The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 8 No. 50 - September 3, 2008


Deciphering your property tax bill

Did you get your 2008 tax statement yet? Do you have any clue what it means? If not, join the majority of Manatee County homeowners. Confused would be a gross understatement to describe the way most property owners are feeling this week. They were expecting a decrease of at least several hundred dollars in their 2008 tax bill, but instead, many saw much less than that and some even had an increase.

There are two reasons for our tax bill not being as low as we might have anticipated. The first reason is based on the doubling of the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000 which was part of Amendment 1 approved by Florida voters in January. The extra $25,000 homestead exemption only applies to less than half of your tax bill since school taxes are excluded in this exemption. This part of the amendment was clear when we voted it into law in January, however, until you see the numbers in black and white the impact isn’t the same.

The second reason the tax bills are not as low as we anticipated is because of a little-known rule called the Recapture Rule, which is part of the original Save Our Homes Amendment passed in 1995. This rule gives the property appraiser the ability to raise the assessed value of a homesteaded property by a maximum of 3 percent on all properties assessed at less than full market value whether or not that property’s value increased during the calendar year.

Got that? Well here’s an example: your property’s market value increases by 10 percent last year. Since you are homesteaded the property appraiser can only increase the value by 3 percent under Save Our Homes. Next year, your property valued did not change or went down. Since its assessed value under Save Our Homes remains under market value, the property appraiser must increase the assessed value by 3 percent to bring its value closer to full market value. In order words, since your property value did not increase, you couldn’t benefit from the 3 percent cap, and your assessed value was required to go up by that amount.

This is exactly what happened on my personal tax bill, the assessed value went up exactly 3 percent. My overall taxes still went down over $100, but like everyone else, less than I expected.

Non-homesteaded property owners who have never benefited from the Save Our Homes Amendment are not subject to the 3 percent Recapture Rule and will probably see a larger tax cut.

Nevertheless, 90 percent of homesteaded owners will see actual savings on their assessments just not as much as they thought, and 88 percent of non-homesteaded property owners will pay less.

Even though you may be a little disappointed now, I still feel that passing Amendment 1 in January was a good thing. The amendment also contained the portability provision allowing you to transfer your Save Our Homes cap up to $500,000 if you move your primary residence and a cap on non-homesteaded properties. I feel both of these changes will have a positive affect on the real estate market in the years ahead.

If it’s any consolation, the property appraiser states in his letter, "This will be the first time since the adoption of the Save Our Homes Amendment that this rule will come into effect as the result of declining market values in some areas."

So if you’re feeling clueless about your property taxes, you’re not alone. I bet even Charles Hackney is a little confused.

Real Estate Transactions
Closed sales between May 19 to June 13, 2008

Anna Maria

83 North Shore Drive Single family $775,000
208 Lakeview Drive Single family 585,000
715 Holly Rd. Single family 550,000
110 Cedar Ave. Single family 462,200
701 N. Bay Blvd. Single family 419,100
515 Spring Ave. Single family 405,000

Bradenton Beach

1104 Gulf Drive N. Single family $1,425,000
200 Gulf Drive S. #1 Condo 750,000
104 Gulf Drive S. #104 Condo 460,000
2700 Gulf Drive N. #207 Condo 450,000
107 Eighth St. S. #8 Condo 330,000
1007 Gulf Drive N. #213 Condo 300,000
2114 Ave. A Lot 225,000
1801 Gulf Dr. N. #271 Condo 210,000
2116 Ave A Single family 185,000
1000 Gulf Drive N. #6 Condo 168,900
204 Church Ave. #13 Condo 130,000


4412 125 St. W. Trailer park $9,500,000

Holmes Beach

6006 Gulf Drive #109 Condo $1,220,000
503 69th St. Single family 950,000
6700 Gulf Drive #20 Condo 600,000
117 Neptune Lane Duplex 565,000
3208 Sixth Ave. Condo 455,000
201 35th St. #6 Condo 447,500
108 49th St. N. Half duplex 375,000
402 Clark Lane Duplex 360,000
6500 Flotilla Drive #186 Condo 314,000
3402 Sixth Ave. #3 Condo 305,000
204 54th St. Duplex 300,000
6300 Flotilla Drive. #76 Condo 227,300

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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