Those owning real property in Lee County have likely received their annual TRIM (Truth in Millage) Notice. We have found that some questions continue to repeat every year once taxpayers receive their TRIM Notices.
To help taxpayers understand what the TRIM means for them, we thought it would be helpful to go through a few quick tips for what to look for when reviewing this important document:
- At the top of the document, you will see the “Market Value” highlighted. This is not necessarily your taxable value; but rather, this is the value the Property Appraiser believes is the most probable sales price for your property on the open market. Review this figure to determine whether you believe it is an accurate value for your property, but realize that you are not necessarily paying taxes on this full amount.
- Immediately below the “Market Value” box, you will see a table which shows the Assessed Value, any Exemptions applicable for the property, and the Taxable Value. Review this table to ensure that all exemptions you are eligible for are shown here (most commonly, the homestead exemption).
- The Taxable Value is the amount on which your taxes are actually based. If your property benefits from the homestead exemption, this amount should not exceed 3% of last year’s value unless there was a property transfer, improvements were made to the home, etc. If your property is not your homestead, it cannot exceed 10% of last year’s value.
- Many taxpayers we have spoken with do not disagree with the assessment but rather believe the tax is too high. That is a separate issue outside the scope of a property tax appeal, and should be addressed through the individual taxing districts noted in your TRIM when the millage rates are established.
- Should you believe that your assessed value itself is too high and wish to challenge the assessment, you must file the Petition by the date located on the bottom of your TRIM in red font. This year, that deadline is September 8th for Lee County.
The Lee County Property Appraiser has numerous resources available online to further detail the TRIM itself as well as the various classifications and assessment methodologies used to arrive at a valuation. For example, http://www.leepa.org/FAQ/FAQForm.aspx#VIEWMYTRIMNOTICE has frequently asked questions as well as brochures. Should you still have questions, your best resources may be staff at the Property Appraiser’s office or an appraiser or attorney skilled in handling these types of matters.