Tax bills are on the way

Tax Collector Dennis W Hollingsworth, CFC, informed local Historic City News reporters that, beginning today, St Johns County property owners can expect to find their tax bills in the mailbox as the 2012 tax season begins.

Total taxes to be collected this year, including real estate, tangible personal property, railroad, and non-ad valorem assessments, are $330,692,046.83. This is a decrease of $11,491,912.17 compared to the 2011 tax roll of $342,183,959.00.

“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 when they can get a 4 percent discount,” Hollingsworth told Historic City News. “The amount of the discount decreases by 1 percent every month until March 2013 when bills must be paid and no discount is applied.”

Although all tax bills become due Nov. 1, 2012, they are payable through March 31, 2013, without incurring a penalty, Hollingsworth said.

There are various methods of payment available to St Johns County property owners. The most popular method is the US 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 who prefers personalized service is welcome to visit any of the Tax Collector’s five offices. All of the following locations are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. with the exception of Hastings which is open Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. The St Augustine main office is also open till 6:00 p.m. every Friday.

The main office in St Augustine will also be open on Saturday, Nov. 24 from 8:30-12:00. Please note that the branch offices will be closed on this day. All locations will be closed Thursday Nov. 22 and Friday Nov. 23 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

For your added convenience, we have a drop box for payment by check only on the east side of the St Augustine location. NO CASH COLLECTED IN THE DROP BOX OR BY CURBSIDE SERVICE, PLEASE.

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 2012 installment plan will receive their third quarterly installment tax bill in December. This option is no longer available for the 2012 taxes unless already enrolled in the installment plan. Application for the 2013 tax year must be made with the Tax Collector’s office prior to April 30, 2013, with the first payment due no later than June 30, 2013.

In addition to the mailings sent to property owners, 39,673 payment notices were sent to mortgage companies with Escrow Accounts totaling $120,844,663.70. 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.”

“For the past 23 years, your Tax Collector’s office has maintained a 99.3 percent or greater collection rate,” said St Johns County Tax Collector Dennis W. Hollingsworth, CFC. “Ultimately, this assists all local taxing authorities to finance services for the citizens’ needs.”

“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.

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