Ad Valorem* - Ad Valorem is a Latin term meaning "according to value." An ad valorem tax is a tax based on the value of property.
Ad Valorem Taxes - A tax levied in proportion to the value of the thing(s) being taxed.
Adjusted Value - The product obtained by multiplying the unit value times the number of units, times the total adjustments
AFD- Agreement for deed
Agricultural Classification - A land taxation classification (not related to zoning) granted to properties that are used in a commercial agricultural operation. Applications for agricultural classification must be submitted to the Property Appraiser's Office between January 1 and March 1.
Amendment 10 - Also known as SAVE OUR HOMES (SOH) - A constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1992 and taking effect in 1994. This provision limits increases in assessed value on property receiving homestead exemption to 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. CAUTION! When a property with the SOH cap is sold the cap and the homestead exemption are removed on December 31 of the year of the sale, and the property goes to the full appraised value. Taxes could be substantially higher than what the previous owner was paying. (On January 29, 2008, Florida citizens voted to pass Amendment 1. One of the provisions of Amendment 1 allows qualified property owners to "port" their Save Our Homes Cap when they move from their homesteaded property to another Florida property. Another provision increased the homestead exemption. To see how this works CLICK HERE.)
ASSESSED VALUE: the value that has been capped by an assessment cap, such as the Save Our Homes Cap or the 10% assessment cap on non-homestead parcels. The Save Our Homes Cap, which was voted into law effective January 1, 1995, limits annual increases in assessed value of property with homestead exemption to 3 percent, or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. (For more information about the 10% non-homestead assessment cap, visit the Florida Department of Revenue website.)
Appraisal Date - The date the assessments for a year are to be made. For example, if January 1 is the assessment date and a lot is vacant on that date, the lot will be assessed as vacant even though a building may be completed on it later in the year.
Arm's Length Transaction - A sale on the open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither of whom is related to or under abnormal pressure from the other.
Assessed Value - The property's just/market value adjusted for applicable Save Our Homes Cap limitations. For property with no Save Our Homes Cap, the just/market value and assessed value are the same.
Assessment Roll* (aka Property Value Roll or Tax Roll): An assessment roll is a systematic listing of information pertaining to the just valuation of all real property within each county in the State of Florida for purposes of ad valorem taxation.
ATF: Attic Finished - An area between the roof rafters and ceiling joists accessible from the Base by a permanent stairwell (fixed or drop-stairs). Has finished (plywood or other floor) rather than exposed joists. Vertical walls usually have some finished material (wood or drywall).
BBAS: Base - Living area of the building. Base living area functions with living kitchen and bath area under the same roof line.
BMF: Basement Finished - The lowest story of a building, partially or wholly below ground level; but with finished materials on the ceiling and/or walls, painted or unpainted, non-living area. (Rare in Pinellas County.)
BMU: Basement Unfinished - A basement area of lesser quality than BMF.
BSF: Base Semi Finished - Living area of a building which can either be an addition or a conversion of an existing component; close to the same structural integrity and quality of the Base. The most common differences between BAS and BSF is often roof framing, roof cover, and exterior wall construction indicating an area of lesser quality.
BNF- Beneficiary of Trust
C - Contract for deed.
Cadastral Map - A map listing the value, extent, and ownership of land in a given district for the purposes of taxation.
Census Tract - Census tracts are small, relatively permanent statistical subdivisions within counties designed to be homogeneous with respect to population characteristics, economic status, and living conditions. Census tract data allows a user to find population and housing statistics about a specific part of an urban area.
Condominium - A property is classified as a "Condo" based on the way it is platted and/or declared by the developer. In a condo, an owner has both separate ownership of an individual unit, and a common interest along with the other owners in the common areas. Because a "condo" is defined by how it is platted and the type of ownership, it is possible for a subdivision of separate homes to be "condos" even if they are not units in a common condo building.
CPF: Carport Finished - Usually attached to and sharing a common wall with Base, may have one or more decorative walls (lattice or block). Generally has a sturdy roof with a finished ceiling covering and a concrete or asphalt parking pad. May or may not have electrical outlets or an overhead light, construction quality and appearance in keeping with Base.
CPU: Carport Unfinished - An area of lesser quality than CPF, e.g., metal roof or open, exposed beams, minimal roof support posts, parking pad may be concrete, asphalt, shell or packed earth, usually no electrical service.
DCF: Detached Carport Finished - A detached carport with a finished ceiling and/or an exterior wall up to two feet. See Carport Finished.
DCU: Detached Carport Unfinished - A detached area of lesser quality than DCF, e.g., metal roof or open, exposed beams, minimal roof support posts, parking pad may be concrete, asphalt, shell or packed earth; usually no electrical service.
DGF: Detached Garage Finished - A detached garage with finished materials on the walls and ceilings, painted or unpainted. See Garage Finished.
DGU: Detached Garage Unfinished - A detached area of lesser quality than DGF, e.g., unfinished ceilings (beams or rafters exposed), minimal or no electrical outlets, concrete or other hard packed parking pad or floor, typically will not have insulation.
DOP: Detached Open Porch - A detached pool "cabana" of the same construction as house.
DSF: Detached Semi-Finished - A detached structure comparable to Base structure which functions as living area. Can have a kitchen or bath but does not serve as primary living area. Value is calculated at 100% of the Base rate.
DSU: Detached Semi-Unfinished - A detached structure comparable to DSF without the same completeness of finish, e.g. concrete floor finish, no cabinets or plumbing fixtures, etc.
DUF: Detached Utility Finished - A detached area with finished materials on the walls and ceilings, painted or unpainted. See Utility Room Finished.
DUU: Detached Utility Unfinished: A detached area of lesser quality than DGF, e.g., interior walls may be unfinished, bare, or painted concrete block, exposed from studding or open beamed ceilings.
Effective Age - The difference between a property's total economic life and its remaining economic life.
Effective Square Feet - The sum total square footage of the results from multiplying the BAS square footage by their respective factor.
EPF: Enclosed Porch Finished - Functions as an extension of living area, a self-contained component (Florida or Family room) and can be either an addition or conversion, usually of lesser quality construction. May or may not have a step down from BAS, insulation, heating or cooling. Often will have a service door and/or sliding glass doors leading to or from the Base or exterior.
EPU: Enclosed Porch Unfinished - An area of lesser quality than EPF, e.g., aluminum or frame construction, unfinished ceilings (exposed beams), owner built, aluminum pan-type roof, etc.
Exemption - A reduction to the assessed value of property, the most common being homestead exemption. Read more about exemptions.
Extra Features - Extra Features are items separate from the main structure(s) of a property (pool, patio, shed, etc.) which add value to the property by providing additional utility.
Factor - A number by which a given quantity (i.e., square footage) is multiplied in order to indicate a weighted result.
Fixture - For property tax purposes, a fixture refers to the sink, tub, toilet, shower, tub/shower combination, and/or bidet in a bathroom or powder room.
Floor System - That portion of a structure immediately above the foundation that consists of the structural material from which the floor system is made.
Foundation - That portion of a structure that lies beneath the floor system of all building structures.
Frontage - Describes the physical location of the building site in relation to geographic features which set it apart from most other sites.
GRF: Garage Finished - Shares a common wall with Base. Exterior walls, roof type and covering similar to Base. Usually has a finished ceiling, finished concrete floor, electrical outlets. May or may not have insulation.
Gross Area Square Feet - The sum square feet of the BAS (base) square feet plus each sub-area square footage.
GRU: Garage Unfinished - An area of lesser quality than GRF, e.g., unfinished ceiling (beams or rafters exposed), minimal or no electrical outlets, concrete or other hard packed parking pad or floor, usually will not have insulation.
Highest and Best Use - Highest and Best Use is that use which will generate the highest net return to the property over a reasonable period of time.
I - Indicates a transaction was for an improved property.
Improvements - Buildings or other relatively permanent structures, such as extra features, located on or attached to land.
Just Value* (aka Just/Market Value) - "The price at which a property, if offered for sale in the open market, with a reasonable time for the seller to find a purchaser, would transfer for cash or its equivalent, under prevailing market conditions between parties who have knowledge of the uses to which the property may be put, both seeking to maximize their gains and neither being in a position to take advantage of the exigencies of the other."
It is important to understand that the current tax year Market Value is based on the condition of the property and market conditions as of January 1, and is established by analyzing market information, including sales that took place in the prior year. The current tax year is listed in the data headings on each property information page.
Land Use Code - A two digit code signifying the land's use. View the Use Code list.
Land Value - The estimated market value of the land.
Legal Description - A statement in words or codes identifying land for all purposes of law.
Living Area Square Feet - The sum of the following types of areas within a building (Some of the subarea types are not necessarily found in residential properties): Base (BAS); Base Semi-finished (BSF); Upper Story Finished (USF); Apartment (APC); Service Production (SPN); Office-Average (OFA); Store Sales (SSA); Office-Good (OFG); Upper Story Base (USB); Lower Area Finished (LAF); Upper Story High (USH) @50% (Example: 1000 square feet x .50 = 500 square feet); Upper Story Low (USL) @ 30%.
LAF - Lower Area Finished - An area of lesser quality than BSF, usually found as an improved or enhanced area within the ST-0 level e.g., enclosed entry or foyer at the ST-0 level with a stairway or elevator leading to the ST-1 level.
Overall Rule - Quality and finish is less than BSF but is better than EPF.
M - The property on the deed is identified in our office with more than one parcel number.
Market Value* - An alternative term for Just Value. A prediction of the most probable selling price of a property on January 1, less the approximate cost of the sale.
Mass appraisal - the process of valuing a group of properties as of a given date (in Florida the date is January 1), using standard methods and allowing for statistical testing.
Method- Method used to determine units: AC = Acreage; FF = Front foot; LT = Lot; NA = Not Applicable; SF = Square foot; UT =Units.
Mill - One mill is $1.00 of property taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value. A 20-mill tax rate levied against a taxable value of $100,000 would generate a $2,000 tax liability.
Millage Rate - The tax rate the Taxing Authorities use to fund their annual budgets. A Mill is one dollar per one thousand dollars of taxable value.
Municipality - An incorporated area of the county such as a City, Town or Village.
Neighborhood Code - This code identifies the appraisal "neighborhood" for purposes of establishing the sales comparison approach to value. It may not correspond with your particular subdivision or geographic neighborhood; it is strictly a construct for use in the mass appraisal process. When establishing the sales comparison approach to value we use an appraisal area model to obtain an estimate of value. The model can include hundreds of sales. We then review a subset of sales more closely identified with a particular property, referred to as the appraisal neighborhood. We give the greatest emphasis to sales within the appraisal neighborhood through use of a neighborhood "factor." Through statistical analysis of all of these sales, we establish sales comparison values that account for different property characteristics (such as location, size, amenities, construction quality, view, etc.).
Official Record Book (OR) - The designated book where a document is recorded in the Official Records of the County.
Official Record Page - The designated page within an Official Records Book where is document is recorded.
OPF: Open Porch Finished - A covered porch that is open on one to three sides, usually supported by posts or pillars of wood, metal, or concrete block, but can also be a four foot or more extension of the roof line. Roof type and roof covering being compatible with Base; finished ceiling; insulated metal roof; an electrical outlet may be ceiling or horizontally mounted; finished concrete slab; ceramic tile; decorative stone or wood.
OPU: Open Porch Unfinished - An area of lesser quality than "OPF". May have a different roof line, roof covering, pan roof, unfinished ceiling, inferior vertical supports, and something less than a slab.
Parcel Number - an 18 digit number assigned to each parcel of land and each living unit within a condominium or cooperative. Used to locate and identify the parcel or unit. The numbers are defined as: section / township / range / subdivision / block / lot.
Personal Property - All property other than real estate that is not permanently attached and is, therefore, movable. Of this type of property, the Property Appraiser assesses only Tangible Personal Property, such as furnishings, fixtures and equipment used for business purposes, including rental furnishings. An individuals property and furniture for personal use are not assessed.
PUD (Planned Unit Development): "A land area zoned for a single-community subdivision with flexible restrictions on residential, commercial, and public uses" (Black's Law Dictionary 8th Ed. pg 1188). In a PUD, residents own their home as well as a specific, designated lot (as opposed to an interest in common elements, as is the case in a condo).
Property Use Code -A four digit code signifying the property's use. View the Use Code list.
Property Value Roll - The master list of the assessed value of all taxable property within your government's jurisdiction. The list is certified to all local taxing authorities by July 1 of each year.
Q - Qualified sales (for appraisal purposes) best represent market pressures, as they are transactions which are arrived at by unrelated educated buyers and sellers with no undue pressures on either party.
Quality - A subjective classification of a structure intended to describe materials used, workmanship, architectural attractiveness, functional design, and the like.
Real Property - Rights to land and to the improvements to the land.
REM - Remainderman: a term used in a life estate. A life estate is an estate for the duration of an individual's life. At the time of that person's death, the estate ends and the property reverts to the grantor or to a third party, the remainderman.
Sales Comparison - The "Sales Comparison" value indicator on our website is a preliminary value indication as of January 1 of the tax year, based on the sales comparison approach to value only. This value is provided solely for your information; the Just/Market Value is the primary value established by our office for tax purposes.
The Property Appraiser values property using mass appraisal methods for property tax purposes. In mass appraisal, large groups of sales are used to provide value indications for large populations of properties every year. In Pinellas County, we have 23 residential market areas, and those areas are divided into neighborhoods. Each one of those areas has several hundred annual sales that we use to value between 9 and 12 thousand parcels.
In comparison, an independent property appraiser values only one parcel at a time and typically selects three to six sales to compare to the property being appraised. The individual properties presented at the Value Adjustment Board hearing by the Property Appraiser's office are presented only as examples of the comparable sales. They are not the only sales used in establishing values, nor were they considered identical to your property. Our appraisal models use hundreds of sales from the market, and through statistical analysis establish values that account for different property characteristics (such as size, amenities, construction quality, location, etc.).
Sales Comparison Approach - A method or approach in appraising in which a property's value (or some other characteristic, such as its depreciation) is estimated by reference to comparable sales.
Sales Data - The elements of information needed from each property for some purpose, such as appraising properties by the direct sales comparison approach. Sales data for a property may include the date of the transaction, the Official Records Book and Page number (which is held in the Clerk of the Circuit Court's Office), the recorded document stamp price, whether the sale is listed as qualified or unqualified, and whether the parcel is vacant or improved.
Sales Query - The Sales Query list is a list of all qualified residential sales in the same appraisal neighborhood as the subject property since January 1, 2006. Not every sale on this list may have been used to establish this parcel's value. Sales from other areas and neighborhoods within Pinellas County may have also been used.
Save Our Homes Cap - Also known as Amendment 10. A constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1992 and taking effect in 1995. This provision limits increases in assessed value on property receiving homestead exemption to 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. CAUTION! When a property with the SOH cap is sold the cap and the homestead exemption are removed on December 31 of the year of the sale, and the property goes to the full appraised value. TAXES COULD BE SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN WHAT THE PREVIOUS OWNER WAS PAYING.
On January 29, 2008, Florida citizens voted to pass Amendment 1. One of the provisions of Amendment 1 allows qualified property owners to "port" their Save Our Homes Cap when they move from their homesteaded property to another Florida property. To see how this works CLICK HERE.
Read more about Save Our Homes.
Short Sales - A "short sale" refers to the sale of real property for a price that is less than the owner's outstanding debt secured by the property.
Situs - The actual or assumed location of a property for purposes of taxation.
Special Magistrate - A person appointed by the Value Adjustment Board to hear appeals concerning values, classified uses and exemptions, and to render findings of fact based on the law.
SPF: Screen Porch Finished - A covered area with one or more walls of screening that can extend from floor to ceiling, possibly with a knee wall or kick plate. Usually exterior walls will be concrete block, wood, or metal frame, generally has a sturdy roof with a finished ceiling, may or may have insulation, electrical outlets, floor covering or vinyl window panels. Insulated metal roof rather than pan roof.
SPU: Screen Porch Unfinished - An area of lesser quality than SPF, e.g., aluminum or wood frame construction with unfinished ceilings, owner-built/constructed, pan roof.
STM/SEC SH: Storm/Security Shutters - A mechanical device that opens and shuts to cover and protect a window or other opening.
Tax Base - The total taxable value of property within your local government.
Taxing District - The taxing district in which the property is located. This information is important if you are seeking to pull a permit for work on the property, you want to inquire as to what municipal laws and codes you are bound as a property owner, etc. See a complete list of taxing districts within municipal boundaries and unincorporated Pinellas County.
Taxable Value - (County, School and Municipal) The assessed value less any exemptions.
Total Adjustments - Total Adjustments represent the product of factors applied to land value for frontage, depth, shape, location along a major thoroughfare, etc., where a change in value may be warranted.
TR - Parcel is in a trust
TRE - Trustee
Truth In Millage (TRIM) - A notice from local governments designed to inform taxpayers which governmental entity is responsible for the taxes levied and the amount of tax liability owed to each taxing entity. It enables the taxpayer to compare the prior year assessed value and taxes with the present year assessed value and proposed taxes. It also lets taxpayers compare the amount of taxes if there is no budget change for the upcoming year. The notice lists the date, time, and location of all budget hearings at which the taxing authorities will hear from the public. At these hearings, the taxing authorities establish the millage to be levied against the parcel of land shown on the TRIM notice. The notice also shows the deadline for filing a petition to protest the assessment and any denial of exemption. View a sample TRIM Notice.
U - Unqualified Sale. Unqualified sales may consist of foreclosures, court settlements, transfers of deed between relatives, etc., in which full market value is not arrived at in the transaction.
Units - The number of units of an improvement, such as square foot or linear foot.
USF: Upper Story Finished - Fully utilized upper level
USH: Upper Story High - Living area where the upper story perimeter walls are greater than five feet in height and less than eight feet in height, with access to the upper story via a fixed or permanent stairway.
USL: Upper Story Low - Living area where upper story perimeter walls are less than five feet in height, with access to the upper story via a fixed or permanent stairway.
USU: Upper Story Unfinished - living area which is not a complete as USF due to quality of materials and/or workmanship, e.g., unfinished ceiling and/or walls.
UTF: Utility Room Finished - An interior finished room or area located within the gross building area having finished walls, ceiling, floor, interior grad door, electrical and possibly some plumbing. Primarily used as storage, not used as living area.
UTU: Utility Room Unfinished - An area of lesser quality than UTF, i.e., interior walls may be unfinished, bare, or painted concrete block, exposed frame studding or open beamed ceilings.
V - Indicates a transaction was for a vacant property.
Value Adjustment Board (VAB) - A board comprised of two County Commissioners, one School Board member, and two county citizen members. One county citizen is appointed by the County Commission and must own homestead property within the county. The other is appointed by the School Board and must own a business occupying commercial space within the school district. This board makes decisions on valuation, classified use, and exemption appeals.
View - View is used to describe the building site by its proximity to a geographic feature when the site does not front the feature but is near enough to be influenced by its view, except for park/conservation, which is checked for view even if it is actual frontage. (Each site may only have one selection, either frontage or view, where applicable).
W, X, Y, Z
XFSB - Extra Feature/Special Building. Used to describe and value those items that are separate from the main structure(s), such as a pool, patio deck, or shed, for example.* For more detailed definitions, see the Florida Real Property Appraisal Guidelines on the Florida Department of Revenue website