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Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Business News

Hillsborough County’s taxable value increases nearly 5.6 percent

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— Though we’re not back to the boom days, the latest property tax estimates show Hillsborough County’s real estate values are continuing to rise at a steady clip.

As of Jan. 1, the taxable value of property in the county totaled $67.52 billion, a 5.59 percent increase over last year’s value of $63.84 billion. Taxable value is based on the market value minus exemptions.

Market values did even better, increasing by 8.2 percent to $90.78 billion. The figures are based on transactions in 2013 and include homesteaded and non-homesteaded residential property, commercial property and new construction.

It was the third straight year taxable values increased as the local housing market continues to emerge from the depths of the Great Recession. Last year’s values were up 5.29 percent, after increasing by less than 1 percent in 2012. Property values in 2011 dropped 4.27 percent.

“The economy is getting healthy, though not as fast as everybody wants,” said Warren Weathers, chief deputy property appraiser. “We still have a large number of foreclosures that are dragging us down.”

The increasing values are good news for homeowners, who are seeing their equity grow with just a small increase in their property tax. Thanks to the Save Our Homes Amendment passed by voters in 1992, taxes on homesteaded property are capped at either 3 percent or the increase in the previous year’s Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. The CPI increased by 1.5 percent last year.

That translates into a property tax increase of about $48 for the owner of a house with a market value of $200,000, minus the $50,000 homestead exemption. Most of the $48 is split among Hillsborough County government, the county’s three cities and the county school board.

Various other agencies _ including the library system, the county’s environmental lands conservation program and the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County _ split a smaller share of the tax money.

Taxable increases for property that is not homesteaded is also capped, but at 10 percent.

The increasing values are also good news for local governments, which are building their budgets for the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

“Probably in about 10 days they’re going to come in for the preliminary estimates,” Weathers said. “Even though they’ve been building their budgets, they’ve been taking their numbers from the state and from local real estate people. Usually, the numbers are pretty close.”

In August, the Property Appraiser’s Office will mail property owners notices with their property values, exemptions and property taxes. Taxpayers who want to appeal their value or taxes have 25 days to do so after receiving the notice.

Weathers said dissatisfied property owners should call the Property Appraiser’s Office and talk to a representative before they register an appeal with the Value Adjustment Board. Often the problem can be ironed out without an appeal, he said.

msalinero@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-8303

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