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A major property tax hike has forced Polk County, Florida, resident Tamra Ransom to sell her new home. According to WFLA-TV, Ransom’s property taxes soared to 174% after she received her first Truth in Millage Rate (TRIM) notice in August.  

A TRIM notice is a notification sent to property owners by the local government’s tax assessor’s office and typically includes information about the property’s assessed value, proposed property tax rate, and any changes in taxes compared to the previous year. 


Ransom was prepared to spend a few hundred to a few thousand or so on her property taxes, but she did not expect the rate to jump so drastically. When she purchased her home in May 2023, the property tax bill was around $2,700. After the TRIM assessment was conducted, the annual property tax reportedly soared to around $4,700.

“I felt like I’d been baited and switched,” Ransom told WFLA-TV during an interview.

Due to the significant tax spike and steep cost of homeowner insurance in Florida, Ransom was forced to sell her humble abode. She poured most of her savings into her beautiful property in Winter Haven, Florida. 

“It’s very upsetting because I put most of my savings into the house — the down payment, alarm systems and things like that. And I’m losing all of that because I have to sell the house — and I’m not going to get really anything back,” the Polk County resident said. 

Property and homeownership costs have soared.

Homeowners like Ransom have been feeling squeezed by the rise in homeownership costs over the last several years.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median mortgage payment for a single-family home in quarter three of 2023 was $2,051 compared to $1,837 in 2022. While mortgage payments tend to remain fixed, property costs like taxes and homeowners insurance can skyrocket.

As reported by real estate data analytics company ATTOM, property taxes levied on single-family homes in the United States experienced a remarkable surge of 6.9% in 2023, reaching a total of $363 billion.

This increase nearly doubled the previous year’s uptick of 3.6% and marked the most significant rise seen in five years. On an individual basis, the average homeowner paid $4,062 in property taxes last year, reflecting an approximate 4% increase compared to 2022.

As of April, Floridian homeowners paid an average of $2,338 annually in property taxes, which is lower than the national average, however, the fee can vary depending on the county, Mid Florida noted. 

The average annual cost of homeowners insurance in the Sunshine State stands at $2,625, equivalent to approximately $219 per month, Nerd Wallet adds. This figure exceeds the national average by 37%, which sits at $1,915.

Black homeowners have faced disproportionately high property tax rates. A 2020 study from Indiana University revealed that Black-owned homes were burdened with tax fees 10% to 13% higher than those of white-owned homes. This disparity stemmed from tax assessors overvaluing Black-owned homes in comparison to their actual market value and low appeal rates in the community. 

How do you avoid a high property tax bill?

Prospective homeowners should contact their local property tax assessor before purchasing a home to avoid an expensive tax bill.

TRIM notices are typically assessed based on property valuations determined by local tax assessors. These assessments involve evaluating factors such as the property’s market value, improvements made to the property and any changes in zoning regulations or local tax laws.

Before purchasing a property in your desired area, it’s crucial to be aware of the home valuations in that location. This knowledge will directly impact your tax payments and overall expenses, so thorough research beforehand is essential.

If you receive a surprising TRIM notice after settling into your home, don’t hesitate to file an appeal. Review the notice carefully for any potential errors or discrepancies.

Learn some tips and tricks on how to make your homeownership process seamless at the link below.


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