Expect your tax bill — beginning Monday

St. Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth, CFC, tells Historic City News that property owners can expect to receive a tax bill for their share of $349,312,788.38 from the 2010 tax roll beginning Monday, November 1st.

This includes bills for real estate, tangible personal property, railroad, and non ad-valorem assessments.

Total taxes to be collected are $349,312,788.38. This is a decrease of $30,459,829.57 compared to the 2009 tax roll of $379,772,617.95.

“For the past 21 years, your Tax Collector’s office has maintained a 99.3 percent or greater collection rate,” Hollingsworth said. “Ultimately, this assists all local taxing authorities to finance services for the citizens’ needs.”

Although all tax bills become due November 1, 2010, they are payable through March 31, 2011, without incurring a penalty.

Property owners have the opportunity to pay their tax bills over the next several months, but the greatest savings can be realized by those who opt to pay their bills in November.

“November payers can get a 4 percent discount,” Hollingsworth said. “The amount of the discount decreases by 1 percent every month — until March 2011 when remaining taxes must be paid, without a discount, per Florida Statute 197.”

There are various methods of payment available to St. Johns County property owners. The most popular method is the U.S. mail. There is also an online payment option to property owners with Internet service and a credit card. Access the St. Johns County Tax Collector website at www.sjctax.us and follow the prompts for payment. Please note that a convenience fee set by the credit card companies is associated with this service; however, the Tax Collector’s office does not retain any portion of this fee.

Anyone unable to pay their homestead property taxes should contact the St. Johns County Tax Collector as early as possible to determine eligibility for the Homestead Tax Deferral per Chapter 197.253, Florida Statutes.

Florida Statute Chapter 197 allows taxpayers to prepay their taxes via an installment payment plan for each tax notice with taxes estimated to be more than $100.00. Participants enrolled in the 2010 installment plan will receive their third quarterly installment tax bill in December. This option is no longer available for the 2010 taxes unless already enrolled in the installment plan. Application for the 2011 tax year must be made with the Tax Collector’s office prior to May 1, 2011, with the first payment due no later than June 30, 2011.

In addition to the mailings sent to property owners, 39,642 payment notices were sent to mortgage companies with Escrow Accounts totaling $121,558,631.32. If you have an escrow account, you should be receiving an “information only” notice detailing your tax status and stating, “THIS IS NOT A BILL-DO NOT PAY- YOUR BILL HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO YOUR ESCROW AGENT.”

“Please note that the Tax Collector’s office is responsible for collecting, investing and distributing tax revenue,” Hollingsworth continued. “Any questions regarding homestead exemptions and assessment disputes should be addressed to the Property Appraiser. Any questions regarding the individual taxing authorities’ millage rates listed on your bill should be addressed to those individual authorities.”

If you have questions, comments or suggestions regarding the operation of the St. Johns County Tax Collector’s office, please do not hesitate to contact Hollingsworth at taxcollector@sjctax.us.

Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News staff photographer

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