Charlotte County taxpayers will see personal property rates shift

Published 9:56 pm Sunday, April 28, 2024

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Charlotte County taxpayers will see changes on their personal property bills later this year — vehicle values declining by 11-13% and the tax rate increasing by about 8%.

The changes in value and the tax rate are expected to offset each other. The personal property tax should generate about the same amount of revenue for the county and hold residents’ tax bills close to the same amount they would have seen without the change.

Commissioner of Revenue Naisha Carter will begin using the average trade-in value from the J.D. Power guide, formerly known as NADA.

“Within this guide, there are values for clean loan, clean retail, clean trade-in, average trade-in and rough trade-in,” Carter explained Monday. “Charlotte County has always used clean trade-in and now we will be using average trade-in value.”

She explained that many localities similar in size had changed to this value during COVID-19, effectively lowering the amount of tax vehicle owners pay. Charlotte County just lowered its personal property tax rate, sticking with the higher clean trade-in value.

“I just figured it was time,” Carter said Monday.

She believes some people will see their amount come in about the same, with some slightly lower and some slightly higher.

Amount balances out

County Administrator Dan Witt said calculations by his staff show the amount the county will collect in the 2025 fiscal year to be the same as the current year.

“The revenue that was actually received in FY2023 $3,690,876 and the budgeted amount for FY2025 $3,724,767, which is a $33K increase from FY2023,” Witt said in a Monday interview. “But there is typically an increase as citizens purchase new or newer vehicles.” He noted that he didn’t use the current FY2024 numbers here because they have only received a half-year of those taxes at this point.

The proposed budget for next year sets the rate at $3.46 per $100 assessed value, up from the current $3.25 per $100.

“Based on information and trends seen in neighboring counties, vehicles’ assessed values will decrease an average of 11-13%,” Witt said in a memo to supervisors. “However, with the rescue squad, schools, and fire departments all in need of increased funding for the upcoming year, the county could not afford to forgo the decrease in personal property tax revenue that would result from this change, which would have been more than $200,000.”

On average and depending on the age and value of a vehicle, Witt said citizens should see minimal change in their personal property taxes.

“To the best of our ability and with the information provided by the commissioner, staff recommended an ‘equalization’ rate for personal property taxes for the citizens of Charlotte County,” he explained.

Changes for Charlotte County taxpayers

Both Carter and Witt provided some examples to show how the change to the average trade-in value next fiscal year will affect Charlotte County taxpayers.

Carter noted that she does not yet have the J.D. Power (NADA) guide for 2024-25 yet, noting it will be released later this year. To demonstrate the change from the clean trade-in value, she used the current guide.

  • 2010 Ford Taurus: Carter said the guide shows a $4,400 clean NADA trade-in value, which at the current $3.25 per $100 value rate makes the total $143 (two payments of $71.50). Using average trade-in value puts its value at $2,925, which puts the tax bill using the new rate of $3.46 per $100 value at a total of $101 (two payments of $50.50).
  • 2008 GMC Sierra: The commissioner shows the clean trade-in value at $7,975, which puts the total tax at $259 (two payments of $129.50) with the current $3.25 rate. The average trade-in value is $5,600, which puts the tax amount at $194 (two payments of $97) with the proposed $3.46 rate.

In the packet for the most recent board of supervisors meeting, Witt included several examples for their review.

  • 2021 Infiniti: The clean NADA trade-in value is $40,250, making the tax with the $3.25 rate come in at a total of $1,308. Using the average trade-in value of $38,675, the total tax with the proposed $3.46 rate would be $1,338. This is a total increase of $30 when compared to the $3.25 rate. 
  • 2021 Toyota Tundra: With a clean trade-in value of $43,800, the total tax using the $3.25 current rate is $1,423. Using the average trade-in value of $42,225, that puts the tax bill total using the proposed $3.46 rate at $1,461.  The total increase is $38, when compared to the $3.25 rate.

Witt also included an example for boats, farm equipment and motor homes, which the document states depreciate an average of 10% per year. For one of the three valued at $20,000, the total tax would be $650 using the current $3.25 per $100 rate. The owner would see a $27.80 lower bill in the next fiscal year using the proposed $3.46 rate based on depreciation lowering its value to $18,000 and the tax bill $622.80