What are Property Taxes?
The property tax is a real estate ad-valorem tax and is paid by the owner of the property. Property tax is calculated by multiplying the assessed value of the property by the local municipal tax rate.
The local government uses property taxes to fund water and sewer improvements, provide law enforcement, fire protection, education, road and highway construction and maintenance, libraries, and other services that benefit the community.
How Property Tax Works
Most taxing authorities recalculate the tax rate annually. Real property includes land and all improvements on the land, such as buildings or other structures. The local municipal government determines rates, and the rates as applied to the assessed value of the property determines the tax that property owners are responsible for paying. Although the tax bills in Florida are issued in November, the tax year actually begins the preceding January 1st and runs through the entire calendar year.
Property taxes are a lien on real property. The lien begins on January 1st and continues until the taxes are paid. Since the tax bill is first issued in November, the taxes cannot be paid before the tax bill is issued and the tax lien will stay with the property until payment. Buyers should always complete a full review of outstanding liens before purchasing any property. If a property is purchased prior to the issuance of the November tax bill, the buyer should make sure that the seller is paying their proportionate share of the tax for the period of the year they had ownership.
Property Tax Appeals
If an owner believes the assessed value of their property is excessive, there are mechanisms by which the owner can discuss their tax rate with the assessor or formally contest the rate. Your property is assessed by the county where the property is located, and the taxes charged are based on its value. The county’s appraised value of your property may not be consistent with its market value, and you may be paying too much in property taxes. Homeowners must prove that their property was overvalued when the value was set.
Every homeowner has a right to appeal the property appraiser’s value of their home. Even though there is a genuine possibility that a homeowner may reduce their taxes, only about 2% of homeowners appeal their property values.
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With over 50 years of experience as an attorney, Richard S. Weinstein assists clients with the important financial situations in their lives. Whether you are dealing with bankruptcy, real estate (both commercial and residential, including short sales, foreclosures, and title insurance), estate planning, probate, business formations, or sales or mergers, Richard S. Weinstein is the attorney with the education, experience, and knowledge you need! Call us at (561) 745-3040 or visit his website at rweinsteinlaw.com.
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