Watson Realty Corp. Realtors®

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How Property Taxes are Assessed

Florida’s property taxes average 1.1% of a home's assessed value. This is slightly below the national average of 1.211%. Florida’s property and sales taxes support the majority of state and local government funding, since the state does not levy a personal income tax. A good portion of Florida’s economy comes from seasonal residents and tourism. Over 100 million tourists visited the state in 2015. In addition to sales tax revenue, citizens of Florida benefit from a homestead exemption on their property taxes. This means seasonal residents, and those who own rental and commercial properties, pay a higher property tax rate than primary residents. Properties with assessed taxable values of $75,000 or more are eligible for a homestead exemption of $50,000. Properties with assessed values of less than $75,000 also receive this exemption on a sliding scale. In addition, the Save Our Homes (SOH) program limits the increase in taxable value of a primary residence to 3% per year. The accrued SOH benefit can be transferred when purchasing a new primary home within the state. Other exemptions for the elderly, the disabled and agricultural uses are also available. The millage rate within Florida varies depending on the county in which the property is located. In 2015, Walton County had the lowest millage rate at 9.5133, while Alachua County was the highest at 23.5605. Living in an unincorporated area typically results in a lower millage rate. For example, in Alachua County, the city of Gainesville accounts for 4.5079 of the total 23.5605 millage rate. For a primary home assessed at $200,000, the millage difference between Walton and incorporated Alachua County equates to $2,107.08 per year.Millage rates can vary drastically by city. In Lee County, the city of Fort Myers recorded a millage rate of 8.776 in 2015, plus a fire service fee, compared to the city of Bonita Springs at 3.1973, including the fire district fee. For a primary home assessed at $200,000, this results in a tax difference between the two cities of $882.63 per year, including the homestead exemption and fire service fee. In addition to property taxes based on the assessed value of the home, residents pay non-ad valorem taxes. These are assessments on properties for items including, but not limited to, fire service, solid waste, road maintenance, community development districts, waterways, bonds and water/sewer improvements.