Have You Paid Your Property Taxes? [Property Taxes due Friday, March 31]

Have you paid your 2016 real estate taxes yet? In Florida, unpaid property taxes become delinquent on April 1st of the year following the calendar tax year. Therefore, 2016 property taxes which are unpaid become delinquent on April 1, 2017. When remitting property taxes to the appropriate county Tax Collector, it is the date that the payment is received (not postmarked), in the Tax Collector’s office that determines the timeliness of the amount due.

In Florida, property taxes are assessed and collected on all real property and tangible personal property located within the county. The real estate tax bill is a combination of ad valorem taxes and non-ad valorem assessments. The tangible personal property tax bill is exclusively an ad valorem tax. Taxes are due and payable on November 1st of each year, with discounts provided for early payment.

In cases where a property owner pays real estate taxes through an escrow account, the owner’s mortgage lender or servicer typically requests a copy of the tax bill from the County Tax Collector.  The lender or servicer will receive a copy of the tax bill and the owner will receive a copy of the notice. Mortgage lenders and servicers are required to pay the tax bill prior to expiration of the 4% discount period.

The following discounts apply 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

On April 1st, a 3% penalty will be added to the gross amount of the tax bill, so property owners do not want to be late in paying their taxes. Worse yet, accounts that remain unpaid as of May 1st are charged an advertising fee.  Nonpayment will be advertised in a local newspaper once a week for three consecutive weeks. If the taxes remain unpaid, the Tax Collector on or before June 1 will sell a tax certificate (which is a lien against the property). It is important to note that once a tax certificate is sold, the amount due will increase substantially – a consequence of the costs associated with the sale, and the assessment of a minimum 5% interest penalty.

What, you didn’t receive your tax bill? Sorry, according to Florida law, the property owner is responsible for making sure that the tax bill is received and the taxes paid. If you recently purchased a property and did not receive a tax bill (regardless of when the purchase closed), the buyer is responsible for paying the entire tax bill. Taxes are usually prorated on the closing statement and credit is given by the seller to the buyer for the time during the year that the seller owned the property. However, remember, this credit is between the buyer and the seller; no money is actually paid at the time of closing to the Tax Collector as partial payment of that year’s taxes.

By November 1st of each year, tax bills are sent to the owner of record at the address on record with the Tax Collector. If a property owner moves, or otherwise changes the mailing address, it is the owner’s responsibility to notify the Property Appraiser of the change in mailing address.  If a property owner does not receive a tax bill by November 15th, the Tax Collector should be notified immediately, and a copy requested. No extension of the due date will be given. Of course, copies of tax bills can always be obtained online from the appropriate Tax Collector’s website.

As always if you have any questions about tax bills, we encourage you to contact your local real estate attorney.

Sincerely,

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

Article Authored by Mark Hanewich, Esq.  mhanewich@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

www.berlinpatten.com 

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