner
objects to a proposed assessment, the owner may appeal to the Value Adjustment Board
(VAB) for that county. The Board consists of three members of the county commission
and two members of the school board. The Board members may choose to employ special
masters to conduct the VAB hearing for them. The Department of Revenue, Ad Valorem
Tax Division, assesses the property of railroad and private car line companies and
certifies the assessed values to the counties.
"Real estate used and owned as a homestead" means real property to the extent
provided in s. 6(a), Art. VII of the State Constitution, but less any portion thereof
used for commercial purposes, with the title of such property being recorded in
the official records of the county in which the property is located. Property rented
for more than 6 months is presumed to be used for commercial purposes.
"Real property" means land, buildings, fixtures, and all other improvements
to land. The terms "land," "real estate," "realty," and "real property" may be used
interchangeably. Real property includes all other permanent improvements on the
land and is broadly classified, based on land use, as follows:
a. Single family and multi-family residential, condominia, cooperatives, townhouses,
time-share developments and mobile homes; Vacant residential and unimproved acreage;
Commercial/Industrial, vacant or improved; and, Agricultural.
b. By July 1 of each year, the property appraiser must report the just value of
all real property in the county as of January 1. Factors to be considered in determining
just value are: present cash value; use; location; quantity or size; cost; replacement
value of improvements; condition; income from property; and net proceeds if the
property is sold.
c. The tax due for each parcel is calculated by multiplying the taxable value by
the tax rate (millage) levied by the taxing authorities within that county. The
proposed tax bill is mailed to the taxpayer, usually in August or September. Any
timely appeal of the tax assessment shall be made against this notice. The actual
tax bill is mailed to the taxpayer, usually by November 1. The payment must be made
to the tax collector by April 1 of the following year. There are discounts for early
payment and penalties for delinquency.
Save Our Homes (SOH) was approved by Florida voters in 1992, effective January 1, 1995,
and only applies to properties receiving homestead exemption. According to SOH
(also referred to as Amendment 10) a homestead property is assessed at full market
value the first year in which the property receives the exemption. In the following
year, if the property is reassessed, any change from the prior year’s assessed value is not to
exceed the lower of 3% of the assessed value or the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index.
In no instance may the assessment exceed full market value. To learn more about Amendment 10 please read our brochure
"Taxable value" means the assessed value of property minus the amount of
any applicable exemption provided under s. 3 or s. 6, Art. VII of the State Constitution
and chapter 196.
"Tax certificate" means a legal document, representing unpaid delinquent
real property taxes, non-ad valorem assessments, including special assessments,
interest, and related costs and charges, issued in accordance with this chapter
against a specific parcel of real property and becoming a first lien thereon, superior
to all other liens, except as provided by s. 197.573(2).
"Tax notice" means the tax bill sent to taxpayers for payment of any taxes
or special assessments collected pursuant to this chapter, or the bill sent to taxpayers
for payment of the total of ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments collected
pursuant to s. 197.3632.
"Tax rate (millage)" is set by the taxing authority for the governmental
unit within which the property is located. The Florida Constitution directly authorized
counties, school districts, and municipalities to levy ad valorem taxes. It also
provides that special districts may be created and authorized by law to levy ad
The total tax rate is the combined tax rates (millage's) of all taxing authorities
having jurisdiction over property in the county. That part of the rate for general
county operations and maintenance is constitutionally limited to a maximum of ten
mills and is set by the county commissioners. The remainder of the county tax rate
consists of various referendum-approved debt service millage for bonds and millage
required by state law. Also, school districts and municipalities are limited to
a maximum of ten mills for operations and maintenance. The Florida Constitution
provides that no state ad valorem tax will be levied. However, each year the legislature
prescribes a required local millage for each school district to provide revenue
for the Florida Education Finance Program. Each special district tax rate is levied
by the district taxing authority against the property lying within the special district
itself. Such districts include hospital, drainage, and lighting districts. Special
districts are usually less than county-wide; some districts, such as the water management
districts, may cover several counties. Each tax bill consists of the total of all
millage applicable to the particular property. The tax bill also includes the related
taxes due for all the taxing authorities having jurisdiction over the property.
"Tax receipt" means the paid tax notice.
"Tax rolls" and "assessment rolls" are synonymous and mean the rolls
prepared by the property appraiser pursuant to chapter 193 and certified pursuant
to s. 193.122.
"Taxpayer" means the person or other legal entity in whose name property
is assessed, including an agent of a timeshare period titleholder.
"Timeshare period titleholder" means the purchaser of a timeshare period
sold as a fee interest in real property, whether organized under chapter 718 or
"Totally and permanently disabled person" means a person who is currently
certified by two licensed physicians of this state who are professionally unrelated,
by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor, or by the
Social Security Administration, to be totally and permanently disabled.
"Use" means the exercise of any right or power over real or personal property
incident to the ownership of the property.