By Dina Pittman, Hendry County Property Appraiser
When it comes to property taxes, it’s not uncommon for neighbors to wonder why their tax bills differ from each other. In this article, we will explore the factors that contribute to varying taxable values in Hendry County, FL. By understanding the different types of values and exemptions, you can gain insight into why your taxes may be higher or lower compared to your neighbors.
Let’s take a closer look at three friends: Claire, Logan, and Meg. They have been close friends since high school and recently purchased identical houses in the same neighborhood, right next door to each other. However, when they received their trim notices, they were surprised to find that their tax bills were significantly different.
To get some answers, they decided to visit the Hendry County Property Appraiser’s office. There, they learned about the different types of values that contribute to their tax bills. The first type is the market value, which is based on recent sales of similar properties. The second type is the assessed value, which is derived from the market value with certain assessment reductions applied.
To better visualize this, let’s imagine a graph. The market value, represented by the black line, is the same for all three properties. However, the assessed values, represented by different colored lines, vary significantly.
Claire, represented by the red line, purchased her house in 2015. At that time, the market value was $220,000. She immediately homesteaded the property, which made her eligible for the Save Our Homes 3% cap. This cap limits the annual increase in assessed value to no more than 3% as long as Claire maintains her homestead status. While the market value may have increased over the years, Claire’s assessed value did not exceed the 3% cap.
Logan, represented by the yellow line, decided to sell his house and move next door in 2017 when the values had increased to $275,000. Like Claire, Logan homesteaded his new property and was also eligible for a benefit called portability. Portability allows homeowners to transfer the difference between the market value and assessed value from their previous homestead to a new property. Therefore, Logan’s taxes fall between Claire’s and Meg’s.
Lastly, Meg, represented by the blue line, bought her house at the same time as Logan but did not file for homestead as she uses the property as her second residence. Without homestead protection, Meg is subject to the non-Save Our Homes 10% cap. This means her assessed value can increase by no more than 10% each year. As a result, Meg’s tax bill is the highest among the three friends.
This example highlights just one of many reasons why identical houses can have significantly different tax bills. Factors such as the timing of purchase, homestead exemptions, and benefit programs like portability can greatly influence taxable values.
By understanding these factors, Claire, Logan, and Meg now have a clearer understanding of why their taxes differ. They can remain friends knowing that each property is accurately assessed based on their individual circumstances.
If you have any further questions or need assistance with your property taxes, don’t hesitate to contact the Hendry County Property Appraiser’s office. We are here to help you navigate the complexities of property taxation and ensure a fair assessment. Just mention that Dina sent you, and we’ll be glad to assist you!
In conclusion, understanding why taxes may be higher or lower than your neighbors’ involves various factors like market value, assessed value, homestead exemptions, and benefit programs. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you can gain insight and clarity into your tax bill. Remember, if you have any questions or need further assistance, reach out to the Hendry County Property Appraiser’s office – we’re here to help!