It’s that time of year again. . . property tax time, that is! In the blog below, we will give you a brief overview of property taxes and how they are assessed, collected and paid along with an explanation of tangible personal property taxes and the difference between them and property taxes as they are often misunderstood and confusing. Hope you enjoy it and should you have any questions, please contact our office as we are happy to assist you further!
2017 Property Taxes
Property taxes are based on the real value of property. Each November, the tax collector’s office mails out the property tax bills to the address on file for properties located within that respective tax collector’s county. Below is an excerpt from the Orange County Tax Collector’s Website with general information regarding property taxes. Most counties in Florida will have similar procedures as Orange County, however, if your property is not located within Orange County, please consult the appropriate county website for more information (see links at the end of this blog) or contact our office and we are happy to assist you. Tax statements are mailed out by the County Tax Collector by November 1st of each year with the following discounts in effect for early payment:
- 4% discount if paid in November
- 3% discount if paid in December
- 2% discount if paid in January
- 1% discount if paid in February
- The gross amount is due by March 31st
The County Property Appraiser is responsible for approving all exemptions. For more information on Homestead exemptions, or any other exemption, contact the appropriate County Property Appraiser’s office.
Change of Address
If you did not receive a property tax bill in November or if your address differs from the one shown on your tax bill, please complete the property mailing address change request form on the appropriate County Property Appraiser’s website and return directly to them as the Property Appraiser is responsible for processing address changes. It is imperative that the property appraiser have your actual mailing address, rather than your investment property address, as otherwise you will not receive any of the communications they mail out!
Penalty Interests/Fees for Late Payments
Taxes and assessments are due November 1st and become delinquent April 1st, at which time the law imposes additional late charges, including penalties and advertising costs and ultimately a tax certificate is sold to cover the tax arrearage resulting in additional penalties and interest costs.
How Accountability is Maintained
Property taxes are based on the value placed of real property. These taxes are collected on an annual basis beginning November 1st for the tax year January through December. To ensure an accountable system of checks and balances there are three steps to the property tax process with each carried out by separate entities:
- The Board of County Commissioners, School Board, City Commissioners and other levying bodies set the millage rates. Non-ad valorem assessments, such as streetlight, sewage, and road improvements, are levied on a unit basis, rather than on the value of the property.
- The County Property Appraiser establishes the value of the property and approves exemptions, including Homestead. Based on the values and exemptions assessed, the Property Appraiser certifies the Tax Roll to the Tax Collector’s Office.
- The Tax Collector is then responsible for mailing the tax bills, collecting the taxes and then distributing the funds to 63 different taxing authorities. The Tax Collector also performs tax certificate sales for unpaid taxes and collects tangible personal property taxes in addition to returning any unused fees to the taxing authorities.
It is the responsibility of each taxpayer to see that the taxes are paid. In cases where the property owner pays through an escrow account, the mortgage company, meeting criteria established by the Tax Collector, may request to be sent the tax bill directly. In this case, the owner will receive a copy of the Property Tax Bill that states, “YOUR BILL HAS BEEN REQUESTED BY” your mortgage company for direct payment to the County Tax Collector’s Office using the escrow they collect through the mortgage payment on your behalf.
There you have it! A bit more information on how property taxes are assessed, collected and processed. It is important that each November you keep an eye out for the property tax bill and if for some reason you do not receive it, please contact our office and we can assist you with obtaining a copy and even handling the payment for you should you like. Most of the tax collector’s offices now allow you to pay the tax bill online for those owners not local to Central Florida as well as via phone or check. Moreover, it is important that your most current mailing address is on file with the appropriate county property appraiser’s office to ensure you receive the tax bill and any other notices as the tax collector’s office pulls mailing address information directly from the property appraiser. Again, if you have any questions or concerns regarding property taxes, please contact our office and we are happy to assist you.
Tangible Personal Property
Tangible personal property is everything other than real estate that is used in a business or rental property. Examples of tangible personal property are computers, furniture, tools, appliances, machinery, signs, equipment, leasehold improvements, supplies, and leased equipment. Anyone owning Tangible personal property on January 1 must file a tax return by April 1 each year unless you were notified by our office that the filing requirement has been waived. Every new business owning tangible personal property on January 1 must file an initial tax return. In any year the assessed value of your tangible personal property exceeds $25,000, you are required to file a return. Taxpayers who lease, lend or rent property must also file a return. If this is your initial year you are filing there is not a minimum value. In subsequent years, if the assessed value based on the return is less than $25,000, the requirement to file a return is waived. If the assessed value based on the return is greater than $25,000, a return must be filed each year.
Please note, tangible personal property and the property taxes outlined in the beginning of this blog are two separate items entirely and each must be addressed. Generally, the value of your personal property will be below the $25,000 threshold and thus there will be no tax due, however, you are still required to file the initial return in the first year of ownership of the property and typically your accountant, CPA or tax preparer will do this as a component of your tax filing.
Should you have any questions on property taxes or tangible personal property taxes, please feel free to contact our office!
We appreciate your business and wish you all a safe and prosperous 2018!
Justin Recca & the Innovative Realty Team
*All information cited from the Orange County Tax Collector's Website.