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Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

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Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

Old 12-31-2006, 10:45 AM
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Default Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

So I picked up a small lot in Lehigh Acres, Florida about 6 or 7 years ago. Got a really good deal, too good to pass up. At the time, the lot was assessed at $1,100. Two years ago, the assessment was bumped up to $20,000. Ok, that's fair, that's what I could sell it for. Last year, it goes up to $40,000. I didn't like that too much because because the occaisional offers I receive in the mail from people wanting to purchase my property are only for about $20,000. Now I get a tax statement saying the property is assessed at $42,000. Several calls to Lee county goverment yielded no results. I belong to a property owners association down there and they're talking about a lawsuit against the county because as non-resident property owners, we pay taxes, but have no political representation (hmmm, where have we heard that before). Mostly just venting here. But I'd also like to know if anyone else has any thoughts on the subject since I know what many of you live in Florida. By the way, I love Florida. I just think I'm getting ripped off a little bit right now on the taxes. Thanks and have a happy new year ! ! !
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Old 12-31-2006, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

You have a right in any county/city/state to protest and dispute the taxable valuation but it must be done within a certain time frame after the new valuation is received. I own raw land in several states and encounter this on a frequent basis. Usually I'm successful about 75% of the time with a dispute backed up with an appraisal or surrounding sales of land.....
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Old 12-31-2006, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

A little perspective if you dont mind, yes there is a historical point in taxation without representation but one KEY difference in Florida today versus Boston/England tea thing. You chose to buy property in Florida and not become a resident. You can choose to live in Florida and homestead which by the way only insulates you from a portion of the tax increase not all. Residents pay taxes just like you do. I too am just venting, as a resident I get tired of the constant refrain of non residents and their "not fair", remember you CHOSE to come just for the winter, or domicile somewhere else, or be an out of state property owner.



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Old 12-31-2006, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

And then theres the guy like me who is a resident and owns two homes here. The tax on my second home, which is next door to where I live, just went up 33%. The county is saying that because new homes sales have basically stopped, they have to raise taxes for revenue. Hmmm....what do you think that will do to new home sales. So now everyone with a second home tries to sell it and the market is flooded driving down value. Taxes are based on value. So now people who cant sell put them up for rent and guess what, you cant find a renter because there are 3 times as many properties as prospective renters. I feel fortunate that I can afford to ride this out but, there are many people in bad shape. They are shooting themsleves in the foot and taking many of us with them.
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:07 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

I will try and keep this short. I was born and raised in central Florida. The only time out of the state was while I was in the Military. I purchased a small place in Citrus County - A fairly remote area near the coast and my work (Crystal Manor). The third year there the retention pond behind the house overflowed and the run off was through my yard. My house was surround by water. The next wet year, I got water in the garage. The developer had a drainage ditch running from the retention pond that used to run through the back lots to another retention pond that drained to the gulf. The owner of the lots covered the ditch up (his land). The other retention pond was two lots south of me. I purchased the two lots for $6,000.00 and dug my own ditch through now my land and my flooding problem seems to be fixed.

The first 2 years my other lots were valued at $6,000 each. Third $12, 000. This year $42,000 each. I have disputed the taxable value due to flood control - Still waiting to hear from the County. In the near future, I will move these lots into my homestead. I have learn a lot from this.

1) No matter what - I will pay higher taxes on my homestead just before I retire (8 years) that wasn't planned for.

2) Vacant land in many counties of Florida is not a good investment.

3) I don't want to move because the Gulf is so close and I love to Gouper fish.

Enough said - I feel your pain (in the wallet).

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Old 12-31-2006, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

SO it's ok to screw someone who pays taxes but has no impact on services? That's just stupid. You're excusing the corrupt pols...

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Old 12-31-2006, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

crabtree see a lawyer and have the properties joined so you can homestead all of the them as long as the are physically joined also
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

The properties are physically joined and that is my plan for 2007. The good will be from that time on there will be a 3% max. tax increase each year. The bad is when I join the properties my 3% cap that is on my present homestead will be opened and re-assessed at todays extremely higher values. If I had known the laws and rules when I bought the properties everything could have been taken care then with very little tax increase.

Life's experiences are full of lessons - Hope someone can learn from this thread - unless you are planning on selling your lots, join them with your homestead ASAP.

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Old 12-31-2006, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

As long as the tax and assessment rate is the same for residents and non-residents alike, there is no cause to gripe about inequity. a lot of property on Maui is owned by non-residents and Maui has recently proposed a different and higher tax rate for non-locally owned properties. Even as a resident, I find that to be unfair. If you register a boat in Arizona and are not a resident, you now get a non-resident registration at triple the residents rate. Most of the big boats in Arizona are used on the Colorado river, which is jointly AZ and CA jurisdiction. I know lots of people who have boats in Arizona who are moving the storage points to CA in response. The voters in CA passed Proposition 13 years ago and it limits property taxes to 1 percent.
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

kerno - 12/31/2006 11:48 AMAs long as the tax and assessment rate is the same for residents and non-residents alike, there is no cause to gripe about inequity.
Good point.
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Old 12-31-2006, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

There are a lot of inequities. We bought our house on the river in east FT Myers in 2002. We paid $270K for it which I felt was a fair deal. Usually the county appraiser puts the value at 85% of the purchase price, but they put mine at $300K. I missed the 2 week time period for contesting it and since I had domiciled it raised the baseline for my SOH cap. I sued them and settled at $239K, close to the 85% rule. Attorney fees were $3,500. Since, I have got the atty fees back now through lower taxes but it took two years. BTW, today they have appraised ours at $625K but no chance we could get.
Two years ago the house down the street sold to an investor going to flip it for $535K. By last summer, he had completed his course in RE 101 and sold it for $460K, taking a $100K hit. We'll see if the taxes go down as easily as they went up.

Yep, I get the SOH cap and do save maybe $5K in annual taxes but there are expensive houses along the coast that have millions in SOH discount. I think it might be fairer if everyone paid the same rate but don't look at me to be a pioneer. Some of them were shot.
The whole Florida RE market has been driven by greed. Speculators buying lots; the municipalities grab the impact fees; builders overcharge but still build with illegal labor; the county grabs again with outlandish taxes; then finally comes the insurance companies.

Like they say, you have to look out for yourself because certainly no one else will do it.


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Old 12-31-2006, 01:44 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

Florida makes no distinction between Florida-resident owned non-homesteaded properties and properties owned by out-of-staters. Unless your property is homesteaded and held to 3% increase in taxes (although the valuation can increase at any rate), the property appraiser can raise it any amount as long as it is "fair market". That's just the way it is. I own 5 rental homes and I cringe whenever I see the tax bills. But, I also challenge the property appraiser's office if I feel they have increased too much.
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Old 12-31-2006, 02:08 PM
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Default RE: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

My two cents worth on florida taxes. First, the Fl county tax assessors offices have been extremely aggressive to reassess properties during the recent periods when land values have been increasing tremendously (mostly due to speculation purchases which has led to overvalued property assessments). Be assured that the same county asessors offices will not be as aggressive to lower valuations to be more reflective of the more recent 15-20% reduction in property values. It will be up to the individual property owner to protest their case and present data to support it......the assessor will be reluctant to lower values.

Second, county governments have reaped (perhaps a better term would be raped) large revenue increases from these increasing assessments on the public. I have found that most government bodies will spend all revenues they take in and are mostly unaccountavble for such expenditures. Governmental bodies spend to their revenue levels and not necasarrily to their need. I believe that normal growth in county government expenses should not exceed approx 10% of prior years expenses, without a special referendum or approval of the public.

Lastly, the state of Florida has created an unmanageable problem with the homestead exemption cap. While the goal of limiting home ownership tax increases is very noble (and also in reality more politically self-serving), a disporportioante share of the burden is being placed on commercial and non-resident investors. Long-term this problem will continue to grow and have negative effects for everyone in Florida. I might suggest that government allow the "transportability" of an owners exemption to another property they wish to buy (currently a problem); and place a tax cap on commercial and non-resident owned properites of say maybe 8% (this is two and on-half times the homeowners owners cap of 3%).

Sorry for the above, but I really do hate to see government bodies reap windfall revenues and not be accountable! Also sorry if I ruffled anyones feathers with my comments. I don't want to debate the issue, just vent and give my two cents worth.
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Old 12-31-2006, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

Wow. Lots of interesting views and insight. Thanks everyone. Yeah, I bought the property with the hopes that when I retire, I can have a small modest place in Florida to migrate to for six months (or more) out of the year so I can spend my retirement fishing as much as possible. I'm still aways from retirement, but there isn't a day goes by that I don't wish I were in Florida. I was getting some pretty nice offers on the property up until a couple years ago, but my goal was never to make money off the property.
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Old 12-31-2006, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

Just so y'all don't feel lonesome, the coastal areas and lake front properties in SC are getting shafted also. My father bought our lot on Pawleys Island for $600 in 1946. This year it (just the lot, not the house) was assessed for $500,000. I'm not agueing with the assessment. I COULD sell it for probably twice that., BUT that's not why I'm holding on to it. My children and grandchildren will probably never have an opportunity to have a beach house (no, it's not on the front beach, it's on the marsh). There shuld be some fair way for us non-flippers to be able to keep property that has been in the family for over 60 years and have no plans to sell it.. If I should sell and make a profit, tax me then,just don't make it hard for a retired govt. employee to hold on for his family. Taxes almost doubled this year End of vent. Thanks for reading.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

At least you dont live in the highest taxed state in the nation!!! Maine is horrible for taxation, and the people of Maine still will not pass anything that puts the ball in their court- a taxpayers bill of rights (tabor) was defeated this past november if you can understand that at all. I like the state- the people are behind the times on a lot of things. I am a native btw.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

This sounds like the same story I've been hearing in Sarasota County on a continuous basis.

We did protest our assessed valuation on just 5% (10 home sites) of our holdings that were impacted by Scrub Jays (a protected species here in Florida). In the hearing we sat in front of 2 county appraisers and a mediator. I came prepared with individual valuation estimates each having five or more recent (year 2005) comparable sales placed on a spreadsheet. For every sale I presented that was under the assessment they presented one that was at or over the assessment and yes they were all similar properties. We have not heard the results from the mediator as of yet and our meeting took place 3 months ago.

We did not protest the assessed value on our remaining inventory because at the time of assessment the value the county used was at the market. As such, they followed the letter of the law. Currently the assessment at $30k to $50k per lot is not that far above our opinion of value. What has happened the that the "investor" ahhhhhh "flipper" is now attempting to unload property at lower values because they over extended to buy it in the first place. We have been marketing some select inventory and yes things are slow. IMO now is a buying opportunity and anyone with cash to burn will make a killing 4 to 7 years out investing in Florida real estate.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

I feel your pain. Here in SC there was a recent amendment to the state constitution that limits the increase in valuation accessment to 15% over a five year period. Of course, many places reassessed these rates before the deadline, which led to a whole bunch of p!ssed off folks. My parents have owned our lake house for 1 year, in that time the accessment nearly doubled, no property has sold in our cove, so there is no reason this increase should have taken place. Needless to say, there is going to be a big crowd at the county council meeting on the 8'th, which is the final meeting to repeal this reaccessment.
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Old 12-31-2006, 06:25 PM
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Default RE: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

dixie county is the same my taxes went from about 500.00 dollars to 3500.00 dollars in the last 4 years.and we have nothing in horeshoe beach.no trash pickup,no city sewer.and the roads are like washboards.exept the one where the county meetings are they just paved it the fire department is volunteer
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Old 12-31-2006, 09:31 PM
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Default RE: Lee County FL raising taxes through the roof

The law is the law. Assessed values must be able to be justified by the market. If you feel they're not, then file a protest and go through the motions.

As for non-resident property, that's a choice. If you're buying to speculate or "invest", then the carrying costs are part of the equation.

If your value went from $1,000 to $42,000, what are you crying about? You have a 42-bagger in gains! What's the problem with paying the taxes on that sort of gain in the market value?

If its HOMESTEAD property that's different. You gotta live somewhere. If you sell THAT house, you have to buy a DIFFERENT one. So there's no speculation - at least in theory - on homestead property.

That's the justification for the difference, and IMHO it makes sense. Its also under your complete control.

If you don't like the assessed value increases, sell the land and take your 42 bagger profit. Hell, I'd love to have a 42-bagger - that'd be only the second time I've ever done something like that, and the other time it was a business I owned - if I deduct the cost of my time, the deal wasn't anywhere NEAR that good.
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