“Tax season,” doesn’t only mean that it’s time to be aware of your income tax filing requirements. Florida residents need to know that their personal property tax deadlines are also here! The deadlines to file personal property tax returns are April 1, or May 1, with an extension.

What Is Personal Property Tax and Who Needs to File?

According to Florida law, any business owner, such as an auto dealer, that owns and operates certain types of property needs to file a tax return on “tangible personal property.” Tangible personal property or “TPP,” is anything of value other than real estate, such as: office equipment, computers, tools, machinery, supplies, etc.

Anyone who owns qualifying TPP (in excess of $25,000) on January 1st of a given tax year, must file a tax return by April 1st, (or this year, May 1st with an extension), unless for some reason you have been told by county officials that your TPP filing requirement has been waived.

There are a few pitfalls and opportunities that dealers need to be aware of when it comes to personal property taxes. An auto dealership is a very “capital intensive” business, meaning that as you know, you can capitalize a lot of assets on your books. However, if not handled correctly, these assets can be subject to property taxes you may not be aware of. For example, if you are not careful, sometimes real estate related assets that are included on the property tax return may also be picked up on the real estate assessment. If that happens there’s double taxation taking place. Or, you can mistakenly be taxed for “intangible” assets that are on your dealership’s books.

We can help you avoid such mishaps, and usually save you at least 18-20% on your property tax returns. And remember, any personal property tax savings we discover are “annuity tax savings”, meaning that they continue on year after year. 

Real Estate Tax Deadlines

Tangible personal property tax should not be confused with real estate, or “property taxes,” which have their own deadlines that business owners need to be aware of. Real property owners throughout the state of Florida, and indeed across the nation, should never assume that the assessment of your property is 100% accurate. Mistakes can happen, and if you do not appeal your notice by the impending deadlines, you may be paying more than your fair share.

In South Florida, the deadline to appeal is generally mid-September. Reviewing and appealing these values can have significant positive impacts on your business’s revenue.

There are also real estate tax saving opportunities that can be unique to operations such as an auto dealership. Primarily, these involve accurate valuations for your dealership’s land and your buildings. These values need to be reviewed annually.  During one of our typical annual reviews, it is not uncommon to find 18-20% in tax savings, sometimes significantly more! These tax savings flow immediately to your bottom line.

How MBAF Can Help

Having an expert review and file your personal property tax returns, and/or review your real estate tax assessment, can strongly impact your bottom line. Experts at MBAF can review your fixed assets to reclassify those assets for faster property tax depreciation, remove nontaxable assets, breakout intangible costs and breakout and reclassify real estate assets from your personal property tax return.

We also have the ability to work with various tax jurisdictions before the upcoming September appeals deadline.

Either way, having a second set of eyes from an expert can ensure you meet all filing/appeals deadlines and requirements, while at the same to leverage significant tax savings!