The Florida TRIM notice is a notice of your proposed property taxes for the year. It’s technically not a bill, but you should review it in case you need to take action.
What is a TRIM Notice?
TRIM stands for TRuth In Millage. The notice gives property owners information about how much they’ll owe in property taxes and each government entity that charges property tax.
Each county, municipality, school district, water management district, and any other government agency generally needs to have a public meeting to determine its budget and set property tax rates. The TRIM notice gives property owners a way to know who is taxing them so they can attend these meetings.
You should generally receive a TRIM letter in August each year. The TRIM notice is not a bill, and you should not pay it. You’ll receive a formal property tax bill around November 1st.
What’s on a TRIM Notice?
A TRIM notice contains several key pieces of information.
First, it shows several property values.
- Market value: The market value is the value of your home if you sold it on the market. Note that the property appraiser often calculates values differently than home buying websites.
- Assessed value: The assessed value is the market value of your home limited by your Save Our Home Benefit or non-homestead property tax limits in increases of your assessed value. For example, you might have a market value of $100,000 in year 1 and $110,000 in year 2. In year 1, assessed value equals market value. In year 2, if you have the Homestead Exemption, your assessed value is limited to $103,000, because there is a 3% limit on increases.
- Taxable value: The taxable value is the value you pay taxes on after subtracting your exemptions. There are multiple taxable values because different exemptions apply to different taxes. For example, your school district taxable value will usually be $25,000 higher than your general county taxable value, because the second Homestead Exemption doesn’t apply to school district taxes.
As discussed above, it also gives you information about who is taxing you in case you want to attend public meetings.
Finally, it shows your estimated property tax bill for the year. This will include both ad valorem (percent of value) taxes and non-ad valorem (fixed amount) taxes.
When is your home’s value determined?
The values on your TRIM notice are based on January 1st before you receive your notice. So your timeline is usually:
- January 1st: Property values determined
- August: Receive TRIM notice
- November 1st: First day to pay property taxes, bill received around this time
- March 31st (following year): Property taxes due
The January 1st date becomes more important when property values rapidly rise or fall during the year. If you’re thinking about contesting your market value because of recent changes in property values, you need to think back to what would have been reasonable in January.
Do you have to respond to a TRIM Notice?
When you receive a real estate TRIM notice, you should carefully check it for accuracy. Make sure the county property appraiser has properly applied all of your exemptions.
You may also want to see if the market value the property appraiser assigned your home seems reasonable.
If you notice an error or disagree with your home’s value, you generally contact the property appraiser first. If you can’t resolve the situation, the next step is usually to appeal to the county value adjustment board.
You generally have 25 days from the date on your TRIM notice to file an appeal with the value adjustment board. If you received your notice late or have some other type of special situation, contact your property appraiser or value adjustment board for your potential options.
Should you fight a low market value?
In some cases, you may want to contest a low market value on a Homestead home that you’ve owned for some time. The reason is to increase your Save Our Homes benefit if you ever want to sell your home and use portability.
Let’s say you bought a home for $100,000, it increased in market value to $150,000, and Save Our Homes limits its assessed value to $125,000. The difference between market value ($150,000) and assessed value ($125,000) is your Save Our Homes Benefit ($25,000). If you move to a new home and apply the Homestead Exemption, you get to take your $25,000 benefit with you and subtract it from your home’s market value in year 1.
But what if you think the market value of your home should be $175,000 instead of $150,000? If you moved, that could give you a portability benefit of $50,000 instead of $25,000. If you plan to keep the Homestead Exemption on your home until you move to a new homestead, you might want to ask the property appraiser to reconsider.