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How to Pay Florida Property Tax

6th Jul, 2012back


Purchasing a piece of property in the state of Florida is a relatively simple and straightforward process.  Paying the property taxes that result is equally uncomplicated.


How the Florida property tax system works

Florida is divided into government units known as counties. Each county has an appraiser responsible for determining the market value of a property. In Florida, however, "market value" is not necessarily the same as taxable value. To determine the taxable value of a property, county officials apply any applicable assessment limits and then subtract certain items known as exemptions.

Property taxes are officially levied by local government units, which include not only counties, but also cities, school boards and special districts that manage utilities and other services for residents. 


The TRIM notice

Each August, all landowners in the state will receive a "Notice of Proposed Property Taxes," commonly referred to as the TRIM notice. Information included on the TRIM notice includes the assessed value of the property, as of 1st January the previous year, the tax rate established by each entity empowered to tax property and the estimated tax that must be paid, based on those rates.

Taxpayers that disagree with their TRIM notice in some respect can appeal their tax assessment to their county's value adjustment board. 


How to pay Florida property tax

An official tax bill, known as Form DR-528, is sent out in November of each year. This bill provides precise instructions on how to pay taxes, including where to send payments by mail. For reference, in all cases, taxpayers send payment to their county's tax collector. 

Unlike some states, Florida has a consumer-friendly policy of early payment discounts for property taxes, which means that anyone paying their taxes during November can take 4% off the total. Early payments in December, January and February are also reduced by steadily reducing percentages. After February, no discounts are given, though unpaid taxes are not considered delinquent until 1st April. This gives homeowners approximately six months to pay the taxes listed on the bill received in November and even longer, since they will have had their first sight of the estimated taxes on the TRIM notice. 


Other payment options

County tax collectors in Florida operate with some discretion. They are allowed to accept partial payments if they wish, but if partial payments are used, taxes must still be paid in full by the 1st April deadline. Anyone who makes partial payments will lose the chance to apply the discounts available to those who pay in full in a single transaction. 

Another option is an instalment plan. This is different from partial payment, because it involves prepayment of property taxes; the standard payment plan for Florida homeowners consists of paying taxes in arrears. Those who want to pay on an instalment plan must apply to do so by 1st May of the year involved; this means applying well in advance of receiving a TRIM notice. 

The Florida property tax system encourages clear communication, so that taxpayers are never in doubt as to their financial obligations to local and state government.