Alachua 30th in state for per capita property tax

The good news for property owners in Florida and Alachua County this year is that most property values have gone up, while most local millage rates held steady or declined.

And the Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR) capped your assessment value increase for homesteaded properties to 1.4 percent as long as you didn’t add any new construction. That 2021 cap of 1.4 percent is down from the 2020 cap of 2.3 percent thanks to the limits established in 1995 by the Save Our Homes initiative.

Those 105,331 Alachua County real estate property tax bills that were sent out by the tax collector on Nov. 1 arrived last week.

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And according to Alachua County Tax Collector John Power, they will generate a revenue of $393,460,611.67.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) 2020 Florida County ad valorem tax profile ranks Alachua County as 30th in the state for taxes levied per capita at $561. It’s Martin County that tops the ranking at $1,404 per capita and Union County coming in 67th as the least in per capita taxes levied at $170.

John Power - Alachua County Tax Collector

“We’re not the highest taxed in the state,” Power said. “We’re in the middle of the pack in the counties.”

Power addressed some common concerns he hears annually from taxpayers and also noted some trends he is seeing in how taxpayers pay their bill.

On the 2021 tax roll 52,987 properties have a homestead exemption, according to Power.

Of those, nearly 20 percent of the bills (10,217) are for $1,000 or less. The median tax bill is $2,399 and the average is $2,998 with 52 percent of all bills (27,605) coming in under $2,500.

Power added that 33 percent are between $2,500 and $5,000 and 15 percent of the bills are over $5,000.

He also noted that churches, government properties, colleges, university hospitals, VA hospitals, homestead exemptions, agricultural classified properties, etc. exempt almost half of the tax roll’s just value from ad-valorem taxes. 

In 2020, Alachua County properties’ just values were $30,943,654,724 but after exemptions, the taxable value was $16,235,962,239.

Of the 105,331 property tax bills sent this year, Power said 74,329 are for residential properties which will represent $8,873,981,755 in residential taxable income or 51.5 percent of taxable properties for the entire county.

“Some businesses are exempt from taxation,” Power said, listing UF and SF College, Shands, the VA, GRU, cities, and the school board as some of those. “Our economic engine is made up of exempted entities.”

How Alachua County residents pay their tax bill has changed drastically, Power said.

Of the three ways, in person, mail, or online, Power said more and more taxpayers are using electronic payment options.

In 2016, 37 percent paid their bill electronically compared to 52 percent in 2020, he reported. Mailed payments were at 35 percent in 2016 but dropped to 29 percent in 2020. And in person payment made at the tax office was 27 percent in 2016 dropping to just 19 percent paying in person.

A look at the 2020 municipal ad valorem tax profile reveals that the City of Alachua had the highest per capita tax rate among incorporated small towns in Alachua County (Gainesville was $300) at $467 per capita taxes levied.

Hawthorne per capita taxes levied came in as the lowest at $186 followed by LaCrosse at $187, Archer at $198, Waldo at $224, High Springs at $281, Micanopy at $292, Newberry at $431.

The top non-residential taxpayers in Alachua County for 2020 had a combined taxable value of $520,671,635. Concrete manufacturer Argos USA topped the chart followed by LM Gainesville LLC, Oaks Mall, HCA Health Services of Florida and North Florida Regional Medical Center, Inc.

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