Okeechobee County Property Appraiser - Okeechobee, FL
Okeechobee Florida
Okeechobee County Property Appraiser

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F A Q (Frequently Asked Questions)

Select a category, or scroll down to read the entire FAQ:

  • Tangible Personal Property
  • Appraisal & Taxation System
  • Mobile Homes
  • County Property Maps
  • Contact Info

    Tangible Personal Property (Back to Top)

    What is Tangible Personal Property?
    Everything other than real estate that has a value by itself. It includes items such 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.

    Who must file?
    Anyone in possession of assets on January 1, who has a proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or is a self-employed agent or contractor, must file each year. Property owners who lease, lend, or rent property must also file a return.

    In 2008, Florida Voters amended the State Constitution to provide an exemption of up to $25,000 of Personal Property for each owner. Every Property Owner must file in order to receive the $25,000 exemption and property owners with assets valued less than $25,000 must file once so that the Property Appraiser can determine how much property is to be exempted. After the initial filing accounts valued at less than $25,000 will not have to file annually.

    Why must I file a return?
    Florida Statute 193.052 requires that all tangible personal property be reported each year to the Property Appraiser's office. If you receive a return, it is because our office has determined that you may have property to report. If you feel that this form is not applicable, return it with an explanation. Either way, the form MUST be returned to our office. Failure to receive a Personal Property Tax Return (DR-405) does not relieve you of your obligation to file.

    How can I obtain the form DR-405?
    At the beginning of each year a return is mailed to all Tangible Personal Property owners. If you do not get one, please contact the Property Appraiser's office.
    or Click here to download the Tangible Tax Form (DR-405)

    What if I have no assets to report, do I still need to file a return?
    Yes, If you feel that you have nothing to report, fill out items 1-9 on the return and attach an explanation of why nothing was reported. However, almost all businesses and rental units have some assets to report even if they are only supplies, rented equipment or household goods.

    If I am no longer in business, should I still file a return?
    Yes. If you were not in business as of January 1st of the Tax Year do the following: On you 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 the assets, you must file a return and list these items.

    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 should be reported.

    Do I have to report assets that I lease, loan, borrow, rent, or are provided in the rent?
    Yes. There is an area on your return specifically for those assets. Even though the assets are assessed to the owner, they must be listed for informational purposes.

    If I rent my furnished home or dwelling for a few months a year, do I have to file a Tangible Personal 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 are: draperies, furniture, appliances and any other personal property included in a rental unit.

    What are the deadlines and penalties for late filing?
    The deadline for filing a timely return is April 1st. After April 1st, Florida Statutes provide that penalties be applied at 5% per month that the return is late. There is a 25% penalty if no return is filed!

    Appraisal & Taxation System (Back to Top)

    Does the Property Appraiser levy or collect taxes?
    No. The Property Appraiser assesses all property in the county and is neither a Taxing Authority nor a Tax Collector. The Property Appraiser has nothing to do with the amount of taxes levied or collected.

    Three separate government entities each having unique and distinct roles in producing your November tax bill. First, the Property Appraiser annually appraises all property in your county at the market value as of January 1. Next, each Taxing Authority within the county sets their own millage rate based on the amount of tax dollars necessary to fund their annual budget. Finally, the Tax Collector issues the bill and collects all taxes levied within the county.

    How is property appraised?
    The value of your property is considered each year as of Jan 1st. At least once every five years, the Property Appraiser or a staff appraiser will visit and inspect each property. Individual property values may be adjusted in light of sales activity or other factors affecting real estate values in your neighborhood. Sales of similar properties are strong indicators of value in the real estate market.

    To estimate the value of a property, the Property Appraiser must identify the properties that have sold, their sale prices and the terms and conditions of the each sale. Each transaction must be studied to make sure that it is an arms-length transaction.

    An arm's length transaction is a sale involving a willing seller and a willing buyer without any undue pressure or special incentives (such as family relationships). An arm's length transaction also means that the property was exposed to the market for a reasonable amount of time and that the transaction is based upon financing terms that are typical of the market.

    Once this is determined, the Property Appraiser can base the value of a property on sales of comparable properties. That is why Property Appraisers maintain an accurate data base of real estate information, and this is the sale comparison approach to value.

    The Florida Constitution has been amended effective January 1, 1995 to limit any annual increase in the assessed value of residential property with a Homestead Exemption to 3 percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. This limitation does not include any change, addition or improvement to a homestead (excluding normal maintenance or substantially equivalent replacement). During subsequent years, any improvements will fall under the Constitutional limitation. You will not lose your exemption because you improve your property.

    Two other methods are used to appraise property - the cost approach and the income approach. The cost approach is based on how much it would cost today to build an almost identical structure on the parcel. If your property is not new, the appraiser must also determine how much the building has lost value over time. The appraiser must also determine the value of the land itself - without buildings or any improvements. The income approach (usually performed on commercial property) requires a study of how much revenue your property would produce if it were rented as an apartment house, a store, an office building and so on. The appraiser must consider operating expenses, taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, and the return or profit most people would expect on the type of property you own.

    What is market value?
    Florida Law requires that the just value of all property be determined each year. The Supreme Court of Florida has declared "just value" to be legally synonymous to "full cash value" and "fair market value." The fair market value of your property is the amount for which it could sell on the open market. The Property Appraiser analyzes these market transactions annually to determine fair market value as of January 1. Remember that your value is approximately 1 year old when you pay your tax bill.

    When will I know the amount of my tax bill?
    Each August, the Property Appraiser sends a Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice to all property owners as required by law. This notice is very important -- look for it in the mail! You'll recognize it by prominent lettering, "DO NOT PAY - This is not a bill."

    The TRIM notice tells you the taxable value of your property. Taxable value is the assessed value less any exemptions.

    The TRIM notice also gives you information on proposed millage rates and taxes as estimated by your community taxing authorities. It also tells you when and where these authorities will hold public meetings to discuss tentative budgets to finalize your millage tax rates and, therefore, your taxes.

    What if I think the appraised value of my property is too high?
    If you think the taxable value shown on your TRIM Notice is not correct, you are encouraged to contact your Property Appraiser's office to speak with an appraiser. The appraiser can explain how we determine your property's value. You have specific legal rights. As there are time limits with regards to these rights, contact the Property Appraiser's office as soon as possible if you have questions regarding your valuation or your exemption status. If you are not satisfied with our response, you may file a claim with the Valuation Adjustment Board.
    Click here for more information about the Value Adjustment Board

    Mobile Homes (Back to Top)

    Is my Mobile home considered Real or Tangible property?
    If you own both the land and the mobile home, it is considered Real Property. If you do NOT own the land but do own the mobile home, you are required to purchase a MH sticker for your mobile home in January of each year. The MH sticker takes the place of Tangible Personal taxes on the mobile home. Any attachments to the mobile home would be considered personal property. If no MH sticker is purchased and visibly affixed, then both the mobile home and attachments are considered personal property.

    County Property Maps (Back to Top)

    Check out our on-line Record Search feature for full access to your Property Assessments and Interactive GIS Map.

    Contact Info (Back to Top)

    Please visit our Contact Us page for more information.

    The information on this website was derived from data which was compiled by the Okeechobee County Property Appraiser Office solely for the governmental purpose of property assessment. This information should not be relied upon by anyone as a determination of the ownership of property or market value. No warranties, expressed or implied, are provided for the accuracy of the data herein, it's use, or it's interpretation. Although it is periodically updated, this information may not reflect the data currently on file in the Property Appraiser's office.
    © Okeechobee County Property Appraiser | Mickey L. Bandi, CFA | Okeechobee, Florida | 863-763-4422 by GrizzlyLogic.com (g4)