By Guest Author Stephen K. Hachey
For some people, understanding their property taxes can be very difficult. This article explains some of the more frustrating aspects of the property tax statement.
In Hillsborough County, Florida, property taxes are paid for the previous year, rather than in advance for the coming year. The TRIM (Truth in Millage) notice is sent out in late August to show the proposed property taxes. The TRIM notice shows you the assessed value of the property plus the millage rate for the taxing entities.
Millage rates are the amount per $1,000 dollars that is used to calculate taxes on property. The expressed millage rate is multiplied by the total assessed value of the property to arrive at the property taxes due. The millage rate on the TRIM notice will show any proposed changes, which are voted on by the taxing entities in mid September, as well as the rate should the changes not be accepted.
Many people become upset when they believe that the assessed value of their property is too high, causing their property taxes to be higher than what they believe is fair. The assessed value of the property is based on sales data from the previous year, and with taxes being paid in arrears, the values used to pay the taxes are almost two years old by the time taxes are paid.
For example, the TRIM notice that you received in August 2012 affected the real estate taxes that you paid to Hillsborough County by the March 31, 2013, deadline. However, the assessed value for your property had an effective date for valuation by the county property appraisers' office of January 1, 2012. And in estimating values for the 2012 assessments the county studied real estate market data and trends during 2011.
Although the time delay between market data, assessments, and when taxes are paid may seem unfair, for most people the assessed taxes work out fairly in the end, because the same system is used year after year to assess values. So, for example, the value of your home may go up this year, but your taxes will not go up right away, as the sales data used to assess that value is from the previous year.
For those who feel that the value of their home is not low enough, they can contact the Hillsborough County Tax Appraiser at 813-272-6100 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do decide to call, make sure that you are prepared with good comparable data for your area. Also, don't worry if you feel the assessed value of your home is too low. The Save Our Homes law in Florida keeps the assessed value of a home from increasing more than 3%, or the amount of the change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever amount is lower. This keeps the assessed value of your home from going up drastically.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of Hillsborough County property taxes, and you can read your TRIM notice this year with a little less confusion or frustration.
This post was written for Property Assessment by Stephen K. Hachey. Stephen is a Tampa Foreclosure Lawyer specializing in loan modifications, short sales, foreclosure and much more. He is also the owner of his own practice, the Law Offices of Stephen Hachey, PA. This article is for general informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a licensed attorney in your state of residence. For more information on Stephen's services, please visit his website at www.floridarealestatelawyer.org/.