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The Polk County Property Appraiser

What is the job of the Property Appraiser?

The Property Appraiser is responsible for determining the value of all property in the county on the appraisal date of January 1st of each year. The Property Appraiser works in conjunction with the Florida Department of Revenue to guarantee the accuracy of your assessment via the Property Tax Oversight Program. In addition to appraising over 369,000 parcels of real estate and 90,000 business accounts, the Property Appraiser administers 145,000 homestead exemptions, and must determine property entitled to Agricultural Classification. The Property Appraiser and staff are at the service of the public and will be glad to assist in all matters pertaining to appraisals and exemptions.

How does the Property Appraiser determine fair market value?

The Property Appraiser must know what properties are selling for, cost to replace improvements, rent and operating expenses, and numerous other factors impacting value.

Comparing the selling prices of comparable properties to your property is one method for estimating MARKET value. Another way is based on REPLACEMENT COST in its current condition.

A third method is used for properties that produce a rental INCOME. Consideration is given to market rents, operating expenses, and the return most people would expect on a similar investment.

How and why does my property value change?

When changes to your property occur, the Property Appraiser's values are adjusted to reflect these changes. For instance, if you build a swimming pool in your backyard, the market value would increase proportionately based on the contributory value of the pool.

Similarly, should your property's value be decreased by fire or the marketplace indicates a decline in your area, the value would decrease to show the downward effect of those changes.

Can I report exemption fraud to the Property Appraiser's office?

Yes. Homestead fraud is a serious issue that affects every taxpayer. Fraudulent exemptions steal from every taxpayer who pays for our county services, law enforcement, schools, libraries etc. If someone lies to falsely lower their tax bill by claiming tax savings they aren't entitled to, that means someone else has to make up the difference. And you guessed it -- that "someone else" is you and all of the other law-abiding taxpayers.

The State of Florida has severe penalties for claiming an unqualified exemption. Homestead fraud may result in a 50% penalty of unpaid taxes and a 15% interest for up to 10 years.

You may report fraud through our website or report fraud anonymously by telephoning (863) 534-4788 Ext.1850.

When is the Polk County Property Appraiser's Office closed?

New Year's Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Good Friday
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veteran's Day
Thanksgiving
Christmas

Glossary of Terms

Click here, for a glossary of terms.

How can I locate property on the PCPA website?

Here are 2 ways you can locate real and tangible property on the PCPA website.

Using the Property Search page you can search our database a number of ways to find the property you are looking for; including by name, address and Parcel ID.

If you need a more detailed search you can use our Advanced Query Search page to build your own query.

Assessment Limitations - (Amendment 10 Brochure)

What is Amendment 10 - Save Our Homes?

Section 193.155(1) F.S., was enacted to implement Amendment 10 to the state constitution to limit annual increases in assessed value on real property qualifying for and receiving the homestead exemption.

According to Save Our Homes (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.

By qualifying for homestead exemption you automatically receive the “Save Our Homes” benefit derived from Amendment 10.

What properties qualify for the Save our Homes benefit?

Only homestead properties qualify for the “Save Our Homes” assessment limitation.

Does "Save Our Homes" apply to homestead parcels with an agricultural classification?

Yes, the residence and curtilage (land and structures immediately surrounding the homestead residence) benefit from the homestead limited assessed value.

Does “Save Our Homes” apply to homestead parcels with multiple buildings?

Yes, but the assessment limitation only applies to the portion that is owner occupied.

How do improvements or additions affect “Save Our Homes”?

The market value of physical alterations to the property such as additions or improvements (not including normal maintenance) will be added to the property’s assessment after the limited assessed value has been applied to the qualifying homestead property.

How is property with a partial homestead exemption affected?

Only that portion of the property receiving homestead exemption is subject to the assessment limitation. The remainder of the property must be assessed at market value pursuant to law.

How does the assessment limit “Save Our Homes” apply?

Property receiving the homestead exemption is to be assessed at market value the first year in which the property receives the exemption.

Subsequently, when the market value of the property must be increased, the change in assessed value, from the prior year’s value, is not to exceed 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. In no instance may any assessment exceed market value.

What is the so-called “Recapture” rule?

In September 1995, the Governor and Cabinet acting as the Administrative Commission, approved a rule requiring Property Appraiser’s to raise assessed value of qualifying homestead property by the maximum of 3% or the annual Consumer Price Index change, whichever is less, on all properties assessed at less than market value, even if the property’s market value does not increase that calendar year.

If the market value of a property does not change, its assessed value under the limitation remains under market value. The Property Appraiser is required by Rule 12d-8.0062 to increase the assessed value 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower.

What happens when a property is sold or otherwise conveyed to a new owner?

The assessed value on any property under “Save Our Homes” cap which is sold, or otherwise conveyed to a new owner is raised to market value. The “Save Our Homes” limitation will then be applied to the assessed value in the first year following the year in which the new owner qualifies the property for homestead exemption.

Even if the property received a homestead exemption under the previous owner, the limitation, just like the exemption, expires with a change in ownership. The new owner(s) must apply for and receive a homestead exemption in order to re-activate the “Save Our Homes” protection during their term of ownership.

Is there an assessment limitation available for non-homesteaded properties?

Yes, Florida provides a 10% assessment limitation for any non-homesteaded property.

Will I have to apply for this?

No, this will automatically be applied to your property.

Can I get this on my homesteaded property?

No, this assessment cap is for all "non-homesteaded" properties. Homesteads already benefit from a smaller 3% assessment cap.

What does "non-homesteaded property" mean?

All properties other than those receiving a homestead exemption; such as 2nd homes, vacation homes, vacant land, commercial and rental properties.

Will the 10% cap reduce my taxes?

The 10% cap will only ensure your current year assessed value does not increase more than 10% from your previous year certified assessed value. We cannot say if this will reduce your taxes due to such other factors as millage rates and non-ad valorem assessments.

Does this mean my assessment will go up by 10% each year?

The 10% cap is simply the maximum amount your assessment can increase in any given year.

Is the 10% cap applied to all millage rates?

No, the 10% cap will apply to all millages except for school board millage.

If I purchase a property that has received the benefit of this 10% cap, will my assessment be the same as the prior owner's assessment?

Most likely not. The law allows for the property to be reassessed at full market value when the property changes ownership or control.

What if there is a change in ownership or control that isn't recorded in the form of a deed, does this trigger a reassessment?

Yes. Section 193.1556 Florida Statutes, provides that any person or entity that owns property, which is being assessed under the 10% cap provision, “must notify the property appraiser promptly of any change of ownership or control as defined in FS 193.1554(5) and 193.1555(5).” Failure to do so subjects the property owner to a lien of the back tax plus 15% interest per annum and a penalty of 50% of the taxes avoided.

Deeds and Ownership

If I recorded my Deed, why do your records not show the parcel in my name?

Deeds are recorded with the Clerk of the Court, not the Property Appraiser's office. Because of the scanning and verification process in the Clerk's office, the Property Appraiser cannot view the recorded deed for the first week after recording. When the document becomes available to us, we will process the deeds in the order of the recorded dates. The process may take 2 weeks or more. If a split of the parent parcel is involved, the process will require additional time.

How do I prepare a Deed to transfer my property?

In order to transfer ownership of your property, you will need to have a new deed prepared and recorded in the official records of Polk County. We suggest you contact either a title company or an attorney to assist you, as our office cannot prepare legal documents or provide legal advice in deed preparation.

How do I remove an owner from the title to property?

In order to remove an owner from the title to your property, you will need to have a new deed prepared where that owner conveys their interest to you. He/she must sign the deed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary. The deed will need to be recorded in the official records of Polk County. We would suggest you contact either a title company or an attorney to assist you, as our office cannot prepare legal documents or provide legal advice in deed preparation.

How do I add another owner to my property?

In order to add an additional owner to your parcel, it will be necessary that a deed reflecting this change be prepared and recorded in the official records of Polk County. Basically, you will need to convey ownership of the property from yourself to yourself and the other person. We suggest you contact either a title company or an attorney to assist you, as our office cannot prepare legal documents nor provide legal advice in deed preparation.

Can you give me the name of a real estate salesperson in this area?

The Property Appraiser's office cannot suggest or recommend any real estate professional. We suggest you contact the local Board of Realtors in the city closest to your property using the phone book or the internet.

Can you recommend a surveyor in Polk County?

The Property Appraiser's office cannot suggest or recommend a surveyor. We suggest you contact a surveyor in the city closest to your property using the phone book or the internet. You may also contact the Florida Surveying and Mapping Society (FSMS) in Tallahassee at 800.237.4384 or click on this link to search for surveyors in your area https://www.fsms.org/firm-search#/.

Can you recommend an attorney in Polk County?

The Property Appraiser's office cannot suggest or recommend an attorney. You may obtain a list of area attorneys through the phone book, internet, or by contacting the Florida Bar Association at (800) 342-8011. The number will place you in direct contact with The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service maintained as a public service by The Florida Bar.

How do I convey my homestead property into a trust?

In order to retain homestead exemption, the person claiming the exemption must have equitable title to the real estate, a life estate, or beneficial interest for life. Because homestead exemption is a valuable savings, we suggest your contact either a title company or an attorney to assist you.

How can I find the easement to a parcel?

In order to find an ingress/egress (access) easement to a property, a search of documents recorded in the Clerk of the Court’s office is required. This type of search can get quite tedious and a vast knowledge of plotting property descriptions is usually required. We suggest you contact either a title company or an attorney to assist you, as our office cannot perform this search for you.

If you wish to perform the search on your own, navigate to the property on our website and scroll down to the Sales History. Clicking on the numbers under OR Book/Page, will retrieve a copy of the deed. If the property description portion of the deed shows “subject to an easement…..” or “together with an easement….” , the easement will be described after that wording. You should search all deeds listed for the property and for any surrounding properties you would need to access to get there. Other information may be obtained by searching the Clerk of the Court’s official records link: http://ori2.polk-county.net/SearchNG_Application/ using the name of the grantor and grantee from the deeds. Easement documents are typically indexed under EASMT, EAS, or EASMT AGMT. Sometimes they are indexed under AGR or AGMT.

Exemptions

What is the homestead exemption?

Every person who has the legal or equitable right to real estate and maintains it as their permanent residence or as the residence of another legally or naturally dependent upon the owner shall be entitled to Homestead Exemption.

You and your spouse (if married) must present proof of legal residence which may be established by some or all of the following:

  • Florida Driver License -- with current address
  • Florida vehicle registration -- with current address
  • Voter Registration -- with current address
  • Local employment
  • School Name of Dependent Children
  • Bank Statement mailing address
  • Current Utility Bill

Note: Under Florida law you are required to update your address on your driver license and vehicle tag within 10 days of moving.

  • You must have legal or equitable title to the property as of January 1st.
  • You and your spouse (if married) must reside on the property and live in the home as of January 1st.
  • You must provide the social security card for you and your spouse (if married and both live in the home).
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, you must provide your Permanent Resident Card to be entitled to Homestead Exemption.
  • You may file for homestead exemption on a mobile home if you own the land also. Please provide a copy of the title or registration.



NOTICE:
F.S. 196.131(2) Any person who knowingly and willfully gives false information for the purpose of claiming Homestead Exemption as provided for in this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided by F.S. 775.082.

F.S. 196.161(1)(b) Any property owner who knowingly received Homestead Exemption and was not entitled thereto for ten (10) prior years, is subject to a fine plus penalties for any or all of the prior ten years.

F.S.196.061 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.
What is the additional homestead exemption?

Property owners who qualify for the initial $25,000 Homestead Exemption may also be eligible to receive the additional $25,000 homestead described under Amendment 1 beginning in the 2008 tax year. The additional exemption is applied toward the assessed value between $50,000 and $75,000 . The difference between this exemption and the initial $25,000 Homestead Exemption is that the school board portion of the millage rate is NOT exempt.

EXAMPLE: If a parcel has a value less than $75,000 then they will only receive the exemption on the value above $50,000 (i.e. if their value is $65,000 then they will only receive an additional exemption in the amount of $15,000: if their value is below $50,000 they will not receive any additional homestead exemption).

The Additional Homestead Exemption will be applied automatically.

Reference F.S.196.031(1)(b)

What changes affect homestead?
If any of the following unreported situations applies to you, contact our exemptions department immediately - (863)534-4777.

  • You have moved from your homestead property
  • The homestead property owner is deceased
  • You are renting your homestead property
  • You and your spouse own separate properties and both are receiving homestead exemption
  • You and your spouse own a second home in or out of state and both are receiving homestead exemptions or residency tax credit
  • You have remarried but are receiving a widow/widower exemption
  • Your income exceeds the statutory limit for qualifying for a Senior Exemption
What is the widow's or widower's exemption?

To file for the $500 Widow's or Widower's Exemption, you must be a widow or widower by January 1st of the tax year. You must apply and provide a copy of the death certificate.

What is the disability exemption?
  • $500 Disability Exemption will be allowed to every blind or totally and permanently disabled person.
  • Total Disability Exemption will be allowed to paraplegics, hemiplegics, or other totally and permanently disabled persons who must use a wheelchair for mobility or who are legally blind. This total exemption from ad valorem taxes will be applied if persons meet certain income limitations.
  • Quadriplegics Disability Exemption will exempt the homestead property of a qualifying person from taxation.
What is the veterans exemption?
  • $5,000 Disabled Veterans Exemption is available to any ex-service member, who has been disabled to a degree of 10 percent or more while serving during a period of wartime service or by misfortune, is entitled to a $5,000 Veteran’s Exemption. An un-remarried surviving spouse is also entitled to the exemption under certain conditions.
  • Disabled Veteran Discount may be applied to the homestead of a partially or totally permanently disabled Veteran who is 65 years old and was honorably discharged. The percentage of disability must be service-connected and combat-related.
  • Veterans Total Exemption is available on property owned and used as homestead by a Veteran, honorably discharged with a SERVICE-CONNECTED total and permanent disability. Verification of disability is required. An un-remarried surviving spouse is also entitled to the exemption under certain conditions.
  • Deployed Military Exemption is available to service members who were deployed in the preceding calendar year outside the continental United States, Alaska, or Hawaii in support of designated military operations.
You must apply and a certificate of disability from the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or its predecessor must be presented as evidence. Additional documentation may be required.
What is the senior exemption?

The Senior Exemption is only applicable within the county or municipality that authorizes it. School taxes and independent taxing districts are not covered by this exemption.

In order to benefit, a homeowner must qualify for the regular homestead, be at least 65 years of age on January 1, and have a previous year total household adjusted gross income that does not exceed the statutory limit. Supporting documentation must be provided.

The county provides an additional property tax exemption for qualifying seniors who have lived in their home for at least 25 years. The market value of the home must not exceed $250,000.

If, after qualifying for Senior Exemption, your total household adjusted gross income exceeds the statutory limit, YOU MUST NOTIFY THIS OFFICE. Statutory limitations are posted on the Florida Department of Revenue website: https://floridarevenue.com/property/Documents/AdditionalHomesteadExemptions.pdf. Improperly claiming any exemption could result in a lien against your property.

What is the granny flat discount?

A Granny Flat Discount is available to property owners who build additions onto an existing home or perform extensive renovations to provide living quarters for a parent or grandparent who is at least 62 years old.

What is the conservation exemption?

The 2009 Legislature enacted legislation creating an exemption for real property dedicated in perpetuity for conservation purposes and requirements to file an application to be assessed for lands subject to a conservation easement, environmentally endangered or land used for outdoor recreational or park purposes. The new legislation created section 196.26, Florida Statutes, outlining the definitions and requirements for owners to apply for an exemption for real property dedicated in perpetuity for conservation purposes. Form DR-418C, Real Property Dedicated in Perpetuity for Conservation Purposes Exemption Application, was drafted for applicants whose property meets the requirements for a conservation exemption.

What is the assessment reduction for property used for land conservation?

Legislation amended section 193.501, Florida Statutes, requiring an application to be filed with the Property Appraiser for property to be assessed at a reduced value if used for conservation. Form DR-482C was drafted for applicants whose property meets the requirements. Use Form DR-482CR if reapplying for this exemption

What happens to surviving spouses of first responders?

Homestead property of surviving spouses of military veterans who died from service-connected causes while on active duty and to the surviving spouses of first responders who died in the line of duty shall be exempt from taxation.

First responders include law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or paramedics.

What property is entitled to charitable, religious, governmental, literary, or scientific exemption?
To be wholly or partially exempt from ad valorem taxation, property must be owned by an organization qualified for the exemption and the property must be used exclusively or predominantly for charitable, religious, educational, governmental, literary or scientific purposes.

  • All property used exclusively for exempt purposes shall be totally exempt from ad valorem taxation.
  • All property used predominantly for exempt purposes shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation to the extent of the ratio that such predominant use bears the non-exempt use.
  • No application for exemption may be granted for religious, literary, scientific or charitable use of property until the application has been found by the Property Appraiser, or the Value Adjustment Board to be non-profit as defined by F.S. 196.196.
  • Educational institutions include state, parochial, Church and private schools, colleges and universities conducting regular classes and courses of study required for eligibility to, certification by, accreditation to, or membership in the State Department of Education of Florida, Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, or the Florida Council of Independent Schools.
How does the death of the property owner affect the homestead exemption?
Situations vary, so it is important to notify the Property Appraiser’s Office upon the death of any property owner who is receiving a homestead or residency based exemption.

Homestead exemption is not inherited by the property owner’s next of kin. The exemption terminates upon the property owner’s death, with the following two exceptions:

  • In the event of the death of a married property owner, the homestead exemption and certain other residency based exemptions continues in the name of the surviving spouse.
  • If the property is owned by more than one person as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and the joint tenant had previously made application for homestead exemption and makes the property their permanent residence, the homestead exemption will continue in the name of the joint tenant.
How does the marriage, remarriage, or divorce affect the homestead exemption?
If you own property receiving a homestead or residency based exemption, you are required by law to notify the Property Appraiser of changes in the status or condition of the owner. This would include the marriage, remarriage, or divorce of the property owner. The following scenarios would apply:

  • A married couple is considered a single family unit and as such is eligible for only one (1) homestead exemption.
  • If either spouse has a homestead exemption at the time of marriage, the Property Appraiser must add the new spouse to the property exemption account along with the required identifying information (Social Security card, Driver License, Voter Registration Card, if registered and Resident Card, if not a U.S. Citizen).
  • If both spouses have property with homestead exemptions at the time of marriage, a determination of permanent residence must be submitted to the Property Appraiser and the homestead exemption will be removed from the non-residence property.
  • As a general rule the Property Appraiser receives notice from the Polk County Clerk of Courts of divorces granted and makes changes to the homestead exemption in accordance with the court’s rulings. It is however, the property owner’s responsibility to verify that the changes to property ownership and exemption status have been made.
What if I fail to notify the Property Appraiser's Office of significant life changes?

Failure to notify the Property Appraiser's Office of significant life changes can result in the loss of all exemptions and the back assessment of property taxes up to ten years, plus 15% per annum, and a penalty of 50% of the taxes exempted.

This often amounts to thousands of dollars owed and a lien placed on your property.

You may contact the Polk County Property Appraiser's Office through the website: www.polkpa.org or telephone, Bartow: 863-534-4777, Lakeland: 863-802-6150, or Winter Haven: 863-401-2426.

GIS/Mapping

What is a Geographic Information System (GIS)?

A GIS is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing features that exist and events that happen on earth.

What can a GIS do?
Why does the Polk County Property Appraiser use a GIS?

The Polk County Property Appraiser's GIS Parcel Base Mapping project was started in 1992. The goal is and has always been to develop an accurate multipurpose parcel and planimetric GIS base map. Planimetric simply refers to a map showing the location of features. In a GIS planimetrics are related to information about the features. In order to accomplish this goal the Property Appraiser's office (PAO), through Interlocal agreements with political bodies, became the project management agency for the development of a seamless, countywide GIS parcel base map. The PAO oversees the mapping maintenance of approximately 360,000 parcels, covering over 2,000 square miles and 17 cities.

The Polk County Property Appraiser's Office GIS stands out as one of the most accurate Parcel Base Mapping / GIS projects in the state of Florida. This level of accuracy is accomplished and maintained by field mapping each land section or square mile before parcel mapping occurs. The accuracy level of the base map is estimated to be within two feet of real world coordinates. Digital ortho-rectified aerial photography is also an important part of the base map. The workflow or GIS conversion process allows the GIS to be updated and maintained as each section is developed.

The PAO has an in-house programming staff that works to integrate our Appraisal and Mapping data. The applications written and maintained by our programming staff include GIS development and maintenance routines, data request / retrieval programs, and data query / viewing applications. Our most used application is https://map.polkpa.org. It allows the public to search and analyze our GIS and Appraisal data. In addition, much of our data is available for free download from our ftp site. Please see the following www.polkpa.org/Downloads/DataFiles.aspx for additional information.

Mobile Homes and Recreational Vehicles

How does Florida classify mobile homes for tax purposes?
According to Florida Statute 193.075, there are three ways that mobile homes are taxed.

  1. Real Property: A mobile home shall be taxed as real property if the owner of the mobile home is also the owner of the land on which the mobile home is permanently affixed. A mobile home shall be considered permanently affixed if it is tied down and connected to the normal and usual utilities. However, this provision does not apply to a mobile home, or any appurtenance thereto, that is being held for display by a licensed mobile home dealer or a licensed mobile home manufacturer and that is not rented or occupied. A mobile home that is taxed as real property shall be issued an “RP” series sticker as provided in F.S. 320.0815.

    An owner of both the mobile home and the land which is taxed as real property is also eligible to file for homestead exemption. In order to classify as real property the “RP” series sticker (decal) has to be purchased as a one-time fee from the Tax Collector. No stickers or decals will be necessary in the future once the property is classified as real property by the Property Appraiser.

  2. Annual License Tax: A mobile home that is not taxed as real property shall have a current license plate (mobile home decal) properly affixed as provided in F.S. 320.08(11).

  3. Tangible Personal Property: Any such mobile home without a current license plate (mobile home decal) properly affixed shall be presumed to be tangible personal property.
How does Florida classify recreational vehicles for tax purposes?
Florida Statute 193.075, recreational vehicles are taxed similar to mobile homes.

  1. Real Property: A recreational vehicle shall be taxed as real property if the owner of the recreational vehicle is also the owner of the land on which the vehicle is permanently affixed. A recreational vehicle shall be considered permanently affixed if it is connected to the normal and usual utilities and if it is tied down or it is attached or affixed in such a way that it cannot be removed without material or substantial damage to the recreational vehicle. Except when the mode of attachment or affixation is such that the recreational vehicle cannot be removed without material or substantial damage to the recreational vehicle or the real property, the intent of the owner to make the recreational vehicle permanently affixed shall be determinative. A recreational vehicle that is taxed as real property must be issued an “RP” series sticker as provided in F.S. 320.0815.

  2. Annual License: A recreational vehicle that is not taxed as real property must have a current license plate properly affixed as provided in F.S. 320.08(9).

  3. Tangible Personal Property: Any such recreational vehicle without a current license plate properly affixed is presumed to be tangible personal property.
When are mobile home/recreational vehicle license plates or decals required?

F.S. 320.0815, A mobile home or recreational vehicle-type unit which is permanently affixed to the land shall be issued a mobile home sticker (decal) at the fee prescribed in F.S. 320.08(11) unless the mobile home or recreational vehicle-type unit is qualified and taxed as real property, in which case the mobile home or recreational vehicle-type unit shall be issued an “RP” series sticker (decal).

“RP” series stickers (decal) shall be issued by the Tax Collector. A mobile home sticker (deal) shall be affixed to the lower left corner of the window closest to the street or road providing access to such residence.

320.055(2), F.S., A mobile home sticker is effective through the 31st day of December and is authorized to be renewed during the 31 days prior to expiration on December 31. A mobile home sticker renewed during the renewal period is effective from January 1 through December 31 (This is based on 1999 legislation.).

Can my mobile home/recreational vehicle qualify for the tangible personal property exemption?

F.S. 196.183, Tangible personal property is eligible for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of up to $25,000 of assessed value. Mobile home attachments such as: skirting, air conditioning, screen rooms, utility rooms, carports etc… are all qualified for the $25,000 tangible personal property exemption.

Mobile homes assessed as tangible personal property without a properly affixed current mobile home sticker (decal) DO NOT QUALIFY for the $25,000 exemption.

Mobile home owners are not required to file a tangible personal property tax return. The Property Appraiser will automatically apply the $25,000 exemption to the mobile home attachments.

Where can I find additional information on registrations, renewals and title transfers?

For information on registrations, renewals and title transfers you can visit the Tax Collector's website at http://www.polktaxes.com/motorvehicles/mobile_homes.aspx, call the main line at (863)534-4700 or visit one of their offices: http://www.polktaxes.com/generalinfo/officehours_locations.aspx

Real Estate Assessment

What does the term Market Value mean?
How does the Property Appraiser's Office evaluate property?
To find the value of any piece of property, the Property Appraiser must first know the selling price for similar properties. He also takes other factors into consideration, such as: what it would cost to replace the property, how much it takes to operate and maintain the property, what rent the property might earn, as well as a variety of other dollar facts affecting the value of the property including the current rate of interest charges for borrowing the money to buy or build similar properties.

There are three fundamental methods of evaluating property used by the Property Appraiser's Office:

The first method involves finding properties like yours which have recently been sold in order to obtain comparative value. The selling prices are carefully analyzed to get a true picture of the actual property value. One property may have sold for considerably more than it was really worth because the buyer was in a hurry to occupy the property and would pay any price to get in. In contrast, a property may have sold for much less money than it was worth because the owner needed cash right away and was willing to sell to the first buyer who made him an offer.

When using the comparative value method of assessing property the Property Appraiser takes such over or under pricing into consideration so as to arrive at a fair evaluation of your property's value.

The second method of evaluating property considers the actual amount of money it would take to replace your property with an exact replica at current material and labor costs. If your property is not new, the Property Appraiser must determine how much the property has depreciated.

The third method of evaluating property works in conjunction with the other methods if you happen to own property that provides you with a rental income (money received or paid to occupy or use land/property owned by another). Rental income can be obtained from an apartment, rental home, stores, factories, etc. If your property provides rental income the Property Appraiser must consider numerous dollar facts including the following:

  • Operating expenses
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance costs
  • Degree of financial risk taken in earning income from the property
  • Monetary return expected from the property
How are my taxes affected by the appraised value?
What if I disagree with the Property Appraiser's market value appraisal?

If your estimation of the market value of your property differs from our appraisal of your property's value, please feel free to come in and discuss the matter with us. We are always willing to address your concerns by reviewing all pertinent data and documentation that may indicate that the appraisal is more or less than the actual fair market value of your property.

If we are unable to reach what you consider to be an accurate appraisal of your property's market value after speaking with the Appraiser's Office, you may submit your opinion to the Value Adjustment Board.

The Value Adjustment Board has no jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates. Their primary function is to hear evidence as to whether or not properties called to their attention are appraised at more or less than their market value. If it is determined that the appraised value is not accurate the Board has the authority to change the appraised value. They cannot change your appraised value for any other reason. The Board can also hear appeals on denial of exemptions and/or agricultural classification.

To be heard before the Value Adjustment Board a written application must be filed with the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners. Applications may be obtained from the Property Appraiser's Office or the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners.

But See Us First. The Property Appraiser's Office is YOUR office. Feel free to visit the office and speak to someone directly, use our public room or you may go to the Real Property search on our website and gather valuable information about your property. We can also be reached by phone or E-mail. We are always eager to assist you in matters pertaining to Property Appraisals and Exemptions.

Will I see a decrease in the market value of my home due to the slowdown in the housing market?

Yes, for various property types. The Florida Constitution requires our office to assess property based on its market value as of January 1 of each year, so the property value this year is based on sales of comparable properties that occurred during the previous year and what the market represented for that twelve month period.

My market value came down, but my assessed value went up. Explain that to me
This office is responsible for the market value and the drop reflects the declining market sales in your area. The increase in the assessed value is a result of a requirement of Florida Statue (F.S. 193.155) which states that Homestead property shall be reassessed annually on January 1. Any change resulting from such reassessment shall not exceed the lower of the following:

  1. 3% of assessed value of the property for the prior year; or
  2. The percentage change in the consumer price index (CPI) for the preceding calendar year as reported by the United Stated Department of Labor.


This office has no control over the 3% increase. In fact, a bill put before the legislature this year to remove the requirement of a 3% increase in the assessed value did not pass.
What is the difference between market value and selling price?

The actual selling price for a property is a unique number that represents the distinctive negotiations of buyer and seller. The selling price may or may not be equitable.

The Property Appraiser is responsible for arriving at a market value on January 1 of each year. In doing so we must consider the selling prices of comparable properties. The Property Appraiser’s market value conclusions must be equitable and based on typical market transactions.

What is portability? - (Portability Brochure)
Portability, officially known as the “Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference”, is the ability to transfer the dollar amount benefit of the Homestead CAP from one Homestead to another. The Homestead CAP is the difference between market value and assessed value, often know as the Save Our Homes Benefit.

  • Transferred benefit may not exceed $500,000
  • Transferred benefit % depends on just value of new home purchased
  • Applies to all tax levies
When and how do I apply for portability?

You typically apply for portability when you apply for homestead exemption. There is a separate application for portability in addition to the homestead application.

You will have to fill out the "Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference" application when you file an application for your new homestead exemption. If you have already applied for homestead exemption, you can download the portability application from our website, complete and submit it to the Property Appraiser's Office.

Required information on the Portability Application include:

  • Date which the previous homestead was sold or no longer used as a homestead
  • County
  • Address
  • Parcel ID#
  • List of all other owners of the previous homestead
Do I have to sell my home before I can qualify for portability?
Do I have to purchase a new property to get the portability benefit?

No, if you already own another property and establish your new homestead, you can remove the homestead from the old property and apply for the portability benefit.

How much of my Save our Homes benefit can I transfer?
The amount of the CAP is the difference between your Just Market Value and your Assessed Value. The difference between the market value and your assessed value is often called the "CAP differential" or CAP savings. The amount of the CAP can vary from year to year depending on the value of your property and the maximum transferable amount is $500,000.00.

We have added a calculator to our website to estimate your transferrable benefit. Use the following steps to access the calculator.

  1. Click on the Property Search tab at the top of this page.
  2. Type in the owner name of the property and click the Search Records button.
  3. Click on the parcel ID of the property. This will open the parcel detail page.
  4. Finally, click on the calculator icon in the upper right corner of the page.
If I sell my home this year and purchase a new homestead, would I be able to transfer my CAP to the new homestead in time to reduce my tax bill this year?

No, if you sell your homestead and apply for a new homestead in the same year, your CAP portability would be applied in the following year.

After I have sold or abandoned my prior homestead, how long do I have to use my portability?
I co-own a homestead and we have a $700,000 CAP. Can we each take $350,000 to our separate new homesteads?

No, the maximum amount of CAP transfer from a single homestead is $500,000. Therefore, the maximum that could be transferred by two previous joint owners of a single homestead establishing different homesteads is $250,000 each.

I am newly married and my spouse has a larger Cap amount on their former residence than I do on my present one. Can we use his/her cap to my homestead?

If he/she is on the title on your parcel and applies for and received homestead, then legislation allows you to bring the higher of the two CAP amounts. This would essentially replace your existing CAP amount with his higher Cap amount.

What is agricultural classification?

Tangible Personal Property - (TPP Brochure)

What is tangible personal property?

Tangible Personal Property is everything other than real estate that has value by itself. It includes such things as furniture, fixtures, tools, machinery, household appliances, signs, equipment, leasehold improvements, supplies, leased equipment, and any other equipment used in a business or to earn income.

Tangible Personal Property also includes attachments to mobile homes located in mobile home parks or on rented land, such as air conditioning, skirting, carports, screened rooms, etc.

Florida Statute 193.052 requires that all tangible personal property be reported each year to the Property Appraiser's Office.

Who is required to file a Tangible Personal Property Tax return?
You will need to file a tangible return if:
  • You are operating a business or rental property and have not filed a tangible return in the past.
    NOTE: You must file an initial tangible return regardless of value
  • You are operating a business or rental property and have tangible assets valued at over $25,000.

You do not need to file a tangible return if:
  • Your business or rental property filed a return in a prior year with total tangible assets valued at less than $25,000 and the current total value remains less than $25,000.
  • Your tangible assets are household items in your homesteaded residence not used in relation to commercial purposes or for resale.
Where can I obtain a Tangible Personal Property tax return form?

Our office now offers the convenience of filing a TPP Tax Return online. You should begin the online filing process by visiting our website at https://tangible.polkpa.org/. Our system will walk you through the process. You can also download the form directly from the Florida Department of Revenue website - Found here.

I have multiple sites, do I need to file multiple forms?

With the exception noted in the following paragraph, a SEPARATE personal property return must be filed for each location in the county.

Owners of vending machines, LP/Propane tanks and similar free standing property at many locations may submit a single schedule in lieu of individual property statements, but will be required by the Property Appraiser to provide a list of the site addresses.

What are the definitions for sites and freestanding property?

The “site where the owner of tangible personal property transacts business” includes facilities where the business ships or receives goods, employees of the business are located, goods or equipment of the business are stored, goods or services of the business are produced, manufactured or developed, or similar facilities located in offices, stores, warehouses, plants or other locations of the business.

Not considered a “site where the owner of tangible personal property transacts business” are sites where freestanding property, placed at multiple sites in a county, is located. Such freestanding property includes vending and amusement machines, LP/propane tanks, utility and cable company property, billboards, leased equipment, and similar property not customarily located in the offices, stores, or plants of the owner.

What are the important deadlines and penalties?

The DEADLINE for filing a timely return is April 1st. In order to qualify for exemption, a return must be filed timely. After April 1st, Florida Statutes provide that penalties will be applied at 5% per month or portion of a month that the return is late. A 15% penalty is required for unreported property and a 25% penalty if no return is filed at all (unless filing requirement was waived).

January 1: Date of Assessment
March 1: All exemption applications must be filed
April 1: Deadline for tangible tax return
August: Notice of proposed property tax mailed
September: Value Adjustment Board petition filing
November 1: Tax bills sent by the Tax Collector

I am no longer in business, should I still file the return?
If you were not in business on January 1st, you may notify our office the following 3 ways:

  1. Filing a return: Indicate the date you went out of business and the manner in which you disposed of your business assets. Remember, if you still have assets you must report them.
  2. Emailing our office at patpp@polk-county.net
  3. Mailing a letter to one of our 3 locations, found here

If you sold the business, please provide the name and contact information of the buyer.
What if I have old equipment that has been fully depreciated and written off the books?

Whether fully depreciated on your accounting records or not, all property still in use or in your possession should be reported.

Do I have to report assets that I lease, loan, rent, borrow, or are provided in the rent?

Yes, list this equipment on the first page, Schedule 1. Even though the assets are assessed to the owner, they must be listed for information purposes.

If I rent my furnished home or condo for a few months, should I file a Tangible Personal Property tax return?

Yes, since rental activity is of an income producing nature, you must file a return which lists your personal property. Items that should be listed include: Draperies, furniture, appliances and any other personal property included in the rental unit.

Is there a minimum value that I do not have to report?

No, there is no minimum value. The initial return described on the previous page must be filed by April 1st of the year after you start your business. Unless your filing requirement is waived, you must show all prior year additions on your return, without regard to cost.

Who is responsible for the taxes if I buy or sell an existing business during the year?

Tangible personal property taxes will be billed to the owner of record. Therefore, when the owner of record changes, the buyer becomes responsible for payment of the taxes. Most title companies do not do a title search of the assets of a business. You should, therefore, consult your real estate agent, attorney, or closing agent to avoid problems in this area.

What is the Tangible Personal Property Exemption?

In order to qualify for exemption, businesses must file a return by April 1st. New businesses must file an initial return, even if the value of the equipment listed on the return is less than $25,000 in order to be considered for an exemption. If there are no changes and the value is still $25,000 or less as of January 1 of following years, no filing is required. If your value increases more than $25,000 in future years, you are required to file a TPP Return, by April 1.

Mobile home attachments and appurtenances are qualified for the exemption. Mobile homes assessed as tangible personal property do not qualify.

Is a Mobile Home considered Real or Tangible Personal Property?

If you own both the land and the mobile home, (permanently set up), the mobile home is considered real property. If you do not own the land but do own the mobile home you are required to purchase a sticker/decal for your mobile home.

Any attachments (air conditioning, skirting, aluminum rooms, carports, etc.) to the mobile home are personal property. If no decal is purchased for the mobile home it will be considered personal property and will be taxed as such.

How does the Tangible Personal Property exemption affect mobile homes?

The exemption applies to mobile home attachments and appurtenances assessed as tangible personal property. The exemption does not apply to mobile homes assessed as tangible personal property.

Do I need to apply for the Tangible Personal Property Exemption?

Yes, to qualify every owner/business must file an initial tangible personal property return by April 1. The filing of Form DR-405 is considered an application for the $25,000 exemption.

How can I file for an extension?

Complete an extension request form or submit a letter from the business requesting an extension. The letter should include, the business name, TPP account number, and owner or requestor signature. Extension requests should be filed between March 18th - April 1st no later than 5:00pm and can be e-mailed to the Tangible Department, faxed to 863-534-4789, or mailed. Extensions granted receive an additional 30 days (45 day extensions are approved at the discretion of the office). Florida Statutes provide late file penalties be applied at 5% per month, not to exceed 25%. A 15% penalty is applied for unreported property. A 25% penalty is applied if no return is filed.

What do I report on my TPP return?
INCLUDE:

  1. Tangible Personal Property - Include all goods, chattels, and other articles of value (but not certain vehicles) capable of manual possession and whose chief value is intrinsic to the article itself. More specifically, all furniture, fixtures, equipment and supplies used in your business or rental property.
  2. 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 and MUST be reported after their initial lease or rental as equipment and/or furniture or fixtures.
  3. Property personally owned, but used in the business must be reported.
  4. ALL FULLY DEPRECIATED OR EXPENSED ASSETS MUST BE REPORTED AT TOTAL ORIGINAL COST.


DO NOT INCLUDE:

  1. Intangible Personal Property - that is, money, all evidence of debt owed to the taxpayer, all evidence of ownership in a corporation, etc.
  2. Household Goods such as wearing apparel, appliance, furniture, and other items ordinarily found in the home and used for the comfort of the owner and family, and not used for commercial purposes. (EXCEPTION: Hotel, Motel, Apartments & Rental Units).
  3. Automobiles, Trucks, and other Licensed Vehicles- These are not taxable as personal property. (EXCEPTION: The equipment, on certain vehicles, is taxable as personal property and must be reported. Examples include power cranes, air compressors, and other equipment designed as a tool rather than primarily as a hauling vehicle for commercial purposes.)
  4. Inventory - Those chattels consisting of items commonly referred to as goods, wares and merchandise which are held for sale or lease to customers in the ordinary course of business.
What value is given to Personal Property?

All property located in this county as of January 1st must be reported at 100% of the total original cost. Include transportation, handling, sales tax, freight and installation charges if incurred. Report the total cost of all assets.

ADJUSTMENTS TO VALUES - TAXPAYER'S ESTIMATE OF FAIR MARKET VALUE:

Enter only UNADJUSTED figures in areas calling for Original Cost. However, Florida law provides that the taxpayer shall also provide an estimate of the current fair market value of the property. An adjustment is a variation from purchase price paid. Adjusted figures MUST be explained before the adjustment can be considered.

Should Leasehold Improvements be reported?

Leasehold Improvements are improvements, made to a building or property, by a tenant. The tenant holds ownership of the improvements as stipulated by the property’s lease contract. The improvements must be removed or the property must be restored to its pre-lease condition at the expiration of the lease. The tenant/lessee, as the owner of the improvements, must file on the leasehold improvements as tangible personal property.

What if I don't agree with the assessed value?

Each August, we mail a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM Notice) to all owners of tangible personal property valued over $25,000. This notice discloses our estimate of the just value of your tangible personal property. If you believe our estimate is too high, you should call or come by our office to discuss the matter with us. We will consider any relevant information you provide and change the assessment, if appropriate. You also have appeal options through the Value Adjustment Board.

What if I don't file a return?

When a tax return is not filed by April 1st, we are required to place an assessment on the property. This assessment represents an estimate based on the value of businesses with similar equipment and assets. Being assessed does not alleviate your responsibility to file an accurate return.

Additional Tips and Suggestions
  • File the original return from this office (with name, account number, and barcode preprinted) as soon as possible before April 1st. Be sure to sign and date your return.
  • Work with your accountant or C.P.A. to identify any equipment that may have been "Physically Removed." List those items in the appropriate space on your return.
  • Attach a current asset listing or depreciation schedule that identifies each piece of equipment to your completed return. It is to your advantage to provide the asset listing, since depreciation on each item may vary.
  • If you have equipment that is permitted under the Department of Environmental Protection you may qualify for a reduction in value. Check with our office for more information.
  • When listing your equipment, do not use vague terms such as "various" or "same as last year."
  • If you do not know the age or original cost of an item, write a brief explanation right on the return along with your estimate of the fair market value of the equipment.
  • Additional information regarding filing is provided on the instruction sheet which is available for download on our website, here.
  • If you sell your company, go out of business, or move to a new location, please inform this office. Your courtesy notification is of critical importance in keeping our records up to date and accurate.

Tax Roll and Truth In Millage (TRIM)

What is a TRIM notice?

In 1980, the legislature passed the "Truth-in-Millage" (TRIM) act. This law is designed to inform taxpayers which government entity is responsible for the taxes levied and the amount of tax liability owed to each taxing entity. The Notice of Proposed Property Taxes is known as the TRIM notice.

What are the important dates and deadlines for the tax roll process?

The DEADLINE for filing a timely return is April 1st. In order to qualify for an exemption, a return must be filed on time. After April 1st, Florida Statutes provide that penalties be applied at 5% per month or portion of a month that the return is late. A 15% penalty is required for unreported property and a 25% penalty if no return is filed at all (unless filing requirement was waived).
January 1: All property is appraised as of this date for each tax year
March 1: All exemption applications must be filed
April 1: Deadline for tangible tax return
August: Notice of proposed property tax mailed (TRIM)
September: Deadline for Value Adjustment Board petition
November 1: Tax bills sent by the Tax Collector

Can the Property Appraiser lower my taxes or change my tax rates?

No, the tax rates and taxes are set by your local taxing authorities. A list of local taxing authorities can be found here.

Important Dates

Web site date
Friday, August 13, 2021

Mail out date
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

File a petition deadline
Monday, September 13, 2021

Missed the 2021 VAB deadline of September 13, 2021 and can show good cause? File a GOOD CAUSE PETITION.
Late File for 2021
Pre-file for 2022

You may file via mail, email, or online.
TPP Tax Return Deadline
4/1/2022

Extension Request Period
3/18/2022 - 4/1/2022

Martin Luther King Jr. Day
1/17/2022

Good Friday
4/15/2022

Memorial Day
5/30/2022

Independence Day
7/4/2022

Labor Day
9/5/2022

Veteran's Day
11/11/2022

Thanksgiving
11/24/2022 - 11/25/2022

Christmas
12/23/2022 - 12/26/2022