Appraiser concludes amendment explanations

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By Jeff M. Hardison

Levy County Property Appraiser Francis Akins recently sent the fourth of four parts of information concerning the proposed 2007 Property Tax Reform Legislation, which will become a constitutional amendment if 60 percent or more of the Florida voters approve it via the Jan. 29 ballot.

The fourth part deals with what is called the "Non-Homestead Property 10 Percent Cap."

The proposed constitutional amendment would make an exemption available to owners of real property who do not have a homestead exemption or an agriculture use assessment on the property, Akins said.

For instance, if a person owns a house and rents it, then this exemption would limit the increase in assessed value of the property to 10 percent per year for levies of all taxing authorities other than school districts.

Taxes imposed by the school districts are not affected by the proposed constitutional amendment, Akins said, except on the tangible personal property element, which was discussed in a previous release of information from Akins.

In regard to the 10 percent cap on non-homestead property, the property owner must apply each year to the property appraiser to receive this exemption, and to keep the annual exemption valid, Akins said.

The property appraiser must mail a renewal application to each exemption holder annually. Changes, additions or improvements to the property would be valued at "just value" as of Jan. 1 after the changes, additions or improvements are substantially complete, Akins said.

For residential property containing nine or fewer dwelling units, this limitation would apply until the property changes ownership or control. For all other property to which this assessment increase limitation applies, the limitation would apply until there is a change in ownership or control, or until there is an improvement to the property that increases its "just value" (market value) by at least 25 percent, Akins said.

Property would be reassessed at market value on Jan. 1 following the loss of the limitation. In subsequent years, the assessment limitation would again apply until another change in ownership or control or, if applicable, an improvement increasing just value by at least 25 percent, Akins said.

While 2008 is the base year for the limitation, the application required by the new law, is not required until March 1, 2009.

If this amendment is adopted by 60 percent or more of the Florida voters, and if a property owner has questions about its effect on his or her holdings, then he or she is advised to call the property appraiser of the Florida county where the property sits.