If you currently own property in Florida, within the last couple of months you should have received your Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, also referred to as a TRIM notice.
John and I got our TRIM notice in the mail a couple of months ago and we both fell off our chairs. We purchased our home in 2014, and the previous owner did not have the property homesteaded, which meant that he was paying the full property tax rate with no exemptions. (For the basics on Florida Homestead Exemption, read our blog on Florida Homestead Exemption.)
Even though we immediately filed for our homestead exemption after purchasing our home, as Realtors we understood very well that it would not affect the property taxes owed until 2015. The prior owner’s non-homesteaded amount is what we had to pay when the 2014 tax bill came due in November last year, and we thought that was pretty bad, as it was 15% higher than the 2013 property tax bill.
But when the 2015 TRIM notice arrived, we swooned as it showed a 37% increase in 2015 compared to 2014. Thirty-seven percent!!! And that was WITH our homestead exemption factored in. As real estate professionals, we knew that properties in our area had appreciated, but nothing like 37%.
I’ve never really thought there was much point in fighting the tax man, but that was too much to take lying down. So John contacted the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s office to let them know he thought it needed to be reviewed. And we sure are glad that he did.
First off, the Appraiser’s office returned his call right away and offered to make an appointment to come to the property and review the appraisal details.
Next, when the staff member from the Appraiser’s office came to re-inspect the property, she was very helpful and reasonable. It was clear that the Property Appraiser’s office wanted to be fair—a pleasant surprise—and work with us. John accompanied the appraiser as she toured our house, and by being there to answer various questions she determined that certain areas of the house should have been classified in a different way.
That re-classification made all the difference. Within two weeks we received a revised TRIM notice. Our taxes were still up from 2014, but now only 11% instead of 37%. We were absolutely thrilled!
I’m sure there are some of our readers that may be similarly unhappy about property taxes, and I hope this information was helpful! Call us if you have questions or would like some assistance, 727-286-1249.Google+