The property appraiser’s estimates being mailed to Palm Beach taxpayers are based on new taxable property values totaling nearly $26 billion. Overall market values in town came in at $40.77 billion.
Warmer weather in Palm Beach also means that the talk of taxes — specifically how much property owners will pay in the new tax rolls — is heating up.
After stupefying real estate sales last year boosted official estimates of the town’s property values by 46% to a record high, homeowners will soon learn how much the jump might affect their upcoming tax bills.
Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Dorothy Jacks’ office is expected today to mail preliminary tax-bill estimates to every taxpayer in the county.
In Palm Beach, the estimated “total market value” of Palm Beach real estate has hit $40.77 billion, up from $28 billion a year ago. The figures are based on “market conditions” as of Jan. 1 each year, according to Jacks’ office.
But the latest total market value was only the starting point for figuring the estimated tax bills. Once homestead exemptions and tax caps got factored in, the estimated “taxable values” in town rose about 18%, from $21.56 billion a year ago to $25.57 billion this year, according to Jacks’ office.
When a property owner homesteads a residence as a primary home, state law prevents its assessed values from rising by more than 3% a year or by the change in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. For everyone else, assessed values can rise no more than 10% annually, according to the law.
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The taxable-value estimates are used by the town and other entities — including the county commission and school board — to figure their budgets and set property tax rates at public hearings.
“These rates are only estimates that can (be), and often are, altered at public hearings. The information to attend these meetings is also included so that you can make your voice heard,” Jacks wrote in a note on her office’s website about the so-called TRIM notices, using the acronym for “Truth in Millage” — a numerical term used to figure tax rates.
Palm Beach’s budget hearings are scheduled for Sept. 14 and Sept. 22. The process is typically finished by the end of September, because final tax bills must be mailed by the county tax collector to property owners by Nov. 1, according to state law.
At a budget workshop last month, the Palm Beach Town Council agreed to a proposed tax rate of $2.69 per $1,000 of a property’s taxable value, which would represent a 7% reduction over last year’s rate.
The reduced rate would mean a homesteaded owner would pay $113 less in taxes per $1 million of the property’s taxable value, according to Town Manager Kirk Blouin, while a non-homesteaded owner would see a $66 increase, based on the 10% tax-rise cap.
But the council kept intact a tentative rate of $2.896 per $1,000 of taxable value with the intention of lowering it in September, officials said. The higher rate was used to figure the estimates on the notices mailed today.
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The notices also give taxpayers — and their accountants and wealth managers — a chance to review the values assigned to their properties for accuracy.
“If you feel that the market value of your property is inaccurate or missing an exemption, you have until Sept. 12 to appeal through the Value Adjustment Board,” Jacks wrote.
The town has proposed a $94.7 million budget for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.