The Portability Process A County Perspective FCIAAO Annual Conference Hutchinson Island Marriott October 30, 2008
Presented by: • Debbie Morawski, Martin County • Marsha Coleman, Citrus County • Erin Moore, Pinellas County • Brenda Dye, Palm Beach County
Process • Overview: Implementaion, Application and Exchange • VAB Issues • Dividing Benefits & Assorted Conundrums • Forms and Other Dilemmas
Election Day January 29, 2008 Amendment 1 All 4 parts will have a major impact on the Property Appraiser’s Offices around the State We anxiously wait during day and night biting our nails. Will it pass? Amendment 1
January 30, 2008 • Amendment 1 passes. • Now what do we do? • Time to implement. • What’s first? • Phone rings off the hook, taxpayers start calling. • They want to know, How do I apply for Amendment 1?
I know, I’ll e-mail all my friends in other counties, they’ll know what to do. • They were all ready to help. • We discussed the most pressing issues. • Shared our thoughts and ideas
Thank goodness for e-mail. • We burn up the e-mail around the State. • What’s the plan? • Do you have a form yet? • What do we tell the taxpayers? • They’re anxious to get “Ported”.
Amendment 1 Anonymous, aka (A1A) • Creation of support group called “Amendment 1 Anonymous” A1A. • I’ve included membership certificates in my presentation packet. Just fill in your name. Oh, and membership is free. • Now we feel better. • We can go forward and make a plan.
Martin County • Step 1. Decide what needs to be done. • Step 2. Who’s going to do it? • Step 3. Move, if you can’t beat them, join them or change careers? Just kidding. Ha! Ha!
Forms:?????? • A lot of time was been spent developing forms for porting. • However, I think there is room for improvement. • We are going to hand out samples of all the portability forms to you.
Forms cont. • While you are here today, please write the changes you think should be made to them. • We will collect them later this morning. • Then Howard Moyes can take them to the DOR forms person/people for review.
We had forms now we got started • Now that we had forms we could begin taking applications. • We decided there would be 3 different groups of applications. • We realized there would be a lot of tracking.
Set up files So we created 3 separate files One file for applicants who moved within Martin county One file for applicants who moved to Martin County from another county One file for applicants who moved from Martin to another county
Applicants who moved within our county • Homestead and portability application is filed. • The applications are stapled together. • If the application is complete the clerk taking application stamps homestead application with a “Portability” stamp. • Application was put in Martin to Martin file.
Martin to Martin Cont. • A Customer Service Specialist was assigned to fill out all DR-501R forms for all applications in this file. • Same specialist was responsible for getting this portability info entered into our tax roll system.
Applicants who moved to Martin County from another county • Our Senior CSS Sandy was assigned to process these applications. • She was responsible for sending the DR-501T forms to the county the applicant moved from and making sure we received the DR-501R. • The Dr-501T form was faxed to the appropriate county with a copy of the homestead application.
To Martin from another county cont. • We used the fax as our method of sending the applications to other counties. • A note was made on the application and a report was generated from the fax showing when we sent it. • When we received the DR-501R form from the prior homestead county, Our Sr CSS (Senior Customer Service Specialist) verified that there was a value to port and then entered the information in our tax roll system.
To Martin from another county cont. • If the Dr-501R form indicated that the applicant didn’t have a differential to port to his/her new homestead, that applicant was sent a letter telling them there was $0.00 to port. • Or if the DR-501R form indicated that the applicant didn’t qualify to port, either they didn’t have homestead in 2007 or the prior homestead was not abandoned, then that applicant was sent a denial.
From Martin to another county • My assistant or I process the Dr-501T applications we received from other counties. • Mostly my assistant. Wendy stand up and take a bow. • This was an additional challenge this year because we converted to a new computer system and we had a difficult time finding the values we needed to put on the form.
From Martin to another county cont. • We received the DR-501T forms by various means, fax, e-mail, slow mail or even Federal Express (must have been from the wealthy counties). • Most counties sent the homestead application with the port applications but not all. We found it very helpful when they were sent as part of the application. • We used our fax to respond in most cases unless the county specifically asked that we e-mail the forms to them. Then we would scan the forms and send them with an e-mail.
From Martin to another county cont. • We kept a copy of the application, DR-501T and DR-501R form for our files. • There were quite a few occasions where the county would contact us later and ask us to send the forms again. • We would make sure the applicants exemptions were removed and the mailing address changed on the account if they still owned the property in our county.
Double checking • As I said earlier, this year we not only dealt with Amendment 1, we also went through a computer conversion. • Here’s our new one. The system’s name is GRM. We fondly called “Grim”. • It has been a challenge.
Getting the numbers right. • We created a spread sheet of all applications for portability. • We put the value data, ownership data etc. on this spreadsheet. • We loaded the portability info from the spreadsheet onto our tax roll system and our new computer calculated the portability amount.
The numbers cont. • Our computer system is set to calculate the portability amount based on the data we enter. • Our system will automatically decide if the change to the new property is an upsize or a downsize. The system will look at whatever we set the current years market value to be and do a calculation based on the data we had entered earlier into our system. • This allows us to enter all the data as we get the applications and we don’t have to wait for the current years final values to do our part of the work.
Tracking • We kept paper files • We also entered all applications on a spreadsheet. • We scanned images of all applications. • We crossed checked all these files to make sure all applications were properly responded to and processed.
The numbers • Total applications filed in Martin County for 2008. • 601 • Total value exempted through portability in Martin County. • $ 47,558,826 (Preliminary tax roll) • Applicants with nothing to port. • 67
The numbers cont. • Total number of 2008 port applications denied in Martin. • 30 • Total number of petitions disputing denial of port or value ported in 2008. • 14, This number includes late filed portability applications.
Pet peeves • Receiving an application for portability with the applicants social security number blocked on the homestead application. • Receiving an application for portability without a copy of the homestead application.
New words or Old words with new uses Port, porting, re-port, ported These words used in sentences by taxpayers: Really they did. How much will my taxes be if I port my homestead when I retire in 5 years? I want to do that porting thing. Can I re-port my same homestead? I haven’t been ported yet. How do I do that?
Other portability anomalies New phrase: I want to move my taxes from my old home to my new home. How do I do that? The Art of Porting Creative taxpayer in our county figured out that if they abandon their hx, file a new hx application, apply to port differential from 2007, she would have an additional benefit of $50,000.
New support group: A1A (Amendment 1 Anonymous) Does anyone have any questions?
Little story about Mike and Leanne – 2 people fed up with the “big” city land. After 25 years in the house that they built… they moved to Citrus County and had no guilt!
Mike and Leanne come in to file for Homestead Citrus County Employee “What was your last address?” Mike and Leanne “We just moved from “Big” City Florida
The DR-501T The astute Property Appraiser employee hands Mike and Leanne a DR-501T so that they can file for Portability
The next step The portability application is then attached to the Homestead Application and it is all sent over to the Exemptions Department for review
Meanwhile in Exemptions The paperwork finally makes it to the Exemptions Department, where it gets reviewed and …….an eagle eye spots the DR-501T attached and carefully fills out the DR-501RVSH to submit to “Big” City FL
The DR-501RVSH (the newest “improved” DR-501R) The DR-501RVSH is then sent over to the old county by way of
The wait is on…… Within 14 days information is received back from “Big” City FL about the DR-501RVSH
The Approval Everyone is happy when portability is able to be used and the amount is to the property owners liking
The Denial The property owner will not be happy when a DR-490 PORT arrives at their house prior to July 1st
Some reasons for the Denial… Did not have Homestead for the prior year (or for 2009 and later – one of the last 2 years) Did not abandon the prior homestead Property did not get “reassessed” Did not qualify for Homestead Did not have a value to port (we sent a letter for 2008)
And still some more reasons why…..(according to a few property owners) We just did not feel like giving it to them We didn’t want to do the work We should have informed them a year ago that they should not file for homestead as something better was going to be in place for 2008
Where do we go from here? Some of us would like to be able to disappear instead of going to VAB