Florida residents need to pay property taxes to the county tax collector each year. Here’s how the process works and what can happen if you don’t pay.
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How do you pay property taxes in Florida?
Each Florida county has an elected tax collector that collects tax payments. You should receive a property tax bill around October or November each year.
The normal payment timeline is November 1st to March 31st. There are discounts for paying early.
You can typically mail a check or money order or visit your tax collector’s office in person. Many tax collectors also have online payment options especially in the larger counties. Some payment methods may have a small convenience fee for credit card payments.
What should you do when you receive your property tax bill?
When you receive your property tax bill, you should check it for accuracy.
- Verify the legal description of your property. This is especially important if your home is on two or more legal parcels. You don’t want to find out you didn’t pay for one of your parcels or that you paid for the wrong property altogether.
- Make sure your correct exemptions are applied. You may have the Homestead Exemption or other exemptions to reduce your tax bill. Don’t forget that you generally need to apply for exemptions by the March 1st before property tax bills are sent. Otherwise, you might not get your exemption until the following year.
If you notice errors, contact your local property appraiser’s office. This is a separate entity that determines what you pay in property taxes.
What is the early payment discount on Florida property taxes?
You can get a discount by paying your Florida property taxes early. The discount is based on the month you pay. In other words, pay at any time during that month to receive the discount. If you mail your payment, it goes by the payment postmark date.
- November: 4% discount
- December: 3% discount
- January: 2% discount
- February: 1% discount
- March: No discount, payments made in March are on-time
What if your mortgage lender pays your property taxes?
If you pay your property taxes through escrow, you can still receive the discount. A payment from the mortgage company’s escrow service is the same as a payment you make.
Discounts are based on when your mortgage lender pays the tax collector not when you make escrow payments as part of your standard mortgage payment.
Check with your mortgage company for their policies on when they make property tax payments. If you make a payment on your own to make sure you get the discount and your mortgage company also pays, you can request a property tax refund.
What happens if you make a partial payment?
Some people may make multiple payments for budgeting purposes. Early payment discounts generally don’t apply to partial payments.
Under Florida Statute 197.374, the tax collector may impose a processing fee of up to $10 per payment for processing payments.
If you make partial payments, you must pay in full by March 31st. Otherwise, late payments are handled the same as other late payment situations.
Can you make quarterly installment payments?
Some counties offer a quarterly installment payment plan. This is authorized by Florida Statute 197.222, but each county has the option to offer it or not.
To qualify, you generally need to owe more than $100 in property taxes. To participate, you must notify your tax collector by April 30th. Contact them for the installment payment forms.
- 1st Installment — ¼ of the total estimated taxes discounted at 6%. Payment is due June 30 (before the usual November 1 first day to pay).
- 2nd Installment — ¼ of the total estimated taxes discounted at 4.5%. Payment is due September 30.
- 3rd Installment — ¼ of the total estimated taxes plus ½ of the adjustment for actual tax liability discounted at 3%. The adjustment is if your property tax bill is at a higher amount than previously estimated due to changes in millage rates, assessed value, or tax benefits. Payment is due December 31st.
- 4th Installment — ¼ of the total estimated taxes plus ½ of the adjustment for actual tax liability. Payment is due March 31st.
If the due date falls on a weekend or legal holiday, you typically have until the next business day to pay.
Delinquent installment payments generally need to be paid in full with the next installment.
If you don’t complete the installment plan or choose to no longer participate, you may lose your discounts.
How do property tax refunds work?
Normally, you only make one property tax payment, so refunds aren’t a regular thing like they are with federal income taxes. However, there are several situations where you may need a refund:
- Both you and your mortgage holder paid
- You accidentally paid twice
- You and your spouse both made payments
- You sent the wrong amount
- There was an error on your property tax bill
To request a property tax refund, complete Form DR-462 and return it to your county tax collector. You generally have four tax years to request a refund. For example, for 2022 property taxes based on January 1, 2022, you have until January 1, 2026 to request a refund.
What are the important property tax dates in Florida?
- January 1: Tax year begins. Many tax benefits, such as the agricultural classification, are based on your use of the property as of this date.
- March 1: Last day to apply for exemptions and other benefits. Some counties may have annual renewal requirements for certain exemptions or benefits.
- November 1: First day to pay property taxes. You should receive your property tax bill by this date. Your property tax bill will also be available online in many counties.
- April 1 (following year): Property tax payments are late and additional penalties apply.
- May 31 (may be sooner in some counties): Last day to pay property taxes without a lien being placed on your home.
- June 1: Tax certificates (liens) sold.
What happens if you don’t get a property tax bill?
While you are generally required by law to receive at least one notice of your property taxes bill, not receiving a property tax bill doesn’t excuse or extend your responsibility for payment. The usual payment deadlines, discounts, and penalties apply.
If you don’t receive your bill, check online or contact your tax collector.
What happens if you can’t pay your property taxes?
If you can’t pay your property taxes on a property with the Homestead Exemption, you may be eligible for the Homestead Tax Deferral. The deferral can prevent a tax certificate from being sold and a lien placed on your home.
To receive a deferral, you must submit Form DR-570 to your tax collector by the March 31st payment deadline. You will usually need to include supporting documentation such as federal income tax returns.
Who qualfies for a deferral of Florida property taxes?
There are several potential deferral options.
- Total household Adjusted Gross Income under $10,000: Can defer the entire tax amount
- Taxes and assessments greater than 5% of your household AGI: Can defer the amount above 5%
- Age 65+ and taxes and assessments greater than 3% of your household AGI: Can defer the amount above 3%
- Age 65+ and your income qualifies you for additional senior exemptions: Can defer the entire amount
You can’t defer your property taxes, even if you fall into one of the options above, if:
- The total amount of deferred taxes, interest, and unpaid liens is more than 85% of your home’s just value
- Your primary mortgage financing is more than 70% of your home’s just value
Is there interest on property tax deferrals?
Interest is based on the long-term fixed-income portion of the Florida Retirement System investments. The maximum rate is 7%.
When do you have to pay deferred taxes?
Deferred taxes become due and payable when:
- There is a change in ownership of the property
- You are no longer eligible for the deferral due to loss of the Homestead Exemption, income requirements, or the amount of taxes/mortgage debt compared to your home’s just value
- You don’t maintain fire and other insurance coverage on your home as required by your tax collector