Not long ago I opened my mailbox and found a letter from Gary Joiner, the new Pasco County Property Appraiser where I live, telling me what my proposed property taxes for 2017 would likely be. Probably most of Florida's residents are also receiving these notices, also called Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices. It is worth your while to closely examine the one that pertains to the property(s) that you own.
The notice will first show you 3 main things:
- What your property taxes were last year.
- What they will be this year if proposed budget changes are not made.
- What they will be if proposed budget changes are made.
At the top of my post you will see the front of a typical TRIM notice from Pasco County that you can click on and open as a picture. You may need to increase or decrease the view size to see them properly. 100% or 150% is usually enough to make them easily legible. But use whatever works best for your computer screen.
You can also click on the following link to download a PDF version of the TRIM notice, front and back: Download TRIM Notice Example for 2017
Some of you will notice that even if the budget does not change, your taxes could change. This is likely due to a change in the assessed value of your home. If its value went down, this often helps to lower your taxes. If the value of your home goes up then your taxes may go up. I noticed that this year my value went up a bit. That could be due to the improving housing market, and may or may not happen to your home.
Something that often confuses residents is that we pay our property taxes "in arrears" here. So what we paid last winter were the taxes for 2016. We have not yet received the bills for this current year, 2017. Those bills will arrive in November and will not be overdue until well after the New Year.
Your taxes can also go up or down depending on the MILLAGE rate. That is the amount you pay for each $1,000 of assessed value. So, for example, if your home is assessed at $60,000 by the county for taxing purposes and the millage is $20 per thousand of value - $20 X 60 = $1,200 property taxes, plus any special fees the county assesses.
There is a section on the left-hand side in the center where you can see what the county said your home was worth for taxing purposes (not necessarily its resale value) last year and this year. As I said, mine went up a little, and therefore it looks like my taxes may be a little higher this year. That may or may not be the case with your property. All properties are at least slightly different in some ways.
And if you qualify, there are exemptions that can lower the assessed value of your property and therefore the amount of your taxes. The Homestead Exemption is one of the best known of these.
The top section of the page (at least in Pasco County, your county's may be different) shows where your tax money will go, such as:
- Public schools
- City taxes (If you live in an incorporated city like Zephyrhills or Dade City)
- Water Management District
- Independent Special Districts
- Voter Approved Debt Payments
Keep in mind that there are also fees/assessments, not taxes, that we often have to pay that are not calculated using our homes' assessed values. For example: street lights, solid waste management, Community Development District Fees (CDD's), etc. On the above bill you can see such a special fee for 2017 in the amount of $65 for County Solid Waste costs.
The notices also will tell you where and when the various public hearings on the different budgets will take place. Remember there are school budgets, city budgets, county budgets, etc. Not just one budget that covers everything we are taxed for.
On the back of Pasco County's TRIM page there is an Explanation Sheet that is very informative. On that same sheet there are contact phone numbers that you can call to get more information about your taxes. If you feel your taxes are too high, you can appeal them and this sheet also explains that process. Do not delay, you do not have forever to do this. As an alternative, you can also go to the Appraiser's office in person. The addresses of all of the offices are listed on the information brochure.
So keep an eye on your mailbox. If you did not receive your TRIM notice and you own property in Florida, you may want to call your county property appraiser's office and see what is going on. If you are unsure how to find your county's appraiser, you should be able to easily locate them on the internet via a basic Google or Yahoo search.
If I can be of further assistance, do not hesitate to contact me at: 813-783-4444 or e-mail me at: email@example.com . John Elwell - REALTOR at CENTURY 21 Bill Nye Realty, Inc. in Zephyrhills, Florida.