For those who live in Florida and own a property, August is the time of the year to start receiving your property tax notification for this year. This notification is called NOTICE OF PROPOSED PROPERTY TAXES, but it is commonly known as TRIM notice, short for Truth in Millage.
This notification is not a bill, even though it looks like one. It looks like the bill most people will receive later in November if nothing changes in the house or in the law. This bill be due in April of the following year, and it gives homeowners plenty of time to prepare for payment. If payment is sent early, there are discounts available, up to 4%.
The property tax is usually sent out early also to give property owners time to contest its amount in case they want to challenge it. Typically, the amount is set based on the market value of the property, and the taxing authorities, such as the School Board, City Commission, County Commission, hospital district board, water management district, and so on.
If you live in your property, you can receive Homestead Exemption, and that will limit the increase in your property taxes to 3% a year or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) makes this determination on January each year, and we know, for example, that homestead exempt homes will receive an increase of 0.8% for the tax year of 2015.
Non-homesteaded properties will receive a 10% assessment cap, which is applied automatically and does not require an application. As a taxpayer, you are only obligated to pay your fair share and if by any chance, you don’t believe it is fair, you have the chance to contest the assessment on your property. You cannot dispute the rates you that you are being taxes, but you can be part of the commission that determine these rates and be part of the budget hearings in your town, county, and school board.
To contest an assessment, you need to file an appeal right after you receive your TRIM NOTICE. September is the deadline for an appeal, so call the office of appraiser and you will find that they are very easy to listen to your concerns and discuss the data used to reach the value. If there was a mistake, they will be happy to correct it.
If you still believe the tax amount is incorrect, they will help you navigate through the system and show you how to have it correct it. Taxpayer may contest the value of real estate and personal property as assessed by the Property Appraiser’s Office by filing a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (the VAB). The VAB appoints special magistrates to conduct hearings to determine if the property is properly assessed, and then it can make the proper adjustments.
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