By Mimi McKee
Understanding Volusia County’s Proposed Property Taxes
In August 2018, Volusia County property owners were mailed the Truth In Millage (TRIM) notices, also known as the 2018 Notice of Proposed Property Taxes. The notice includes property appraiser value information, taxing authority information, non-ad valorem assessments and an explanation of terms.
How to Read Your TRIM and Proposed Property Taxes
The total proposed taxes owed on a property is listed at the bottom. The total includes proposed budget changes for the year, if adopted.
In Florida, property taxes are paid in “arrears,” meaning property owners are billed for the past year. For 2018, property owners will notice an increase in property taxes.
“County-wide in Volusia County, the Just Value went up 8 percent from last year,” explains Janice Cornelius, chief deputy property appraiser.
The property appraiser value information, the first section of TRIM notice, lists the “market (Just) value” of a property for taxation purposes. The property appraiser only puts a value on the lot size and structure.
Improvements to a property, like a new roof or updated air conditioning system, are not considered when determining the “market (Just) value.”
“Every property owner should visit our website, VCPA.VCgov.org, to search their property and review all of the information we have,” recommended Cornelius. “If there is a discrepancy, we will work with the property owner. We strive to have the best information possible.”
What About Exemptions and Reductions?
Assessment reductions and exemptions are noted in the same section. Primary homeowners can benefit from the Save Our Homes (Portability) cap and Homestead Exemption, which are noted in this section.
Volusia has a variety of exemptions like Senior, Disability and a new First Responder exemption. These are defined on the county’s website: VCPA.VCgov.org/Exemptions.
“New property owners receive the benefit of the previous owners’ exemptions and caps on a property for the remaining year it closes,” states Cornelius. “The new homeowners may apply for homestead exemption for the next year, but if the previous owner had a large ‘Save Our Homes’ cap, there can be a substantial increase in the property tax bill. We recommend using the calculator on the website before buying.”
Under the taxing authority information section, there are eight columns divided into two sections. The taxing authorities are identified and the tax rates.
The two sections compare the property taxes from the previous year to the property taxes for this year. Read line by line, column two is prior year tax rates, column five is proposed tax rates and column eight is if no budget change is adopted.
Remember, the market (Just) value increased for 2018 so, even if there is no budget change, the total taxes owed will be different compared to last year.
The back of the TRIM notice has public hearing schedules. The Taxing Authorities levy the property taxes against property. The public hearings allow for citizens to attend and give opinions.
The authority can answer questions on the proposed tax changes. This is done prior to taking final action for the upcoming year.