All About Florida Property Taxes

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 10:00AM

Payment of Ad Valorem Taxes.

In Florida, ad valorem taxes are paid in arrears and are based on the calendar year from January 1 to December 31. Tax bills are mailed to the owner of record of the property on November 1 of each year. If the owner has a mortgage on the property and taxes are paid from an escrow account established by the lender, the bill will usually be sent to the mortgage company and the owner will receive an informational notice. If the tax is paid during the month of November, the owner will receive a 4% discount. Thereafter, a 3% discount is allowed in December, a 2% discount in January, a 1% discount in February, and no discount is allowed in March. Taxes become delinquent on April 1.

Delinquent Taxes.

If an owner has not paid the property taxes by April 1, the Tax Collector is required by law to advertise the delinquent parcels in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. All fees for advertising and collection are added to the delinquent taxpayer’s bill.

On or before June 1, the Tax Collector is required to hold a tax certificate sale. At this sale, citizens may purchase certificates by paying off the owed tax debt. The sale is an auction with participants bidding by the amount of interest rate for the return on the tax debt amount. The bidding begins at 18% and continues downward. The certificate is awarded to the bidder willing to accept the lowest interest rate. The certificate is a valid first lien on the property securing the amount of delinquent taxes plus accrued interest, penalties and advertising fees. If a certificate is redeemed the Tax Collector pays the certificate holder the amount due to him or her. The certificate holder may apply for a tax deed when two or more years have elapsed since the date of delinquency. If the property owner fails to pay the tax debt, the tax deed is sold at public auction.

Installment Payment Plan.

You have an option to pay your real estate taxes quarterly. You must fill out and return an Installment Plan application form to the Tax Collector’s Office prior to May 1.

Non Ad Valorem Assessments.

Also included on your tax bill are assessments not based on the value of the property. These non ad valorem assessments are levied by authorities such as stormwater utility, fire and rescue, solid waste collections and sewer utilities. The assessment periods vary and may be based on some other period than the calendar year. Also some non ad valorem assessments are paid in advance.