2023-24 KIDS TAG ART DESIGNS READY FOR PURCHASE

kids tag art program

Need some new bling for the front of your car? Buy a decorative tag designed by fifth graders in the School District of Lee County!

The Lee County Tax Collector and the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools have opened the online ordering portal LeeTC.com/Kids-Tag-Art/2023-24. The portal features 3,460 student designs from 42 different schools. All proceeds from the sales go back to participating art teachers to purchase supplies and introduce new techniques, like 3D art, to their students.

Kids Tag Art was started in Lee County in 2016 and inspires fifth grade students to design their own license plates fashioned after Florida’s specialty plate program. Students learn how these license plates support deserving causes, like environmental protection, health initiatives and public education. Then their designs are turned into tags that can be placed on the front of a vehicle or on a bike. Key fobs, mouse pads and mugs are also available.

Since the program’s inception, more than $200,000 have been raised and given to participating art teachers in Lee County.

The Philanthropist Sponsor for Kids Tag Art is Suncoast Credit Union. Other sponsors include Lee County Electric Co-op (LCEC), Edison Bank/Bank of the Islands, Grant Street Group, First Horizon, Dprint, JP Morgan, and The Community Foundation providing additional funding to support our teachers.

2023 Property Tax FAQs


I need to change my mailing address – who do I call?

thumbnail image of a tax bill
The Property Appraiser is responsible for maintaining property records, including the mailing address. You can make the change on their website, www.leepa.org or call their office at 239-533-6100.

I have a question about my exemptions – who do I call?
The Property Appraiser is responsible for maintaining property records, including the exemptions. You can visit their website for more information, www.leepa.org or call their office at 239-533-6100.

How do I know if my payment was received?
Visit our website www. Leetc.com and click Pay Online. Choose Property Tax and enter your name or address in the following search field and select your record. The Account History will display the tax year and show Unpaid or Paid. A receipt can be printed from the Print(PDF) action. Please allow 7 – 10 days for mail and processing.

How can I get a receipt for my tax payment?
Visit our property tax payment website enter your name or address in the search field and select your record. The Account History will display
the tax year and show paid. A receipt can be printed by clicking Print(PDF).

How do I print my property tax bill?
Visit our property tax payment website enter your name or address in the search field and select your record. Click on Print(PDF) which is located under the “Add to Cart” button. You can print a hard copy or save the file to your computer.

Can I still sign up for the installment payment plan for 2023?
Unfortunately, no. Applications for quarterly installment payments must be received in our office by April 30th of the current tax year. You can
submit an application for the 2024 tax year. Visit https://leetc.com/payment-options/ to learn more.

Can I make payments on my 2023 property tax bill?
Yes, partial payments are accepted for the current tax year with no allowance for discounts. Payments are based on the March amount. You
can make up to 5 payments before March 31. Each payment will incur a $10 processing fee. No additional notices are sent to the property owner
for the outstanding amount. To be eligible, taxpayers must: complete a Partial Payment Plan Agreement form.

I no longer have a mortgage, why is a mortgage company listed on my tax notice?
If you have recently paid your mortgage in full, your property may have still been listed on their records for tax payments. Contact the mortgage
company to be sure there are no escrow funds allocated for the current tax year. Although the mortgage company is listed, you can still make the
payment in November to receive the 4% discount.

Why did I get a tax bill for the full year when I just bought the property?
Property taxes are accounted for when closing on a property and charged or credited for your portion by the closing agent. The tax bill for the
full year is sent to the current owner of record. Refer to your settlement (closing) statement or call your title company or attorney if you have
any questions.

I sold this property, why am I getting a tax bill?
Annual tax bills are mailed to the owner of record as of the date the official tax role is sent to us from the Property Appraiser. Change of ownership
is recorded with the Clerk of Court, then sent to the Property Appraiser, so it may just be an issue of timing. You can forward the bill to the new owner
or refer to your closing agent for tax payment.

Why did I get a Tangible Tax bill for my property?
Tangible Personal Property refers to all assets used in a business or rental activity of a home that are subject to an ad valorem assessment. More
specifically, it is furniture, fixtures, tools, machinery, household appliances, equipment, signs, leasehold improvements, supplies, and leased
equipment – whatever is used to generate income. If you recently purchased a home that is no longer used for rental, contact the Property Appraiser’s
office at 239-533-6140.

 

How to Read your Tax Notice

It’s that time of year when real estate property tax notices are mailed to property owners throughout Lee County.

Annual taxes are determined using the following calculation:

All the above components are listed on your tax bill, you just need to know where to look.

Let’s work through the bill using this handy guide, starting from the upper left corner. There, your Account Number and Alternate Key are listed. Those will be useful if you need to contact our office, or the Property Appraiser’s Office.

To the right of the Account Number, are the site address and legal description of the property. Any changes to those will need to be made by contacting the Property Appraiser’s Office at www.leepa.org or 239-533-6100.

Moving further to the right is a QR Code. Scanning that code with your mobile phone’s camera will take you directly to your online account where you can pay your taxes.

Furthest to the right, in the upper corner of the bill is a list of exemptions and their values. If you have questions about these, please contact the Property Appraiser’s Office at www.leepa.org or 239-533-6100.

The center of the page has a list of Levying Authorities along with their telephone numbers and rates. Any questions about the rates or services provided, need to be answered by calling the Levying Authority directly.

About 2/3 of the way down the page, on the right, above the perforation line, you will see the total amount of Ad Valorem and Non-Ad Valorem Taxes.

However, if paid early, there is a discount on that amount. Taxes paid in November receive a 4% discount, December a 3% discount, January a 2% and February is a 1% discount. Those amounts are reflected in the payment box on the bottom right of the notice.

Simply check the box next to the amount you wish to pay, tear off the coupon and return it, along with payment, in the envelope provided.

You can also pay online by scanning the QR code at the top of the bill, or by going to www.LeeTC.com and clicking Pay Online.

For additional guidance on which office to call with questions, please refer to the chart below, located on the back of the notice.

Once tax payments are received, my office is responsible for distributing the dollars to the Levying Authorities.

Thank you for allowing me and my team to assist you. It is an honor.

Noelle Branning
Lee County Tax Collector
www.LeeTC.com

 

2023 Lee County Tax Roll is Open for Collection

thumbnail image of a tax billThey’re neither a trick nor a treat, just a reality.

Today, more than 562,000 tax bills are being mailed to property and business owners in Lee County. For those who signed up to receive their bill via email, those will be sent tomorrow, November 1, 2023.

These bills reflect the value of the property as of January 1, 2023, when Florida law required them to be assessed.

Tax payments are due by March 31, 2024, but discounts are given if paid early. Taxes paid in November receive a 4% discount, in December a 3% discount, in January a 2% discount and in February a 1% discount.

“This year’s tax collections are expected to be more than $2.2 billion before discount,” shared Noelle Branning, Lee County Tax Collector. “All dollars collected by our office are turned around and distributed to the Levying Authorities in Lee County to pay for services including fire rescue and law enforcement, and infrastructure such as schools, roads, parks, and utilities.”

This year’s tax bill has been redesigned to be easier to read and understand. In addition, resources have been created to help property owners better understand how Florida’s property tax system works, how to read a tax notice and most importantly, who to call with questions about a tax bill.

“It is our mission to deliver 5-star service to our customers,” explains Branning. “These new resources will help property owners find the answers they need quickly and pay their bills with efficiency.”

Tax bills can be paid online at LeeTC.com, via mail, over the phone, or in person at one of our six locations either by drop box, or by meeting with a customer service representative.

Property owners whose property taxes are paid through an escrow account should contact their mortgage company for information about the company’s plan for remitting escrowed property tax payments.

50% Discount on Annual, 5-Year, and Lifetime Gold Sportsman Licenses

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Great Outdoors Initiative to encourage Floridians to go outdoors and explore Florida’s natural resources, including our award-winning state parks, vast recreation areas, and world-renowned waterways.

The Great Outdoors Initiative directs the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to provide a 50% discount on Gold Sportsman licenses.

From October 14, 2023, through January 13, 2024, FWC will discount its annual resident Gold Sportsman license, 5-year Gold Sportsman license, and Lifetime Sportsman license by 50%.

  • Annual Gold Sportsman – $50.75, plus applicable fees
  • 5-year Gold Sportsman – $247.75, plus applicable fees
  • Lifetime Sportsman –
    • Age 0-4 – $201.50, plus applicable fees
    • Age 5-12 – $351.50, plus applicable fees
    • Ages 13-64 – $501.50, plus applicable fees

Customers can purchase the discounted licenses at a tax collector’s office, online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, or through the Fish|Hunt FL App.

What documents should I bring?

One of the most frustrating parts of coming to a Tax Collector’s Office, is realizing that you do not have the documents you need to complete your transaction.

Unfortunately, there is not a “one list fits all” approach for Motor Vehicle and Driver License services. The documents you need depend on what you want to accomplish.

In order to make things a little easier, we created these direct links to pages on our site that list what you need to bring.

When you get to one of our offices, check with our representative at the Customer Care Cart who will go through your documents to ensure that you have everything.

If you forgot something, no worries. As long as we don’t need the original, you can fax us or email us a copy. You can also print it using our public printer.

We hope that these resources create efficiency and enhance your experience with our office!

 

Property Tax Questions? Here’s who to call.

Pop Quiz: If you have a question about the value of your home or land, who should you call: the Property Appraiser or the Tax Collector?

As your Tax Collector, I get that question all the time. To be fair, our system can be confusing, especially when many people come from other states where the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser are the same person.

In Florida however, the Constitution establishes two different elected positions to work with levying authorities (i.e. the County Commission, City Councils or School District), to comprise our Property Tax System.

It’s like three legs of a stool.

The Property Appraiser values properties and prepares and certifies the tax roll (including assessed values, exemptions, legal description, assessed owners’ names and mailing addresses).

The Levying Authorities establish millage rates and other assessments based on revenue needed to operate.

The Tax Collector receives all that information and prints and mails the tax bills, collects payment, and distributes the funds to our local governments and levying authorities.

While we all work together to make Lee County the best place to live, work and play, each of us plays a distinct role in the system; making the answer to our Pop Quiz question: The Property Appraiser.

For more information about each of our offices and who to contact with frequently asked questions, we’ve created the following chart:

We also have this printable handout which also helps explain the responsibilities of each office.

I hope this de-mystifies the process a bit and helps save you time by knowing who to contact with questions.

Thank you for allowing me and my team to assist you. It is an honor.

Noelle Branning
Lee County Tax Collector

Florida’s Property Tax System

picture of noelle branning and her signature on a blue background with a cityscape outline

While it might not be the most exciting topic to discuss at a dinner party with friends, Florida’s Property Tax System is something that’s worth understanding to help manage your finances and make informed decisions.

So, let’s dive right in.

The cycle starts fresh every year, on January 1 when Property Appraisers in Florida determine the assessed value of each parcel of property in their respective counties.

Three months later, on March 1, applications for exemptions that can reduce property taxes are due to the Property Appraiser. Be sure to check with the Property Appraiser to see if you’re eligible for the homestead exemption.

Between March and July there’s a flurry of activity as Property Appraisers certify the total taxable value of all the properties in the county. That information is then shared with the local taxing (also known as levying) authorities (i.e., County Commission and City Councils) to set their proposed millage rates.

In August, Property Appraisers mail the Notices of Proposed Property Taxes (TRIM notices) to all property owners.  Yours should have arrive a couple of weeks ago. These notices are not bills, but instead provide information about the value of a property, approved exemptions, and the amount that will be owed based on the proposed millage rates. If you have a question about your values or exemptions, now is the time to ask the Property Appraiser.

From September – early October, local taxing authorities hold public meetings to gather input before voting on a final millage rate. If you have questions or want to have input in the tax rate setting process, you will need to attend the public hearings. (A list of dates and locations is listed on your TRIM notice.)

Once that process is complete, the Property Appraiser certifies the tax rolls and sends them to the Tax Collector who is statutorily responsible for printing and mailing the tax bills in late October, early November. (You can also download your tax bill or sign up to have it emailed to you directly.)

Your annual taxes are determined using the following calculation:

  • Your property value, minus any exemptions, equals the taxable value of your home.
  • The taxable value is then multiplied by the millage rates set by taxing authorities to determine your Ad-Valorem Taxes.
  • The Ad-Valorem Taxes are added to the Non-Ad Valorem assessments, which are based on services, not the value of your property. Think storm water or solid waste assessments.
  • The combined total determines your annual taxes.

Tax payments are due on March 31, but if you pay early, you receive a discount. Taxes paid in November receive a 4% discount, December is a 3% discount, January is 2% and February is 1%.

Once tax payments are received, the Tax Collector is responsible for distributing the dollars to the taxing authorities to pay for services like fire and rescue, law enforcement protection, schools, roads, utilities, and parks.

Come January, the cycle starts all over again.

So now, if your dinner party gets boring, you have something to talk about!

Noelle Branning
Lee County Tax Collector
www.leetc.com

LCTC Expansion Update, Summer 2023

Tax Collector logo with skyline, palm trees and houseOver the past few years Lee County has experienced tremendous growth and all indicators point to that continuing. In response, we have been working with Lee County to create plans for expansion.

In early 2024, we will move from our current location in Lehigh Acres to larger office space at the corner of Homestead and Milwaukee. The new service center will be 9,640 square feet with 24 stations and be the first to have a children’s area with small activities. The design will be fresh and modern, getting away from the “government looking” office space. Construction has begun, and when complete, we will join the Supervisor of Elections, Department of Health, and the Lee County Clerk of Courts in this building.

In 2024 we were also planning on opening a new location in Estero at the Miromar Outlets. Lee County was negotiating that contract as the space was being leased to them. Unfortunately, due to rising remodeling costs, the contract between Lee County and Miromar Outlets was terminated, which means we will not be opening a service center at that location.

Our office is committed to creating an infrastructure that will enable us to meet the growing demands of our customers and continue to excel in our industry. We are currently re-evaluating the needs of our community for future locations and will continue to share updates as we have them.

What is a TRIM Notice?

August in Florida is known for heat… humidity… and of course, TRIM notices!

TRIM Notices are required to be mailed no later than August 25 to all property owners. But what is a TRIM notice and why is it important?

It’s origin dates back to 1980 when the Florida Legislature passed the Truth in Millage (TRIM) Act. That act required all Property Appraisers to mail property owners a notice of proposed taxes. TRIM notices include information about:

  • The current “Just Value” of your property
  • Approved exemptions
  • The governmental entities responsible for your taxes and
  • The amount you owe each entity based on the value of your property

TRIM notices are mailed after proposed millage rates (tax rates) are set, but before taxing authorities take a final vote. That’s why the notice provides public
hearing dates, as well as contact information for each taxing authority, in case you would like to provide input before a final vote is taken.

TRIM notices are also important because they give you time to ask questions about the value of your property or the exemptions approved for the property.
They also provide information on how to appeal the property’s value or a denial of exemption. Questions related to property values and exemptions on TRIM
notices should be directed to the Property Appraiser.

Something else that’s very important? TRIM notices are NOT A BILL. Every year we get people coming into our offices to try and pay their TRIM notice. These
are for information only; nothing needs to be paid until you receive your official tax bill which is mailed in late October.

And speaking of Tax Bills, your tax bill will not match your TRIM notice. In most cases your tax bill will be higher. That’s because TRIM notices do NOT include
Non-Ad Valorem taxes, which are assessments based on services (not property values) provided to you. Examples include stormwater or solid waste
assessments. Thus, your TRIM notice will never match your tax bill because your tax bill will include those assessments.

So, when you receive your TRIM notice from the Property Appraiser, please open it and read it carefully. I hope this information is helpful and explains why
TRIM notices are important and how they differ from your tax bill.

Thank you for allowing me and my team to serve you. It is an honor.


Noelle Branning
Lee County Tax Collector

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