Sunday, June 16, 2024

Why Some Tampa Bay Homeowners Pay Significantly Higher Taxes than Their Neighbors

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Discrepancies in Property Tax Bills: How the Save Our Homes Amendment Impacts Homeowners

Title: Property Tax Discrepancies Highlighted in Odessa Development

In the Starkey Ranch development in Odessa, two homes with identical attributes are facing vastly different property tax bills, shedding light on the impact of Florida’s Save Our Homes amendment.

The Metrovich family, who recently purchased their home in January 2021, are now facing a property tax bill of $5,125. This is significantly higher than their neighbors on Callisia Drive, who have lived in their similar home for five years longer and benefit from the tax shelter provided by the Save Our Homes amendment.

The Save Our Homes program, designed to protect long-time residents from being priced out of their homes due to rising taxes, caps the taxable value of a property and limits annual increases. However, this results in newer homeowners like the Metrovich family paying much higher tax bills than their neighbors who bought their homes earlier.

The discrepancies in property tax bills are further exacerbated by the recent surge in property values across the region, with Pasco County reporting a 16.7% increase in assessed values over the previous year.

Critics of the Save Our Homes amendment argue that it creates an unfair system where newer residents end up shouldering a larger burden to finance public services based solely on their closing date. They believe that property taxes should be calculated based on the value of the property, not the purchase date.

While some homeowners, like labor and employment attorney Phillip Russell, accept the higher tax bills as a consequence of owning a more valuable property, others, like Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough, are feeling the strain of rising prices and tax bills on low-income homes.

As the debate over property tax discrepancies continues, it remains to be seen whether changes will be made to the Save Our Homes program to address the concerns of newer homeowners facing higher tax bills compared to their long-time neighbors.

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