Flagler County’s Preliminary Taxable Property Values Down 15.2%

Did you know that your property taxes may go up even though the value of your property declines?

Palm Coast, FL – July 8, 2009 – When real estate values drop, Florida’s Save Our Homes amendment is like the screen door that hits you in the behind when you leave. Owners of homesteaded property who benefited from the cap on assessment increases during boom times now face a serious threat of higher property taxes even as the value of their homes declines. A preliminary report shows the 2009 taxable value of Flagler County property declined 15.2% from a year ago.

Homesteaded Owners will suffer the most

If your home is homesteaded, Florida limits the amount your taxable assessment can rise to 3% a year (or the rate of increase in the CPI, whichever is less). For many who bought before the boom, home values soared while taxable values edged up slowly, moderated by the cap. The result was disproportionately low taxes and a growing gap between "taxable value" and "just value." However, when just value drops, the law allows a 1% increase in taxable value as long as taxable value remains below just value.
If this year’s millage rate remains the same, a homesteader will see a modest increase in property taxes, in spite of the drop in true value. But with taxable values down by 15.2%, it will be hard for officials to avoid a millage increase. So, as your property value drops, your taxes will still go up. That’s the screen door hitting you.

Who benefits?

Those owning non-homesteaded properties will see taxable values drop in lock step with just values. If millage rates are raised, they will pay more taxes per thousand for 2009, but the increase will likely be more than offset by the reduced taxable value.

Who sets the millage rate?

Contrary to popular misconception, the Property Appraiser does not set taxes. The appraiser’s job is to set values such that like properties have like assessments. Value differences should be justified. If your property’s just value assessment is higher than your neighbor’s, there’s probably a reason. If you don’t agree, you can talk to the assessor’s office about it. Remember that 2009 assessed values are based on 2008 sales transactions.
Taxes are set by public officials; school, county, city, etc. Each develops a budget for their taxing district. The district millage rate is computed by dividing the budget by the total taxable value assessment within the taxing district.
Officials face a tough problem this year. After years of masking large budget increases with the huge growth in taxable assessed values during the real estate boom, they find themselves being smacked by the screen door too. Taxable value for Flagler County rose from $2.76 billion in 2000 to over $12 in 2007. Budget tightening, including layoffs, got city, county, and school officials through the smaller taxable value decreases last year, but it will be more difficult this year.
1 reply
  1. John Boy
    John Boy says:

    Tax Increases

    Maybe the Government at all levels, City, County, State and Federal will finallly wake up and cut staff by at least 25%. Just look at TV any given day and see the excess, how many cops and firefighters respnd to any call, how many city pickup trucks just ride around. How many staffers does each Congress person have verses need. All levels of government have grown tto fat, too fast. The benefits, retirement and salary easily exceed the private sector and need to be reigned in.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply