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 Past News Briefs


TAX COLLECTOR WINS DEPARTMENT OF STATE AWARD

Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs Recognizes the Kids Tag Art Program

Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, announces that the Kids Tag Art Program, a drawing and fundraising program that originated in Polk County is the recipient of the Division of Cultural Affairs’ Diversity and Inclusion Award for 2018.

The Diversity & Inclusion Awards Program recognizes the efforts of individuals working to make arts and cultural programming in Florida as diverse and inclusive as possible.  The Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs recognizes Florida’s diversity as one of the key attributes to the state’s vibrant cultural landscape and through this program aims to support the ongoing dedication of Florida’s cultural organizations to lead in this area.

Kids Tag Art has been a great success in Polk County for twelve years and several years ago many other tax collectors took up the program to the point where in addition to each individual Tax Collector program, a Florida Tax Collector’s Kids Tag Art Program, hosted by the Florida Tax Collector Association (FTCA) was created.   There are now over 14 county tax collectors that are actively hosting this program across the state.

“Southern Homes is proud to partner with Joe Tedder and his team in support of the very successful and award-winning Kids Tag Art program,” said Greg Masters, President of Southern Homes. “We know that students who participate in the arts are three times more likely to be awarded for school attendance and are more likely to graduate. By investing in this program, we feel that we’re investing in the future of Polk County students and, ultimately, the future of our community.”

Because of this statewide impact, The Florida Tax Collector’s Association has been awarded the 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Award by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Cultural Affairs and the Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc.  This award will be presented on Wednesday evening, January 24, 2018.

The award comes with a cash prize of $1,000. The Florida Tax Collectors plan to use these funds to establish a statewide awards program for the students’ artwork, to coincide with the FTCA Fall Education Conference held in Orlando each year.

For more information on the Department of State’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards, please visit http://dos.myflorida.com/cultural/programs/diversity-inclusion-awards-program/



TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE CLOSED ON MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. HOLIDAY

Regular Business Hours Will Resume On Tuesday, January 16

On Monday, January 15, 2018, the Tax Collector's Service Centers throughout Polk County will be closed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday. The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven will be closed as well.

To learn more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and Day of Service, visit the following website: www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday.

For online payments and information, including office hours and locations, please go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED NEW YEAR'S DAY

Tax Collector's Service Centers Are Closed On Monday

In observance of the New Year's Holiday, the Tax Collector's Office will be closed on New Year's Day, Monday, January 1, 2018.

The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business hours beginning Tuesday, January 2.

Attention

Individuals still seeking to make 2017 property tax payments before the end of December for Federal Tax purposes and  to obtain a 3% discount, may pay online before midnight Sunday, December 31 at www.PolkTaxes.com.

Have a Happy New Year!



2018 PROPERTY TAXES CANNOT BE PREPAID

At This Time Only 2017 And Prior Year Property Taxes Can Be Paid

A taxpayer may not prepay 2018 taxes in 2017 because the 2018 tax roll is not open for collection. Generally, tax rolls are open for collection starting on November 1 of each year. The 2018 property tax rolls are not open for collection and will not be until at least November 1, 2018. Under Section 197.333, Florida Statutes, taxes are due and payable on November 1 of each year at the earliest.



TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE HOLIDAY CLOSINGS

A Joyous Holiday Season, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year To All!

The Office of Tax Collector for Polk County announces that its service center offices will be closed on Monday and Tuesday, December 25 and 26, in observance of the Christmas holiday and again on Monday, January 1, 2018  in observance of the New Year’s holiday.

Normal office hours will resume Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

For more information, go towww.PolkTaxes.comor call the Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4700.



DECEMBER IS BUSY SEASON AT TAX COLLECTOR SERVICE CENTERS

Taxpayers are Advised to Avoid the Crowds by Paying Early and Using Online or Mail-In Options

Joe Tedder estimates over 22,000 customers will come through their offices the last two weeks of the month, with December being the busiest month of the year for the Tax Collector’s Office. That’s because December 31 is the deadline for mobile home and heavy truck registration renewals, vehicle registrations for owners with December birthdays, as well as for those taking advantage of a 3% property tax discount if paid by the end of December.  In addition, office closings due to the holidays will reduce the hours of operation just when driver license customers, many of whom are students out for winter break, are seeking permits.

The Tax Collector’s Office reminds taxpayers that they will be closed for the holidays on Monday, December 25,  Tuesday, December 26, and Monday, January 1, 2018. Owners whose vehicle registrations and decals expire at the end of December are encouraged to conduct their renewal transactions by Friday, December 29, and reminded that expired motor vehicle registrations and license plates are subject to law enforcement citations.  

To renew vehicle registrations before the end of the month, or to qualify for the 3% property tax discount, motor vehicle and property owners must mail in their payment with a postmark stamped on or before Saturday, December 30, or, make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before December 31. (They may also visit one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 if paying in person.)

This year, taxpayers may also opt to use the same day service, Express Pick-Up, to get their renewal decals the same day, by going online and completing their transaction before arriving at a service center.

To summarize, tax payments may be made in the following ways:

  • Pay via the internet at www.PolkTaxes.com .Payments must be made on or before midnight Sunday, December 31.
  • Same day service via Express Pick-Up, via the Tax Collector website,  www.PolkTaxes.com
  • Pay by Mail: Payments must be postmarked on or before Saturday, December 30.
  • Pay in person at all service center locations: All payments must be received before 5:00 PM, Tuesday, January 2, 2018.
  • The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven accepts property tax payments in their drop-box which is accessible in their lobby during business hours.

For more information, go to www.PolkTaxes.com or call the Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4700.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSING FOR THANKSGIVING

Tax Collector's Ofice Closed Thursday & Friday

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.

The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Monday, November 27.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!



TAX COLLECTOR OFFICE CLOSED FRIDAY IN OBSERVANCE OF VETERAN’S DAY

Normal Office Hours Will Resume On Monday, November 13, 2017

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County will be closed on Friday, November 10 in Observance of Veteran’s Day, Saturday, November 11, 2017. Normal office hours will resume on Monday, November 13, 2017.

The Tax Collector’s Office reminds veterans of important information, discounts, and benefits for those residents who have served or are in service in our nation’s military.  For more veteran information, click on this link:  http://www.polktaxes.com/generalinfo/Veterans.aspx

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County would like to take this opportunity to thank our veterans for their service to our country by providing a USA Flag lapel pin when they visit our office.

 



PROPERTY TAX BILLS ARE IN THE MAIL

Taxpayers Should Be Receiving Notices This Week

 

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports that the 2017 Property Tax Notices to all of Polk County's property owners have been mailed.

"Property owners should be receiving their bills in the mail over the next few days," says Tedder. 

Each year, Tedder and his staff announce the mailing of tax bills to property owners, knowing  that up to 1% of the bills each year will come back as “not deliverable” due to incorrect addresses.

Tedder reminds taxpayers their taxes are due, whether they receive a tax bill or not, citing Florida law which clearly places the burden of responsibility for payment of taxes on the property owner.

The only exception to this are those property owners who have opted to pay by an installment plan. For them, a November bill will not be sent; instead, they will be notified of third quarter installment payments due December 1.

Included in the mailing, the tax office also provides an informational insert to help answer taxpayer questions. The insert includes a listing of taxing and levying authorities and a brief description of taxes and/or assessments that may appear on the tax bill, as well as their telephone numbers.

Property owners who do not receive their property tax notice(s) by Monday, November 13, 2017 should contact the Tax Collector's Office.

Local callers may call (863) 534-4700; callers outside the local access area may call toll-free (855) 765-5829 [855-POLK-TAX].

Property owners can also go to www.PolkTaxes.com, the official website for the Tax Collector for Polk County or the Tax Collector's payment portal, www.ClickOrStick.com, where they can access and then print out a copy of their tax bill(s).

If paying:

BY MAIL - Please use the return envelope and make sure to mail the lower part of your notice form(s) to the Tax Collector's Office for validating when paying taxes.

ON-LINE - Go to www.PolkTaxes.comor www.ClickOrStick.comand follow the online payment directions.

IN PERSON -  Payments are accepted at the Tax Collector's Bartow Main Office, located at 430 E. Main Street; Lake Wales Service Center at 658 Highway 60 W.; and the North Ridge Service Center, located at 2000 Deer Creek Commerce Lane in Davenport.  In Lakeland, payments may be made at the Lakeland Service Center on 916 N. Massachusetts Avenue.

For customer convenience, tax payments may also be placed in a DROP BOX provided inside the American Legion Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W. in Winter Haven.

For maps to these locations or other information related to your property taxes, please visit www.PolkTaxes.comor the Tax Collector's payment portal, www.ClickOrStick.com.

Beginning April 1, 2018, all unpaid property taxes submitted by mail or online for the 2017 tax year become delinquent. (Note: Walk-in payments are accepted until 5:00 P.M. on April 2, 2018 before becoming delinquent.)

 



BUSINESSES FAILING TO RENEW BUSINESS TAX RECEIPT FACE INCREASED PENALTIES

Late Renewal Fees Increase To 15% In November

Beginning in November, businesses operating in Polk County that failed to timely renew their County Local Business Tax Receipt will face a late renewal penalty of 15% through the month of November for any unpaid taxes owed, in addition to the original tax amount owed and collection costs. Delinquent penalties will increase an additional 5% in December.

To report a business operating in Polk County without a current County Local Business Tax Receipt by telephone, dial toll free 1 (866) 687-8876 or send an email message to BT@PolkTaxes.com.



SECOND 2017 PROPERTY TAX INSTALLMENT DUE SEPTEMBER 30

Taxpayers are advised to pay early and avoid long lines!

The Tax Collector’s Office reminds those taxpayers who pay property taxes through the property tax installment plan, that Saturday, September 30 is the deadline to make payment on the second installment of the 2017 tax bill. Taxpayers are advised to make payments either online, by mail or in person at any of the Tax Collector Service Centers in Polk County. Taxpayers may also drop off their payment in one of the drop boxes found inside all Service Centers and at the Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven.  Payments must be received on or before Friday, September 29, 2017.

Joe Tedder, Tax Collector, wants taxpayers to know that the end of the month is a very busy time at the Tax Collector’s Office and anyone visiting offices on those days may find long lines.

In addition, because the end of the month falls on a weekend, taxpayers who wish to make their payment in person may do so on Monday, October 2, 2017 without incurring a penalty. (Note: A convenience fee is charged for property tax transactions paid by credit/debit card.)

For office locations and more information about property tax installments, please visit www.polktaxes.com.



AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION HOSTS 2017 HEART WALK

Tax Collector Staff Invites the Public to Join Them on Heart Walk

The Tax Collector's Office will be out in force on Saturday, September 30th, in support of the 2017 American Heart Association Heart Walk.  This year’s event will be held at Joker Marchant Stadium on Lakeland Hills Blvd, in Lakeland.   

According to Chad Loy, Vice President of the Central Florida chapter, the festivities begin at 7:30 a.m. with teams checking in.  A stage program will begin at 8:00 and awards are announced.  The walk begins at 8:30 a.m.

The public is invited to view the newly renovated stadium.  Baseball Digest just tallied over 178,000 votes and Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium received the “Best of the Ballpark High-A” award, which only 2 other ballparks have ever received.   

The new Healthy For Good™ initiative is transforming this event to become more than just a walk. The Polk County Heart Walk will now have activities right from the beginning! Here are a few:

•    Satya Yoga is putting on a yoga demonstration during the event and after the walk as a cool-down
•    Haka Fitness will be having workout games and demonstrating how to foam roll
•    Orange Theory Fitness will be demonstrating a workout.

In addition, we will also have a dancing, family and jump rope station as well.

To kick it off, this year we will be having our Heart Man Challenge – we will be asking our participants to complete each activity. For each one completed, they will receive a sticker. If they complete them all, they may enter to win a prize.

The goal for this year is to get people moving from the beginning to end, and leave the Heart Walk with information and motivation to make small changes throughout the year.



COUNTY BUSINESS TAX DEADLINE NEARS

All Polk Businesses Required To Display Valid Tax Receipt

If you have not renewed your county business tax receipt with the Polk County Tax Collector's Office this year, you only have until the end of September to renew timely.

Joe G. Tedder reminds local business owners that everyone doing business in Polk County must renew their 2017-2018 county local business tax receipt by Saturday, September 30. Payments must be either postmarked or transacted online on or before this date. Taxpayers who wish to make payment in person may do so up until 5:00 p.m. Monday, October 2, 2017 without incurring additional penalties.  Any business not renewing by this date will fall delinquent and face substantial penalties. Businesses in Polk County must also display and make visible their current business tax receipt.

Businesses that have not yet renewed or those seeking to obtain an original application for a county local business tax receipt should go to the Tax Collector's website, www.polktaxes.com,where they can renew online or download an application. Renewal transactions and applications are also available at any one of the Tax Collector's Service Centers, locations for which may also be found on the website.

The valid 2017-2018 county local business tax receipt which must be displayed is lavender in color.

To report businesses operating in Polk County without a valid county local business tax receipt, please telephone the Tax Collector's Toll Free Hotline at 1-866-687-8876.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR LABOR DAY

Office Closed Monday, September 4th

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Monday, September 4th for Labor Day. The office will resume regular servce hours on Tuesday, September 5th,

The Tax Collector's Office hopes everyone in Polk County has a safe and happy Labor Day!



TAX COLLECTOR CONCLUDES 2017 TAX CERTIFICATE SALE

Sale Primarily Conducted On Delinquent 2016 Real Estate Property Taxes

On June 1, 2017, the Tax Collector's Office held their annual real property tax certificate sale. This sale is held online every year to address the revenue shortfall created from delinquent taxes by selling tax certificates, which are tax liens, to willing investors. Investors in tax certificates assume some risk and plan to receive the principal and interest from delinquent taxpayers when the delinquent taxes are finally paid.

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports that from a total real estate tax roll of $503,766,155 at the beginning of the tax year, $18,985,386 went unpaid and was offered up for tax certificates on June 1, 2017.  Of this, 17,154 tax certificates were sold, for a total of $18,581,079 delinquent taxes collected, representing 97.8% of the unpaid balance of taxes owed, at an average interest rate to investors of 2.15%, a savings to those property owners with outstanding taxes still owing.  

At the conclusion of the online tax certificate sale, $404,307 in delinquent tax certificates remains unsold, compared to $1,874,422 a year ago. For the 2016 tax year, the total real estate tax roll collected, including the tax certificate sale is $502,843,096, representing a 99.8 % collection rate.  

On July 3, 2017, these county-held tax certificates will be available for review and purchase at www.polkfl.realtaxlien.com

For more information, please go to www.polktaxes.com.



EXPRESS PICKUP SWEEPSTAKES WINNERS ANNOUNCED

For The Month Of May Drawing!

The Tax Collector's Office is pleased to announce our first month Express Pick Up Sweepstakes winners! They are Alia Clare Stokes, seen here with Tax Collector employee Dawn Robinson, and Rene Hernandez, pictured here with his happy family, both picking up their $100 Publix Gift Cards as the winners of the May 2017 drawing!

You too can win! Each month we will be drawing 2 names and awarding two $100 Publix gift cards. Just make sure that you use Express Pick-Up when you renew your vehicle registration, due on your birthday! For more information, go to polktaxes.com

PASS THE WORD!

 



APPOINTMENTS NOW REQUIRED FOR ALL DRIVER LICENSE TESTING

Tax Office Recently Moved to Require Appointments for Written Tests

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County has developed an appointment system for driver license customers needing to take a written test. Back in 2015, an appointment system was developed for anyone needing a road test in order to receive a driver license.  Beginning June 1, Polk County residents seeking to take a written test to obtain a Florida driver license will be required to make an appointment with the Tax Collector’s Office. Appointments are now required for general knowledge (Class E), commercial driver licenses (CDL), road and verbal testing.

“With the influx of driver license transactions in our office,” states Joe Tedder, Tax Collector, “we continue to look for ways to streamline services for Polk County residents.  The expansion of our appointment system to include written tests will allow all of our customers to be served more timely.”

The Tax Collector’s Office currently averages approximately 270 written and 225 road tests county-wide per week at their service centers.  When unscheduled, these transactions can be very time consuming, which impact customer service by increasing wait-times for those seeking other transactions performed at the Tax Collector’s Office.  

The Tax Collector’s Office developed the appointment system as one step to address the length of customer service wait-times and to better manage walk-in traffic at its Service Centers. Appointments for both written and road tests are only available for Polk County residents.

The Tax Collector’s Office also advises that general knowledge driver license written tests are also conveniently available online. For more information visit PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 30, 2016.

The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service.



TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE OFFERING CONCEALED WEAPONS LICENSE SERVICES

Appointments Are Now Available For License Applications and Renewals    

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/May 19, 2017

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector, announces the Tax Collector’s Office is now providing Concealed Weapon License application and renewal services on an appointment only basis at its Lakeland and Lake Wales Service Centers. Appointments are made at the Tax Collector’s Office official website, PolkTaxes.com.

Upon announcing the new service offerings, Tedder stated, “I am grateful for all that Commissioner Putnam and his staff have done to help our office bring these state services to the citizens of Polk County. Previously, our constituents had to travel outside Polk County to get these services.”  

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam partnered with Tedder and tax collectors throughout Florida to pass legislation allowing selected tax collector offices to accept concealed weapon license applications and renewals.

Tedder continued, “We are fortunate Commissioner Putnam and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recognized Polk’s unique geography and population when approving our office to provide application and renewal services at two locations.”

Citizens of Florida who are interested in obtaining or renewing a concealed weapons license in Polk County should visit PolkTaxes.com to get the information they need to complete a license application, conduct a renewal transaction, and make an appointment. 



TAX COLLECTOR'S ENFORCEMENT EFFORTS IN THE NEWS

The Tax Collector's Office and its Enforcement team are in the news regarding their efforts in the area of Tourist Development Taxes.
 
Click on the following link to reead The Ledger article:
 


FRIDAY IS PROPERTY TAX DEADLINE

Taxpayers Urged to Pay Now and Avoid High Traffic Volume

Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Tax Collector for Polk County, advises taxpayers who have not paid their 2016 property taxes, to consider mailing in their property tax payments. That’s because Friday, March 31 is not only the end of the month, but it is the deadline for the timely payment of 2016 real estate and tangible personal property taxes, which makes it one of the busiest days in the Tax Collector's Service Centers.

“The end of the month is always a busy day in our Service Centers,” Tedder states, “and now with tax collector offices serving driver license customers and continuing to serve those individuals needing to renew their vehicle registrations, we are reminding the public that there are multiple ways to conduct their transaction without conducting a transaction in person.”

“If you don’t need to be in our lobbies, I urge you to ‘skip the trip’,” Tedder suggests, “especially if you can mail in your property tax payment.  For those of you with March birthdays and have a simple vehicle registration renewal, I suggest that you avoid walking in as well, and instead consider doing your transaction online or by mail.  We want the public to know that it is far quicker, easier and at the same cost, especially if you are like most of us and wait till the last day.  You can still get your ‘sticker quicker’ by using the new ‘Express Pick-Up’ service.”

Express Pick-Up allows customers to go online to complete their transaction, select a Service Center where they can pick up their decal, and do it all the same day without waiting in line.  Vehicle transactions conducted online may be made by credit card or E-check.  E-checks are the same as personal checks drawn on taxpayers’ bank accounts, requiring a routing and checking account number but carrying no convenience fee.

To summarize, taxpayers have the following options of making property tax payments: online, by mail, or in person.

Mail-in payments should be addressed to Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, P.O. Box 1189, Bartow, Florida, 33831-1189.  Mail-in payments may be made by way of a check or money order made payable to Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector. Checks must be in U.S. funds and drawn on U.S. banks. (Do not send cash through the mail.) Mail-in credit card payments are also accepted when accompanied by a credit card payment slip provided by the Tax Collector's Office. Taxpayers are reminded that when mailing in payments, the postmark on the envelope date-stamps the payment, and taxpayers can still mail their property tax payments as late as Friday, March 31 and avoid penalties and late charges.

Property tax payment transactions may also be conducted online at www.PolkTaxes.com using E-checks or credit cards. However, when paying online, by mail, or when visiting a Service Center and using a credit/debit card, a convenience fee of 2.5% is charged.

Finally, property tax payments may be paid in person or by placing payments in drop boxes located inside the Service Centers, and at the Winter Haven Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W., all of which are open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday (excluding weekends and observed holidays).

For additional information, or service center locations, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com or telephone the Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4700.



STUDENTS HONORED AT LEGOLAND

Build Your Imagination Awards

On Friday, March 17, 6 students were recognized for their outstanding designs, at the fourth annual LEGOLAND®Florida Resort Build Your Imagination Awards, hosted by Adrian Jones, Divisional Director for Legoland®and Joe Tedder, the Tax Collector for Polk County and honorary Chairman for Kids Tag Art.

The event was held at the Legoland Hotel in Winter Haven, Florida, where students, teachers and their families were invited for the awards announcement and reception which followed.

The Build Your Imagination Award is a juried competition, as part of the Polk County Kids Tag Art program. LEGOLAND® Florida Resort selects multiple award winners across participating schools in Polk County whose creative designs best demonstrate their imagination using the Legoland theme. The honorees will have their tags placed on the front bumpers of the LEGOLAND® Florida vehicles, and their Kids Tag Art displayed at the Ford Driving School classroom for 12 months.

The following finalists were recognized for their artistic achievement::

 

Build Your Imagination Awards for 2017

  1st Place – Kaleigh Salmon

 Lakeland Christian School, Emily Johnson, Instructor

2nd Place – Joshua Haines  

   Davenport School of the Arts, Devon Deans, Instructor

3rd Place – Vanessa Derosa  

  Dixieland Elementary, Cheryl Dale, Instructor

4th Place – Dylan Sox   

  Berkley Charter, Brian Nelsen, Instructor

5th Place – Jonathan Dorsey   

  Chain of Lakes Elementary , Gerilyn Stark-Jerry, Jamaal Gamble, Instructors

6th Place – Yasiel Sihombing   

   Cleveland Court Elementary, Marilyn Dailey, Instructor

 



TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE RECOMMENDS AVOIDING THE WAIT BY USING EXPRESS PICKUP!

Renewing Your Vehicle Registration - Use Express Pickup - Avoid The Wait And Get Your Sticker Quicker!

The Tax Collector’s Office is experiencing longer than normal customer wait times during the months of February and March.

Compounding the problem is cold and flu season, which has had an impact on staff. Moreover, Federal income tax refunds are hitting the mail boxes, which allows many more people to pay outstanding bills, including driver license sanctions and tax liens.

Given this situation, the Tax Collector’s Office recommends that its customers use mail and online services, including Express PickUp, whenever possible.

There are no extra fees when using mail or many online services, including vehicle registration renewals and Express PickUp.

Go to www.PolkTaxes.com for online payment services, including Express PickUp, and to see our current office wait times.

Remember, if you need it today, Express PickUp is the way to go to get your sticker quicker!



TAX COLLECTOR OFFICES CLOSE FOR PRESIDENTS DAY

Tax Collector Staff Will Attend All Day Training

On Monday, February 20, 2017, Tax Collector Service Centers throughout Polk County will be closed for business.  The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven will be open however, though only for motor vehicle transactions.  Tax Collector Offices will reopen on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 during normal business hours.

Traditionally, the Tax Collector’s Office has used this federal holiday for in-service training.  “Since many financial institutions and federal offices are closed on this day, most taxpayers believe that county offices are closed also,” states Joe Tedder. “It makes sense to use this low-traffic day for training rather than incurring additional overhead with an after-hours training.  In this way, we can improve customer service skills in order to meet the customer’s expectation for accurate and knowledgeable service while also saving taxpayer money.”



CUSTOMER SURVEY GIFT CARD WINNER

...And The Winner Is!

Congratulations to Shirley Brettell for submitting a completed questionnaire in the Tax Collector's 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey this past month! By completing the survey, Shirley was able to fill out a sweepstakes entry form and, out of 3,777 entries, her name was randomly drawn to receive a $100 Publix Gift Card.

Thanks for participating, Shirley. Here is a picture of Shirley with her dog Pixie, receiving her gift card!



2 % PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 31st

Taxpayers Can Save Time and Money With Online Property Taxes Payments Using eCheck

The Tax Collector's Office reminds property owners that Tuesday, January 31 is the last day to take advantage of the 2% discount awarded to taxpayers who chose to pay their property tax payment early.

To receive this discount, payments must be postmarked or conducted online on or before January 31. Taxpayers may also pay in person at one of the Tax Collector's Service Center locations.

Taxpayers may pay online by using their checking account and bank routing numbers, also referred to as an “eCheck,” with no convenience fee.   There is a 2.5% convenience fee for credit card transactions.

To qualify for the 2% property tax discount, taxpayers have the following options:

  • Mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before  Tuesday, January 31;
  • Make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before Tuesday, January 31; or,
  • visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 31, and pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



AIRBNB AND POLK’S TAX COLLECTOR REACH AGREEMENT

Airbnb Will Begin Tourist Development Tax Collections In February

Airbnb, the Sunshine State’s leading community driven hospitality company, and the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County, Florida announced today a historic agreement that will allow the home sharing platform to voluntarily collect and remit Tourist Development Taxes (TDT) on behalf of its hosts in Polk, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue for the county.

In 2016, Polk County emerged as one of the top statewide destinations for Airbnb guests, with strong growth among guest arrivals for areas such as Lakeland, Northeast Polk, and Winter Haven. Based on 2016, Airbnb projects that it would collect and remit well over $200,000 in new annual tax revenue to Polk County, based on 2016 reservations.

In 2016, Airbnb hosts in Polk County earned $4.8 million through hosting on Airbnb. Airbnb hosts in Central Florida and throughout the state.

Polk is now the 35th Florida county in which Airbnb is collecting and remitting bed taxes on behalf of its hosts, joining neighboring Hillsborough and Pasco as well as other large counties like Pinellas, Orange, Brevard and Lee.

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, stated, “We began negotiations with Airbnb early in 2016 and stayed focused on making sure the agreement was not confidential and available for public inspection, that it was understood our office would continue to pursue back taxes due from prior rental activities, and that there were adequate mechanisms in place for our office to conduct audits and pursue enforcement actions.”
 
Tedder continued, “Relationships with rental platforms like Airbnb are critical for Polk County because our vacation housing represents a major portion of our rental properties. We are excited for the opportunity to bring in the important tax revenues due which are used to promote tourism and in turn generate greater economic activity in Polk. For example, we anticipate that greater revenues will now be remitted from major events such as Major League Baseball Spring Training and Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In.”

Polk County’s popular attractions such as LEGOLAND Florida, proximity to Central Florida’s other popular theme parks, and access to Florida’s beaches have made Polk an increasingly popular travel destination for the Airbnb community. Lakeland, the largest city within the county, is also home to Publix’s international headquarters.
Airbnb Florida Policy Director Tom Martinelli said: “Tens of thousands of travelers are authentically experiencing Polk County’s neighborhoods and attractions through Airbnb. While Polk County’s hosts and merchants are already benefitting from this economic impact, our collaboration with Tax Collector Tedder will unlock a new revenue stream for the County to continue marketing itself as a preferred family-friendly tourist destination.”

In the past month alone, Airbnb has announced it will begin voluntarily collecting and remitting bed taxes in Hillsborough, Okaloosa and Hardee, in addition to Polk. Airbnb has a dedicated Florida policy team, based out of the Airbnb Florida headquarters in Miami, to partner with county policymakers and help accommodate their individual needs.

Airbnb collaborated with the Florida Department of Revenue in December 2015 on an agreement that allows Airbnb to collect and remit the state sales tax on behalf of its hosts. Between the sales taxes and tourist development taxes, Airbnb collected and remitted well in excess of $20 million in 2016 to state and local governments on behalf of its hosts.

Lakeland Area Airbnb Growth

  • 60+ active Airbnb hosts
  • About 1,000 guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 379% year-over-year growth
  • Typical Lakeland host earns $2,100 in annual supplemental income through Airbnb
  • Typical Lakeland host rents his or her listing 2.5 nights per month

Northeast Polk Airbnb Growth

  • 80+ active Airbnb hosts
  • About 1,000 guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 64% year-over-year growth
  • Typical Haines City host earns $2,500 in annual supplemental income through Airbnb
  • Typical Haines City host rents his or her listing 1.5 nights per month

Winter Haven Area Airbnb Growth

  • 20+ active Airbnb hosts
  • About 1,000 guest arrivals in 2016, reflecting 376% year-over-year growth
  • Typical Winter Haven host earns $4,800 in annual supplemental income through Airbnb
  • Typical Winter Haven host rents his or her listing 6.5 nights per month

 



TAX COLLECTOR OFFICES CLOSED MONDAY FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

Regular Business Hours To Resume On Tuesday, January 17

On Monday, January 16, 2017, Tax Collector offices throughout Polk County, as well as the the American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven, will be closed in observance of  Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

To learn more about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and Day of Service, visit the following website: www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED MONDAY, JANUARY 2 FOR NEW YEAR'S HOLIDAY

Have a Happy New Year!

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed Monday, January 2, 2017, in observance of the New Year's Holiday, and will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, January 3, 2017.



DECEMBER IS BUSY SEASON AT TAX COLLECTOR SERVICE CENTERS

Taxpayers are Advised to Avoid the Crowds by Paying Early and Using Online or Mail-In Options
 
Joe Tedder estimates over 22,000 customers will come through their offices the last two weeks of the month, with December being the busiest month of the year for the Tax Collector’s Office. That’s because December 31 is the deadline for mobile home and heavy truck registration renewals, vehicle registrations for owners with December birthdays, as well as for those taking advantage of a 3% property tax discount if paid by the end of December.  In addition, office closings due to the holidays will reduce the hours of operation just when driver license customers, many of whom are students out for winter vacation, are seeking permits.
 
The Tax Collector’s Office reminds taxpayers that they will be closed for the holidays on Friday, December 23, Monday, December 26, and Monday, January 2, 2017. Owners whose vehicle registrations and decals expire at the end of December are encouraged to conduct their renewal transactions by Friday, December 30, and reminded that expired motor vehicle registrations and license plates are subject to law enforcement citations.  
 
To renew vehicle registrations before the end of the month, or to qualify for the 3% property tax discount, motor vehicle and property owners must mail in their payment with a postmark stamped on or before Saturday, December 31, or, make an online payment at www.ClickOrStick.com on or before December 31. (They may also visit one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 3 if paying in person.)
 
This year, taxpayers may also opt to use the same day service, Express Pick-Up, to get their renewal decals the same day, by going online and completing their transaction before arriving at a service center.
 
To summarize, tax payments may be made in the following ways:
 
·         Pay online:  Payments must be made on or before midnight Saturday, December 31, at www.ClickOrStick.com.
·         Pay by mail: Payments must be postmarked on or before Saturday, December 31.
·         Pay in person: At all service center locations, payments must be received before 5:00 PM, Tuesday, January 3, 2017.
·         Same day service via Express Pick-Up: Vehicle registration renewals only, at www.PolkTaxes.com
·         Other locations: The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven accepts property tax payments in their drop-box which is accessible during regular business hours.
 
For more information, go to www.ClickOrStick.com or call the Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4700.


MOBILE UNIT OFFERS DRIVER LICENSING AND REGISTRATION TRANSACTIONS IN POLK

DHSMV “FlowMobile” will be in Winter Haven, Frostproof and Fort Meade between now and the end of the year.


The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Department’s mobile unit, called the “FLOW-Mobile”, will be in Polk County four days this month, according to the folks at the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County.  “We have requested this service to assist vehicle owners and drivers with registration and driver license renewals during this busy season,” says Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County.


Residents of Fort Meade, Frostproof and Winter Haven should be looking for the large blue and green FLOW-Mobile at the following locations and dates:

 

Day of Week

Date

City

Location

Address

Times

Monday

12/19/2016

Winter Haven

Gill Jones Facility

3425 Lake Alfred Rd, Winter Haven, FL 33881

8:30 am – 2:30 pm

Tuesday

12/20/2016

Frostproof

City Hall

111 W 1st St, Frostproof, FL 33843

8:00 am – 2:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday

12/28/2016

Fort Meade

City Hall

8 W Broadway St, Fort Meade, FL 33841

8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Thursday

12/29/2016

Winter Haven

Gill Jones Facility

3425 Lake Alfred Rd, Winter Haven, FL 33881

8:30 am – 2:30 pm

 

The only services available by the FLOW-Mobile will be vehicle registrations, driver license renewals and replacements, and new driver licenses (only if the written and driving tests have already been completed and all the necessary documentation is on hand.  Go to www.PolkTaxes.com/driverlicenses/to get these conducted prior to visiting the mobile unit.)

Disabled parking placards and applications for parking placards may also be obtained at the mobile unit.

For more information, Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4700.



4 % PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS WEDNESDAY

Taxpayers Can Save Time and Money With Online Property Taxes Payments Using eCheck

The Tax Collector's Office reminds property owners that Wednesday, November 30 is the last day to take advantage of the 4% discount awarded to taxpayers who chose to make their property tax payment in November. To receive this discount, payments must be postmarked, conducted online, or received on or before Wednesday, November 30.

Taxpayers may be interested to know that, in addition to credit or debit cards, an “echeck” option may be used for online transactions,  which carries no convenience fee. This option allows payment using a check written on a checking account and avoids the 2.5% convenience fee ($2 minimum) for all property tax payments using credit or debit cards.

To qualify for the 4% property tax discount, taxpayers have the following options:

Mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before  Wednesday, November 30;
Make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before midnight on Wednesday, November 30; or,
visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Wednesday, November 30, to pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office is closed Thursday, November 24, and Friday November 25, for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Monday, November 28.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!



KIDS TAG ART ANNOUNCES 2016 AWARDS OF DISTINCTION AND SPECIAL AWARD FINALISTS

7000 Student Tag Art Designs Now Available for Sale to Public

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/November 10, 2016

For thousands of fifth graders across Polk County, today is the day they have been awaiting!  Today, Polk County Kids Tag Art  announces the top two tag art designs from each participating school, earning the Award of Distinction designation, as well as naming finalists for three other special awards: the Home Sweet Home Award, hosted by Southern Homes of Polk County; the Heart Smart Art Award, hosted by the Florida Heart Research Foundation sponsor, and the Build Your Imagination Award, hosted by Legoland*Florida Resort.

And this year, Joe Tedder's folks at The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County have made ordering student tags even easier.  Today is launch day for their brand new web page and sales portal where all 7,000 student designs will soon be available for sale, including these award-winning designs.

Earlier this school year, 76 schools' fifth grade classes participated in this contest, instructed by their art classroom teachers to create their unique designs over an 8-week period.   In late October, 152 students' tag art designs, representing the top two tags from each school were selected to become the 2016 Kids Tag Art Exhibition, a mobile collage of license tag art which will travel around the county over the coming months. Judging the art designs this year was Ellen Chastain, Education Manager with Polk Museum of Art and Head Judge, Stephen Koury, world-renown and local wildlife artist, Meri Mass, Executive Director for Polk Arts Alliance, and Nancy Puri, Visual Arts Coordinator with Polk County Schools.   Special awards finalists are also named today, with final winning designs to be chosen by those organizations and recognition to be announced later in the year.

These fifth grade art students will also have the unique experience of what it feels like to be a celebrated artist when their Kids Tag Art winning designs go up for sale to the public on its new web page, www.PolkTaxes.com/KTAOnline.aspx which launches today, Thursday, November 10, 2016 at noon. The price of a tag is $15, with key fobs on sale for just $5, and a combination pack for $17.50.  All net proceeds go back to each school for classroom art supplies. Parents and friends can order from the winning designs for holiday gift-giving.

Kids Tag Art inspires young artists to create their own unique design, learning the practical application of license plate art to support worthy causes, fashioned after Florida's 100+ specialty license plates. However, these tags are strictly art and not for use as legal identification on the rear bumper of cars.

This year, the major sponsor for this project is again Southern Homes of Polk County.  Greg Masters, principal at Southern Homes explains their involvement, saying " This program encourages creative thinking to design a unique piece of art.  These critical thinking skills are needed in growing an innovative young workforce.  Our involvement in the Kids Tag Art program here in Polk County has been very rewarding."

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County adds, "We have a great team of business partners and sponsors who have generously supported arts education in our schools through this creative program that brings value to all involved.”

New Polk County Kids Tag Art sponsors include Publix Super Market Charities and Point & Pay.  Returning sponsors are Legoland*Florida Resort, Mid Florida Credit Union, Grasslands & Oakbridge, Florida Heart Research Foundation, Polk Education Foundation, Unlimited DPI, Hall Communications Big Four -WONN (AM) -WPCV (FM) -WWRZ (FM) -WLKF (AM),The Lakeland Ledger, and charter sponsor Dprint.  The Polk County Tax Collector’s office promotes Kids Tag Art each year, along with its partners, Polk Museum of Art , Polk Arts Alliance, and Polk County Schools.

The History of Kids Tag Art…

Back in 2006, the Polk County Tax Collector's Office, with help from local businesses and community groups, put together a fundraising project with Polk County Schools that would teach children art design while raising much-needed monies for classroom art supplies.

During the month of September, teachers guide students in classroom design creation. Teachers may set whatever guidelines for their students they believe will generate creative, award-winning artwork. Parents can purchase their child's design through school sales conducted in November of each year, in time for the holidays. Their child's design is individually scanned and made into a unique metal alloy tag which can be purchased as a keepsake or given as gifts.

In late October, thousands of designs are submitted from all across the county for judging. Selections of the top two entries from each school are made. Those top entries become available to the public for sale on the Polk County Tax Collector's website on the Kids Tag Art page.

According to Tedder, the project originated at the Tax Collector's office, whose employees have over the years, volunteered in one or two elementary schools during business 'teach-in' days. The kids eagerly grasped the art project and staff worked to build a tag art program around this fun learning concept. Since then, tax collector employees have volunteered in the schools, at open houses, art festivals and recognition events,  to raise awareness of the importance of arts education and  to help stimulate student and school involvement.

Today, over 12 other counties host a similar Kids Tag Art project in their districts, with tax collectors contributing over $600,000 to date to classroom art programs statewide.

Where to View Tag Art…

For the first time, this year's balance of tag art designs will be on display for sale to the public.  Thanks to new sponsor Point & Pay, the payment processor for the tax collector's office, a special portal has been built to showcase all participating schools' artwork.  On this website, www.PolkTaxes.com/KTAOnline.aspx,which goes live on Thursday, November 10, 2016 at 12:00 noon, the public can scroll through all 76 participating schools to find their child's artwork and order either a metal tag, key fob, or both.  The prior year's Awards of Distinction tag designs are also available for sale.

In addition, The Tag Art Exhibit will begin traveling around the county beginning later this year.  A calendar of exhibit dates and locations is online as well.  Anyone who wishes to host the exhibit is invited to inquire. Tags will be offered for sale with the exhibit and throughout the school year.

For more information, contact the Polk County Tax Collector's office at (863)534-4722.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 FOR VETERANS DAY

Veterans, We Thank You For Your Service!

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County is closed Friday, November 11 for Veterans Day and will resume regular business hours on Monday, November 14.

The Tax Collector’s Office is proud to observe Veteran’s Day.



STATE COMPUTER ISSUES FRUSTRATE TAX COLLECTORS AND CITIZENS

Frequent System Crashes And Slow Downs Affect Customer Services

The Ledger published an article on November 7, 2016 regarding state computer problems affecting driver license issuance and motor vehicle transactions at Tax Collector Offices throughout Florida. To access the article click on the following link:

http://www.theledger.com/news/20161107/dmv-database-crash-causing-delays-in-polk-across-state



PROPERTY TAXPAYERS SHOULD BE RECEIVING NOTICES

2016 Property Tax Bills Sent Out

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ November 1, 2016

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports the 2016 Property Tax Notices to all of Polk County's property owners have been mailed.

"Property owners should be receiving their bills in the mail over the next few days," says Tedder.  

Each year, Tedder and his staff announce the mailing of tax bills to property owners, knowing  that up to 1% of the bills each year will come back as “not deliverable” due to incorrect addresses.

Tedder reminds taxpayers their taxes are due, whether they receive a tax bill or not, citing Florida law which clearly places the burden of responsibility for payment of taxes on the property owner.

The only exception to this are those property owners who have opted to pay by an installment plan. For them, a November bill will not be sent; instead, they will be notified of third quarter installment payments due December 1.

Included in the mailing, the tax office also provides an informational insert to help answer taxpayer questions. The insert includes a listing of taxing and levying authorities whose taxes and/or assessments may appear on the tax bill, and their phone numbers.

Property owners who do not receive their property tax notice(s) by Monday, November 14, 2016 should contact the Tax Collector's Office.
Local callers may call (863) 534-4700; callers outside the local access area may call toll-free (855) 765-5829 [855-POLK-TAX].
Property owners can also go to www.PolkTaxes.com or the Tax Collector's payment portal, www.ClickOrStick.com, where they can access and then print out a copy of their tax bill(s).

If paying:

BY MAIL - Please use the return envelope and make sure to mail the lower part of your notice form(s) to the Tax Collector's Office for validating when paying taxes.

ON-LINE - Go to www.PolkTaxes.com or www.ClickOrStick.com and follow the online payment directions.

IN PERSON -  Payments are accepted at the Tax Collector's Bartow Main Office, located at 430 E. Main Street; Lake Wales Service Center at 658 Highway 60 W.; and the North Ridge Service Center, located at 2000 Deer Creek Commerce Lane in Davenport.  In Lakeland, payments may be made at the Lakeland Service Center on 916 N. Massachusetts Avenue.

For customer convenience, tax payments may also be placed in a DROP BOX provided inside the American Legion Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W. in Winter Haven.

For maps to these locations or other information related to your property taxes, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com or the Tax Collector's payment portal, www.ClickOrStick.com.

Beginning April 1, 2017, all unpaid property taxes submitted by mail or online for the 2016 tax year become delinquent. (Note: Walk-in payments are accepted until 5:00 P.M. on April 3, 2017 before becoming delinquent.)



TAX COLLECTOR LAUNCHES TEEN DRIVING CAMPAIGN

Youth Website Provides License Requirements for New Drivers

Calling all freshmen!

If you are fifteen or will be turning fifteen in the coming months, or if you are parents to emerging teenagers, you will want to check out the new website recently hosted by the Tax Collector for Polk County.  This website, along with important links to training and testing services, provides beginning drivers with a step-by-step process to obtain a learners and full Florida driving license.

“We know that the requirements can be confusing for parents and teens,” stated Joe Tedder, Tax Collector, “and we have received a lot of phone calls from students and their parents.  We hope that this information will be helpful throughout the multi-year process.”

The new website, www.OMWPolk.com can easily be remembered for its text messaging abbreviation: On My Way.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED DUE TO HURRICANE MATTHEW

Offices Closed Beginning At 2:00 PM, Thursday, October 6th And Through Friday, October 7th

The Tax Collector's Office is closed beginning at 2:00 pm, Thursday, October 6th and will remain closed Friday, October 7th due to Hurricane Matthew.

The Tax Collector's Office anticipates resuming normal business hours on Monday, October 10th at 8:30 am.

Customers who can conduct their business with the Tax Collector’s Office by mail or online at www.PolkTaxes.com are encouraged to do so to avoid long lines and extended wait times for walk-in services when regular business hours resume.

The Tax Collector’s Office will inform the public regarding any further updates regarding its operational status at www.PolkTaxes.com.



STORM IMPACTING TAX COLLECTOR OPERATIONS

Hurricane Matthew Affecting Customer Service

The Tax Collector’s Office is advising the public that customer walk-in services and telephone operations are being impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

The Tax Collector’s Office will be open Thursday, October 6th, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

Customers with driver license road test appointments may experience cancellations due to inclement weather conditions.

With the storm looming, the Tax Collector’s Office is also experiencing additional walk-in customer traffic from other counties, which will impact walk-in wait times.

Moreover, with Polk County school closings due to the storm, the Tax Collector’s Office is experiencing staff shortages and advises the public to expect longer customer walk-in and telephone wait-times.

Customers who can conduct their business with the Tax Collector’s Office by mail or online at www.PolkTaxes.com are encouraged to do so to avoid long lines and extended wait times for walk-in services.

As the storm approaches, the Tax Collector’s Office will continue keep the public informed regarding its operational status.

###



COUNTY BUSINESS TAX DEADLINE NEARS

All Polk Businesses Required To Display Valid Tax Receipt

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ September 21, 2016

If you have not renewed your county business tax receipt with the Polk County Tax Collector's Office this year,you only have until the end of Septemberto renew timely.

Joe G. Tedder reminds local business owners thateveryonedoing business in Polk County must renew their 2016-2017 county local business tax receipt by Friday, September 30.  Payments must be either postmarked or transacted online on or before this date.  Taxpayers who wish to make payment in person may do so up until 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 30, 2016 without incurring additional penalties.  Any business not renewing by this date will fall delinquent and face substantial penalties. Businesses in Polk County must also display and make visible their current business tax receipt.

Businesses that have not yet renewed or those seeking to obtain an original application for a county local business tax receipt should go to the Tax Collector's website, www.polktaxes.com, where they can renew online or download an application. Renewal transactions and applications are also available at any one of the Tax Collector's Service Centers, locations for which may also be found on the website.

To report businesses operating in Polk County without a valid county local business tax receipt, please telephone the Tax Collector's Toll Free Hotline at 1-866-687-8876.
 



TAX COLLECTOR EARNS EXCELLENCE AWARD

Third Year for Polk County Tax Collector to Win Financial Excellence Designation!

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/September 7, 2016

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, has once again earned the Excellence in Financial Operations Award, a designation bestowed by the statewide organization, Florida Tax Collector’s, Inc.

This award, presented upon review of the records related to the audit of the Tax Collector Financial Statement for Fiscal Year ended September 30, 2015, recognizes and honors tax collectors for excellence in the areas of Innovation & Automation, Annual Audit Report, Customer Focus, and Budgeting.

The award was presented recently at the Florida Tax Collectors Fall Education Forum, held annually for continuing education for tax collectors and their staff.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED ON LABOR DAY

Tax Collector's Office Observes Monday, September 5 Holiday

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/September 2, 2015

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Monday, September 5, 2016 in observance of Labor Day. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, September 6.

The Tax Collector's Office wishes everyone a happy, safe Labor Day!



FLOW MOBILE COMING TO WINTER HAVEN

Mobile DMV Office Coming to Winter Haven This Friday

Offering Driver License Renewals and Vehicle Registrations

This Friday, August 26, 2016, residents in the Winter Haven area won’t have to drive to a Tax Collector office to renew their driver license.  That’s because Joe Tedder’s staff has engaged the mobile office unit from the State of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle department, who will be setting up shop in the parking lot of the Government Center, at the Gill Jones Campus, located at 3425 Lake Alfred Road in Winter Haven.

The Florida Licensing On Wheels, also called the “FLOW” mobile, will be on site and open for business from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on the 26th .

What You Can Do At A FLOW Mobile:

  • Vehicle Registrations
  • Driver License Renewals
  • Driver License Replacements
  • New Driver License (only if the written and driving tests have already been completed and all the necessary documents are on hand)
  • Disabled Parking Placards and Applications for Parking Placards

What You Can Not Do At A FLOW Mobile:

  • Driving Test
  • Written Test
  • Title Transfers

Residents needing testing services may go online to www.PolkTaxes.com and schedule an appointment and to learn what documentation is needed.



TAX COLLECTOR TAKES MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE

The Tax Collector has asked the public to conduct their payment transactions online or by mail whenever possible due to DHSMV's transition to the Orion system and the periodic outages and slowdowns expected over the next two years.
 
Check out the Letter to the Editor, published in The Ledger on August 17, 2016 - 
________________________________________________

Letter: Online service, mail help to avoid delays

Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 12:01 a.m.


The Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles is modernizing their computer systems for vehicle titles and registrations, as well as for driver license services over the next two years.
 

Tax collectors throughout Florida are required to use the state systems and have been advised of the potential for periodic service outages and system slow-downs for the foreseeable future during this transition.
 

In Polk County alone, we have had 34 service interruptions over the past nine months causing delays in all four locations. Walk-in customers may be adversely affected when visiting one of our service centers.
 

To avoid long wait times due to this transition, our customers are advised to conduct their business with the Tax Collector's office by way of online or mail-in payments whenever possible.
 

Online and mail-in services include: vehicle registration renewals, county local business tax renewals, property taxes, driver license renewals and hunting and fishing licenses.
 

No additional fees are charged at PolkTaxes.com or ClickorStick.com for online auto, boat, trailer, motorcycle and mobile home vehicle registration renewals, as well as county local business tax renewals. Also, no convenience fees are charged when paying property taxes online with an e-check.
Moreover, no additional fees are charged for express-pickup, a service that allows customers to renew their vehicle registration online and pick-it up the same day at a convenient service center location. This service is ideal for a customer that waited until the last minute to do their transaction.
I hope that our customers will take advantage of the opportunity to process their transactions online or by mail. It's a convenient way to save time and will help save taxpayer dollars.

 

Meanwhile, I want to thank everyone who must walk in their transactions for their patience and understanding as we work with the state of Florida to modernize these systems and create a better customer service experience for everyone.
 

Joe G. Tedder
Polk County Tax Collector
Bartow



DELINQUENT REAL ESTATE PROPERTY TAX NOTICES

Back Taxes Are Due!

Delinquent Real Estate Tax Notices for any tax years that are unpaid have been scheduled to be mailed Tuesday, August 9, 2016. Delinquent real estate property taxpayers are advised the notices will include August, September, and October amounts to pay.

Failure to receive a notice does not relieve the requirement to pay the taxes due. Real estate property taxpayers may visit www.PolkTaxes.com to check their payment status.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED MONDAY, JULY 4

Happy Independence Day!

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County announces that all its offices and call center will be closed for business on Monday, July 4, 2016 in observance of Independence Day. Normal operations will resume on Tuesday, July 5th.



TAX COLLECTOR CONCLUDES TAX CERTIFICATE SALE

99.6% Real Estate Property Tax Collection Rate Continued

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ June 28, 2016

On June 1, 2016, the Tax Collector's Office held their annual real property tax certificate sale. This sale is held online every year to address the revenue shortfall created from delinquent taxes by selling tax certificates, which are tax liens, to willing investors. Investors in tax certificates assume some risk, with no guarantee that they will eventually receive the principal and interest from delinquent taxpayers.

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports that from a total real estate tax roll of $478,316,454 on November 1, 2015, which is the beginning of the tax year, $17,864,923 went unpaid and was offered up for tax certificates on June 1, 2016.  Of this, 12,793 tax certificates were sold, for a total of $15,990,501 delinquent taxes collected.  This represents 89.5 percent was collected of the unpaid balance of taxes owed, at an average interest rate to investors of 2.35%, as well as a reasonable rate to those property owners with outstanding taxes still owing.

For the 2015 tax year, the total real estate tax roll collected, including the tax certificate sale is $476,192,896 representing the same 99.6 % collection rate as 2014.  At the conclusion of the online tax certificate sale, $1,874,422 in delinquent tax certificates remains unsold.

On July 5, 2016, these county-held tax certificates will be open for review at www.polkfl.realtaxlien.comand will be available to purchase beginning on July 6, 2016.

For more information, please go to www.polktaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 30. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service.



DATA CENTER MOVE TO AFFECT ONLINE DRIVER LICENSE AND MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICES

GoRenew.com and other services will be unavailable during weekend move

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ (DHSMV) technology hardware is scheduled to be relocated, which will make several online services unavailable to customers and stakeholders throughout the weekend of May 6-8, 2016. Impacted services will go offline at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time Friday, May 6 and are scheduled to be restored by 8:00 a.m. Monday, May 9. Customers will also not be able to access the department’s internet services during the weekend.

The department anticipates that offices will be open to walk-in customers Monday, May 9, but it will not be scheduling appointments in its driver license offices May 9-10. Customers who know their driver license, identification card or vehicle registration will expire on or before May 10, should visit an office or go online to renew on or before 5 p.m. Friday, May 6 to ensure their license, ID card and/or registration does not expire. Customers can visit www.GatherGoGet.com to prepare for their next visit to a driver license office or renew online at GoRenew.com.

While many of the department’s convenience services for customers will be unavailable during the move, all law enforcement related systems will remain operational throughout the weekend.

The planned outage is a result of the department’s move from the State Data Center (SDC) Northwood Centre location in Tallahassee to the SDC located in Southwood; also in Tallahassee. The move is complex and will require a complete shutdown of DHSMV enterprise systems throughout the weekend. The department and the Agency for State Technology have been planning the move in detail, and the planning team has implemented steps to minimize risk and potential impact to department customers.

The department will be communicating as frequently as possible with its customers and stakeholders during the move. For up to date information regarding the move, customers should follow the department on Twitter @FLHSMV, find us on Facebook or feel free to call 1-855-305-3902.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook. For safe driving tips and techniques, download the official Florida Driver License Handbook.



TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CAUSES SERVICE OUTAGE

Service Has Been Restored!

04/08/2016 - BARTOW

The Tax Collector's Office and its Service Centers were adversely affected Thursday, April 7th due a reported traffic accident that cut a fiber optic communications line.

The break in the fiber optic communications line resulted in a service outage for customers seeking walk-in, internet, and telephone services.

The Tax Collector's Office apologizes for the inconvenience this situation caused to its customers.

Thursday evening communications were restored and the Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business operations beginning Friday.

The Tax Collector's Office thanks all those who were affected by this service interuption for their patience and understanding.



TAX COLLECTOR CONTINUES TO WARN ABOUT ETAGSDIRECT

Scam Results In Excessive Costs and Complaints

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County is continuing in his effort to warn motorists not to use “etagsdirect.com,” a company that advertises on internet search engines for online tag renewals.

Back in February of 2015, the Tax Collector’s Office first received complaints about etagsdirect.com overcharging for online tag renewals and failing to provide refunds to motorists who believed they had been duped into using their services. Since then, complaints have been coming into the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County about etagsdirect.com. Moreover, complaints about etagsdirect.com also continue to crop up in other counties all around the State of Florida.

Tedder is advising people to avoid etagsdirect.com and instead go to official tax collector websites, such as www.PolkTaxes.com, to avoid excessive fees and possible lost renewals.



THURSDAY IS 2015 PROPERTY TAX DEADLINE

Taxpayers Urged to “ClickorStick” Payments by Month End

03/30/16 - BARTOW

Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Tax Collector for Polk County, advises taxpayers who have not paid their 2015 property taxes, to consider mailing in their property tax payments. That’s because Thursday, March 31st is not only the end of the month, but it is the deadline for the timely payment of 2015 real estate and tangible personal property taxes, which makes it one of the busiest days in the Tax Collector's Service Centers.

“The end of the month is always a busy day in our offices,” Tedder states, “and now with our offices serving driver license customers and continuing to serve those individuals needing to renew their registrations, we are reminding the public that there are multiple ways to conduct their transaction without having to visit our Service Centers.”

Recently the Tax Collector’s Office launched a new landing page to educate taxpayers and to make it easier to make payments using online and mail-in options. “ClickorStick.com, makes online payments a click away,” stated Joe Tedder. Tedder also said that when mailing in payments, the postmark on the envelope date-stamps the payment, and taxpayers can still mail their property tax payments by Thursday, March 31 and avoid penalties and late charges.

Taxpayers have the option of making payments online, by mail, or in person. Mail-in payments should be addressed to:

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County
P.O. Box 1189
Bartow, Florida 33831-1189

Mail-in payments may be made by way of a check or money order made payable to Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector. Checks must be in U.S. funds and drawn on U.S. banks. Do not send cash through the mail. Mail-in credit card payments are also accepted when accompanied by a credit card payment slip provided by the Tax Collector's Office.

Property tax payment transactions may also be conducted online at www.PolkTaxes.com (or ClickorStick.com), using E-checks or credit cards. E-checks are the same as personal checks drawn on taxpayers’ bank accounts, requiring a routing and checking account number but carrying no convenience fee. However, when paying online, by mail, or when visiting a Service Center and using a credit/debit card a convenience fee of 2.5% is charged.

Finally, property tax payments may be paid in person or by placing payments in drop boxes located inside the Service Centers, and at the Winter Haven Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W., all of which are open from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday (excluding weekends and observed holidays).

For additional information, or service center locations, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com or telephone the Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4700.



GET KIDS HOOKED ON FISHING!

Free fishing derby for youth at Tenoroc Fish Management Area

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is sponsoring a free youth freshwater fishing derby at Tenoroc Fish Management Area and Youth Conservation Center in Lakeland on April 2, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. No fishing license is required on this particular weekend but preregistration is required for the derby.

The FWC wants to hook aspiring anglers on the thrill of fishing. The special event will be conducted on Derby Lake, a 17-acre former phosphate pit stocked with a variety of freshwater sport fish and catfish. The lake has three fishing piers and a 200-foot boardwalk for fishing that is accessible to mobility-impaired anglers.

There is a casting contest for kids and a number of other outdoor activities with prizes donated by local merchants. A free lunch will be provided.

Bait will also be provided free to kids 15 years of age and under. A limited number of loaner rods and reels are available to this age group. Older anglers must supply their own bait and tackle.

To preregister call the FWC at 863-648-3200 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Parents or guardians must accompany children.

If you would like more information on freshwater fishing, visit the FWC Freshwater Fishing site by going to MyFWC.com/Fishing or call the FWC’s Lakeland office at 863-648-3200.



KIDS TAG ART CELEBRATION

10 Years Of Kids Tag Art!

Polk County Kids Tag Art celebrated its 10th season last night as another year of fifth graders were recognized for their artistic accomplishments.

Thank you to all of our speakers, including special guest wildlife artist Stephen Koury, and valued partners, Polk County School Board, Polk Museum of Art, major sponsor Southern Homes, and all of our sponsors, partners, and KTA Board, who make this event possible.

Thanks also to all the teachers, students and families that attended and who, on a daily basis, actively support art education. And to the Southwest Jazz Band, under the instruction of Jeffrey C. Cayer, for their great performance preceding the event. And finally, to Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County who joined the ensemble as a guest drummer for two numbers, and who provides a great example of how creative expression goes hand in hand with success.

It was a great night!

To see The Ledger article covering this event, click on the following link...

http://www.theledger.com/article/20160308/NEWS/160309430/1134



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE SALUTES VETERANS

Tax Collector's Office Veterans Info Can Be Found Online at http://www.polktaxes.com/generalinfo/Veterans.aspx

The Tax Collector's Office is proud to Salute Veterans! See our ad below in The Ledger's Spring 2016 Salute: A Tribute to Polk's Veterans.

http://bluetoad.com/publication/?m=39902&l=1&p&pn#{%22issue_id%22:293252,%22page%22:%2270%22}

Click on the following link to see the cover and full issue of The Ledger's Spring 2016 Salute: A Tribute to Polk's Veterans:

http://bluetoad.com/publication/?m=39902&l=1&p&pn#{%22issue_id%22:293252,%22page%22:0}



CLICKORSTICK CAMPAIGN GETS RECOGNITION

Promotes Online And Mail-in Payments!

The ClickorStick campaign, which seeks to promote online and mail-in payment transactions at the Tax Collector’s Office, has received a “Silver Addy” Award! Pictured below is Michelle Ledford, President of Madden Brand Agency, presenting the award to Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector.

For more information on avoiding walk-in wait times, visit ClickorStick.com!

The "Silver Addy" is awarded by the American Advertising Federation Polk County Florida



CUSTOMER SURVEY GIFT CARD WINNER

Winner Got $100 Publix Gift Card!

The Tax Collector’s Office conducted its annual customer satisfaction/expectation survey in Janaury. All customers were invited to participate. Participants in the survey had the opportunity to win a $100 Publix gift card by way of a random drawing.

Congratulations to Richard Fraleigh this year's gift card winner!

Also, the Tax Collector's Office thanks all those who took the time to take the survey. Your input counts!



1% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS ON 29th

Last month to get Property Tax Discount

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/February 23, 2016

Next Monday, February 29, is not only Leap Day.  It is also the last day to receive a discount for property tax payments, the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County announced today.  To qualify for a 1% property tax discount, taxpayers are advised to mail in or go online to make their property tax payment now, and avoid end-of-month high traffic days in the Tax Collector service centers.

Taxpayers have the following payment options.

Taxpayers may mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before Monday, February 29; or,
make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before midnight on Monday, February 29; or,
visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Monday, February 29, to pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



SENIOR DRIVING ISSUE COVERED BY THE LEDGER

Senior driver license issue featured in tuesday, February 16 edition of The Ledger.

http://www.theledger.com/article/20160215/NEWS/160219604?tc=cr

 



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS DAY

Tax Collector Staff Will Be In All Day Training On Monday

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/February 8, 2016

On Monday, February 15, 2016, Tax Collector Service Centers throughout Polk County will be closed for business.  However, the American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven will be open on this day, but only for motor vehicle transactions.  Tax Collector offices will reopen on Tuesday, February 16, 2016 during normal business hours.

Traditionally, the Tax Collector’s Office has used this federal holiday for in-service training.   “Since many financial institutions and federal offices are closed on this day, most taxpayers believe that county offices are closed also,” states Joe Tedder. “It makes sense to use this low-traffic day for training rather than incurring additional overhead with an after-hours training.  In this way, we can improve customer service skills in order to meet the customer’s expectation for accurate and knowledgeable service while also saving taxpayer money.”

For more information and Service Center locations, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.  To contact the American Legion Tag Agency, please call (863) 293-5551.



SHERIFF WARNS ABOUT ETAGSDIRECT.COM SCAM

Sheriff Joins Tax Collector In Warning About Online Registration Scam

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd took to his Facebook page and joined Tax Collector Joe Tedder in warning motorists about an etagsdirect.com and online registration scam. For more information, visit the Sheriff's Facebook post at:

https://www.facebook.com/polkcountysheriff/posts/10153407715976818?fref=nf

Motorists can also find out more by going to the following Bay News 9 link:

http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2016/1/29/tax_collector_warns_.html

 



MOBILE HOME OWNER GIFT CARD WINNERS!

Winners Get $100 Publix Gift Cards!

The Tax Collector’s Office has made a big effort to communicate alternative payment options, such as by mail or online payments, for those who traditionally chose to conduct their transaction in person at local service centers. The Tax Collector’s www.ClickOrStick.com payment portal makes online payments even easier!

The Tax Collector’s Office also tried something new this year, a Gift Card Giveaway, to further encourage mobile home owners to conduct timely mail and online mobile home registration renewal payments. A total of six $100 Publix Gift Cards were made available for the giveaway.  

The following individuals won a $100 Publix gift card!

George Sloat gift card winner! Mr. Sloat donated his gift card to Talbot House. Mrs. Bastides, with Talbot House, is shown holding the donated card!

Gregory Cain is a gift card winner! Angel Allison, Compliance Specialist with the Tax Collector’s Office is included in this picture!

Elizabeth Bailey is gift card winner!

Mr. and Mrs. John Heald shown with their winning gift card!

Note: Raija H. Kuismi and David Kihlstrand, also selected as winners of gift cards are not pictured. All individuals selected for the Gift Card Giveaway renewed their mobile home registrations by mail or online, on or before December 31, and were chosen at random.



MOBILE HOME OWNERS WIN TAX COLLECTOR GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY

Customers Encouraged to Make Payments By Mail Or Online

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/January 15, 2016

December 31 every year is the perfect storm for the Tax Collector’s Offices around the state. That’s because December 31 is the deadline for mobile home and heavy truck registration renewals, in addition to the annual property tax 3 percent discount deadline. Moreover, when you add in regular monthly vehicle registration deadlines, which apply to December birthdayshappening at the end of the month, regular driver licensing work, and the school holidayswhere teenagers are seeking driver license services... well, you get the picture.  It’s busy time and getting busier every year.

That is why, this year, the Tax Collector’s Office has made a big effort to communicate alternative payment options, such as by mail or online payments, for those who traditionally chose to conduct their transaction in person at local service centers. The Tax Collector’s www.ClickOrStick.com payment portal makes online payments even easier.

The Tax Collector’s Office also tried something new this year, a Gift Card Giveaway, to further encourage mobile home owners to conduct timely mail and online mobile home registration renewal payments. A total of six $100 Publix Gift Cards were made available for the giveaway.  

And today, Joe Tedder announced the names ofthe winners of the Gift Card Giveaway.

Those individuals who will receive a $100 Publix gift card are: Elizabeth Bailey, Gregory J. Cain and Shelia Gervase-Cain, Raija H. Kuismi, David Kihlstrand, John Heald, and George Sloat.

The individuals selected for the Gift Card Giveaway renewed their mobile home registrations by mail or online, on or before December 31, and were chosen at random.

The Tax Collector’s Office did not say whether their office would be awarding more prizes like this. However, the speed, convenience and efficiency for taxpayers conducting transactions either by mail or online is a winner either way.  Taxpayers will be pleased to experience the ease of payments made online or by mail and avoid busy lobbies.



CLOSED MONDAY FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY

Normal Hours To Resume on Tuesday

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/January 14, 2016

On Monday, January 18, 2016, Tax Collector offices throughout Polk County will be closed for business.  The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven will be closed as well.

Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, January 19.

For more information and office locations, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.  To contact the American Legion, call (863) 293-5551.



TAX COLLECTOR SERVICE CENTERS CLOSED ON JANUARY 1

New Hours Starting Monday, January 4

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ December 30, 2015

Tax Collector Joe Tedder advises taxpayers that offices across the county will be closed on Friday, January 1, 2016 in observance of the New Year’s Day holiday.  

Owners whose vehicle registrations and decals expire at the end of December, including mobile homes and heavy trucks, are encouraged to conduct their renewal transactions before the deadline and reminded that expired motor vehicle registrations and license plates are subject to law enforcement citations.  Thursday is also the deadline for a 3% property tax discount.

Customers needing to make payments during this busy time, and who are seeking to avoid high volume customer walk-in traffic, are encouraged to seek online or mail-in payment options to save time and avoid the rush.  

To renew vehicle registrations before the end of the month, or to qualify for the 3% property tax discount, motor vehicle and property owners must mail in their payment with a postmark stamped on or before Thursday, December 31, or, make an online payment at www.ClickOrStick.com on or before December 31. (They may also visit one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Thursday, December 31 if paying in person.)

The Tax Collector’s Office will re-open on Monday, January 4, 2016.  Beginning on the 4th, new hours for tax offices throughout Polk County will be 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., in order for staff to be in training for the first 30 minutes of each day and to avoid overtime.  

“In taking over driver licensing for the state, our staff has experienced increased workload and training requirements that make it difficult to keep staff informed during the normal work day.  By setting aside thirty minutes at the beginning of their day, our employees will have the most up-to-date information in which to serve the public.”

Tedder also cited that the first hour of the day was the lowest traffic time for walk-in customers, hoping to lessen any impact that the new office hours will have on taxpayers.

To summarize, tax payments may be made in the following ways:

•    Pay via the internet at www.ClickOrStick.com. Payments must be made on or before midnight Thursday, December 31.
•    Pay by Mail: Payments must be postmarked on or before Thursday, December 31.
•    Pay in person at all service center locations: All payments must be received before 5:00 PM, Thursday, December 31.
•    The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven accepts property tax payments in their drop-box which is accessible in their lobby during regular business hours.

For more information, go to www.ClickOrStick.com or call the Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4700.



2016 BUSINESS HOURS CHANGE FOR TAX COLLECTOR SERVICE CENTERS

Later Opening Time Will Minimally Affect Customers

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ December 15, 2015

Joe Tedder announces that office hours for the Tax Collector Service Centers will be 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning on January 4, 2016. The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven will also start opening on business days at 8:30 a.m. beginning in January as well.

“This will not impact staff hours,” states Tedder, “as our employees will still work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but will be in training for the first 30 minutes of each day.”

Tedder adds, “In taking over driver licensing and other duties for the state, our staff has experienced increased training requirements. Once our doors open to the public there is no down time. We must find ways to provide training without incurring overtime. Our statistical data shows the first 30 minutes of the day is the best time to get it done. By setting aside this time of the day, our staff will get the training they need, we save money on overtime, and the public is nominally impacted.”

For more information, please contact www.PolkTaxes.com.



DECEMBER SPELLS BUSY SEASON FOR TAX COLLECTOR

Taxpayers are Advised to Pay Early and Consider Payment Options

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ December 8, 2015

Tax Collector Joe Tedder is estimating over 22,000 customers will come through their offices the last two weeks of December, making it the busiest time of the year at the Tax Collector’s Office.  December 31 is the deadline for a 3% property tax discount, as well as mobile home and heavy truck registration renewals.  In addition, service centers will also be serving driver license customers, many of whom are students out for winter vacation and seeking permits. And, due to the season, holiday closings will reduce the hours of operation for walk-in services.

“All these factors create the perfect storm of high traffic through our service centers this time of year.  Luckily, taxpayers have other options to avoid long lines,” states Tedder.  Tedder and his team have been busy this fall, spreading the word about their easy, online payment portal, www.ClickOrStick.com, where taxpayers can go and conduct many of their tax payments and renewal transactions.  And now, all four service centers are offering driver license services. Chris Jaramillo, Chief Operating Officer, for the tax office adds,  “We recommend that driver license customers consult our website, www.PolkTaxes.com for information in order to book the appropriate appointments and identify specific driver license service locations. This will help our customers navigate service center wait times throughout our busiest tax season.”

The Tax Collector’s Office reminds taxpayers that they will be closed for the holidays on Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25, and Friday, January 1, 2016. Owners whose vehicle registrations and decals expire at the end of December are encouraged to conduct their renewal transactions in advance, and reminded that expired motor vehicle registrations and license plates are subject to law enforcement citations.

Customers needing to make payments during this busy tax season, and who are seeking to avoid high volume customer walk-in traffic, are encouraged to seek online or mail-in payment options to save time and avoid the rush.

To renew vehicle registrations before the end of the month, or to qualify for the 3% property tax discount, motor vehicle and property owners must mail in their payment with a postmark stamped on or before Thursday, December 31, or, make an online payment at www.ClickOrStick.com on or before December 31. (They may also visit one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Thursday, December 31 if paying in person.)

To summarize, tax payments may be made in the following ways:

·         Pay via the internet at www.ClickOrStick.com. Payments must be made on or before midnight Thursday, December 31.

·         Pay by Mail: Payments must be postmarked on or before Thursday, December 31.

·         Pay in person at all service center locations: All payments must be received before 5:00 PM, Thursday, December 31.

·         The American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven accepts property tax payments in their drop-box which is accessible in their lobby during regular business hours.

For more information, go to www.ClickOrStick.comor call the Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4700.



BEWARE OF CONTINUED ETAGSDIRECT.COM SCAM

Tedder Points to Excessive Costs and Complaints
 
12/03/2015 - BARTOW
 
Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County continues to warni motorists not to use “etagsdirect.com,” a company that advertises on internet search engines for online tag renewals.
 
Back in February, the Tax Collector’s Office first received complaints about etagsdirect.com overcharging for online tag renewals and failing to provide refunds to motorists who believed they had been duped into using their services.
 
Complaints continue to be reported to the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County about etagsdirect.com. Complaints about etagsdirect.com also continue to crop up in other counties all around the State of Florida.
 
Tedder is warning people to avoid etagsdirect.com entirely and instead go to official tax collector websites, such as www.PolkTaxes.com, to avoid excessive fees and possible lost renewals.

Tedder illustrated the problem, “When people use Google or other search engines to find our Tax Collector’s Office for online services, etagsdirect.com tricks people making them think they have gone to our website.”

In such cases people are directed to a website that is made to appear that tag renewals are conducted online. However, what actually appears to be happening is the motorist’s transaction data is collected by etagsdirect.com and then they have the ordere processed at exorbitant fees. These types of for-profit companies do nothing for their fee other than run it through a tax collector's office or agency. They have become a middleman with no added value and do this all through deception.
 
The cost of this deception is far and above what the motorist would pay if they went directly to a tax collector’s website, or conducted a transaction by mail or in an office.
 
Tedder stated,  "I urge Polk County citizens to only go to an official Tax Collector website, such as www.PolkTaxes.com, to get online registration services."



KIDS TAG ART PUBLIC SALES OPEN DECEMBER 1

Top Awards Of Distinction Honorees Announced

BARTOW, Florida / PR Free / November 25, 2015

Can’t think of the right gift for your teacher this year?  What about a Kids Tag Art vanity tag for his or her front car bumper?  With proceeds going to classroom arts, it’s a “win-win” states Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County and honorary chairman for Kids Tag Art, a countywide art design contest and fundraising project exclusively for fifth graders.  “This time of year, teachers and students can’t wait to learn who are this year’s award winning designs!   This year’s artwork is the best yet, and getting better every year.”

As in years past, this year’s Awards of Distinction recipients represent two students from each participating school across Polk County, which encompasses 148 creative designs from 74 public, private, and charter schools.  These young artists’ tag art is now being offered for sale online, at www.PolkTaxes.com.  Anyone can order tags for their cars, and you can order tags from any prior year as well.  The public sale of these tags will continue throughout the school year and orders placed by December 15 will be delivered in time for the holidays.

In addition to Award of Distinction honorees, finalists for other special awards are being recognized at this time.  Special sponsored awards include Heart Smart Art, Home Sweet Home, and the Legoland Build Your Imagination award.  Other special awards are surprise announcements made at fifth grade graduation, which include Home Sweet Home and Tax Collector’s Choice. All of these special awards are hosted separately throughout the year, and the students who place will be announced at that time.  Please review the Kids Tag Art Event Calendar for dates and times of these awards.

Again this year, Southern Homes of Polk County is the major sponsor for the project and a major contributor to arts education in Polk County.  “We at Southern Homes know creativity is critical in business and for our community. Projects like Kids Tag Art help to introduce and encourage creative thought. Southern Homes is excited about being part of this program," states Greg Masters, President of Southern Homes.  To date, the project has raised over $250,000 for Polk County arts education, all of which goes to enhance and supplement classroom teaching resources.

Recipients of the Awards of Distinction will be honored at an awards ceremony in March 2016 to recognize their accomplishments.  These designs will also become part of the 2015 Kids Tag Art traveling exhibit, which showcases their art throughout the remainder of the school year.  Beginning December 1-18, the public may view the Kids Tag Art Exhibit on display at The Lakeland Center through the 18 when it travels to the Board of County Commissioner’s Neil Combee Administration Building. For future dates and locations, refer to the KTA Event Calendar which is located at www.PolkTaxes.com. The exhibit is open to the public and free of charge.   

In addition to major sponsor Southern Homes of Polk County, new sponsors this year include The Ledger and Hall Communications.  Other sponsors include founding sponsor Douglass Screen Printers, LEGOLAND Florida, Grasslands and Woodbridge, MidFlorida, Alphagraphics, Florida Heart Research Institute, Polk Education Foundation and business partners Polk Museum of Art, Polk Arts Alliance, Polk County Schools, and The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County, who hosts the program each year.

To order, go to www.PolkTaxes.com and click on the Kids Tag Art button.  For more information, call the Polk County Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4745.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office is closed Thursday, November 26, and Friday November 27, for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Monday, November 30.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED WEDNESDAY FOR VETERAN'S DAY

We thank our Veterans for their service!

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County is closed Wednesday, November 11 for Veteran’s Day and will resume regular business hours on Thursday, November 12.

The Tax Collector’s Office is proud to observe Veteran’s Day.

For more about Veteran’s Day, please visit http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/23884/veterans-day-2015-ceremonies-and-events/
 



2015 PROPERTY TAX BILLS ARRIVE IN MAILBOXES THIS WEEK

Taxpayers Not Receiving Their Tax Bills Should Contact the Tax Collector’s Office

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ November 2, 2015

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports the 2015 Property Tax Notices to all of Polk County's property owners have been mailed.

"Property owners should be receiving their bills in the mail over the next few days," says Tedder.
 
Each year, Tedder and his staff announce the mailing of tax bills to property owners, knowing  that up to 1% of the bills each year will come back as “not deliverable” due to incorrect addresses.

Tedder reminds taxpayers their taxes are due, whether they receive a tax bill or not, citing Florida law which clearly places the burden of responsibility for payment of taxes on the property owner.

Tedder’s staff reports over 332,442 property tax bills will go out in the mail this week.  The only exception to this are those property owners who have opted to pay by an installment plan.

For them, no November bill will be sent; instead, they will be notified of third quarter installment payments due December 1.

Taxes for 2015 have a total taxable amount of $563,495,483 compared to last year's tax roll which had a total taxable amount of $527,668,801, which represents a 6% increase in taxable value.

Included in the mailing, the tax office also provides an informational insert to help answer taxpayer questions.
The insert includes a listing of taxing and levying authorities and their telephone numbers, as well as a brief description of taxes and/or assessments that may appear on the tax bill.

Property owners who do not receive their property tax notice(s) by Monday, November 16, 2015  should contact the Tax Collector's Office.

Local callers may call (863) 534-4700; callers outside the local access area may call toll-free (855) 765-5829 [855-POLK-TAX].

Property owners can also go to the Tax Collector payment portal, www.ClickOrStick.com where they can print out a copy of their tax bill(s).

Effective Monday, November 2, the Tax Collector's Office will begin accepting 2015 property tax payments.
 
If paying:

BY MAIL - Please use the return envelope and make sure to mail the lower part of your notice form(s) to the Tax Collector's Office for validating when paying taxes.

ON-LINE - Go to www.ClickOrStick.com and follow the online payment directions.

IN PERSON -  Payments are accepted at the Tax Collector's Bartow Main Office, located at 430 E. Main Street; Lake Wales Service Center at 658 Highway 60 W.; and the North Ridge Service Center, located at 2000 Deer Creek Commerce Lane in Davenport.  In Lakeland, payments may be made at the Lakeland Service Center on 916 N. Massachusetts Avenue.
 
For customer convenience, tax payments may also be placed in a DROP BOX provided inside the American Legion Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W. in Winter Haven.

For maps to these locations or other information related to your property taxes, please visit the Tax Collector's payment portal www.ClickOrStick.com.

Beginning April 1, 2016, all unpaid property taxes for the 2015 tax year become delinquent.



DRIVER LICENSE & ID SERVICES AVAILABLE IN BARTOW STARTING OCTOBER 5TH

Appointments Required

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/October 2, 2015

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County is now taking appointments for driver license and Identification Card services in the Bartow Service Center.  These services require an appointment and are not provided on a walk in basis.  Services include the issuance of driver license and Identification Cards as well as road tests.  Written exams are not available in Bartow.  

The Bartow Service Center is located at 430 E. Main Street.  Appointments can be made at www.PolkTaxes.com.  This service is only available to Polk County residents.

Before going to a Tax Collector Service Center or for more information on this service offering, please call (863) 534-4700 or visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



WOMENS FISHING CLINIC ON OCTOBER 10TH

Learn a hobby at free Women’s Fishing Clinic in St. Petersburg!

Learn the skills to successfully cast your line into the sea by attending the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Women’s Fishing Clinic in St. Petersburg on Oct. 10. For more information, click on the following link...

http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/11bb0a7

 



BUSINESS TAX RENEWAL PERIOD ENDS SOON

County Business Tax Deadline Is September 30

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ September 10, 2015

While fall marks the beginning of a new school season, fall football schedules, or perhaps new fiscal budgets, it also signals the Business Tax Renewal period, which ends Wednesday, September 30, for Polk’s business owners. Payments must be conducted in person, postmarked or transacted online on or before this date to avoid additional costs.

Tax Collector Joe Tedder is reminding the public that anyone conducting business in Polk County must obtain a Business Tax Receipt, regardless of where the business is located or the size of the business.

Any businesses operating in Polk County without a county local business tax receipt should immediately contact the Tax Collector’s Office. Failure to timely renew or obtain an initial receipt will result in additional penalties and can also result in a criminal violation.

Businesses in Polk County must also display and make visible their current business tax receipt. The valid 2015-2016 county local business tax receipt which must be displayed is blue in color.

Businesses that have not received a renewal package or need to obtain an application for a county local business tax receipt can go to the Tax Collector’s website, www.polktaxes.com, to renew online or to download an application. Business owners may also call (863) 534-4700 for additional information.  Renewal transactions and applications are also available at any one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers.

To report businesses operating in Polk County without a Business Tax Receipt, please telephone the Tax Collector's Toll Free Hotline at 1-866-687-8876.



THE LEDGER WEIGHS IN ON DRIVER LICENSE ISSUE

Central Issuance Proposal

The Ledger editorial published on September 9, 2015 covers the topic of a central issuance proposal for driver license cards. This is a proposal that would not eliminate walk-in customer or associated work at the Tax Collector's Office, but instead would have the customer wait up to two weeks to receive a printed driver license in the mail from a central DHSMV location. This is just a proposal and the concern from the Tax Collector's Office is for the impact this will have on our citizens and customers.  To read this editorial, click on the following link… 

http://www.theledger.com/article/20150909/EDIT01/150909501/1036/edit?Title=Editorial-On-this-license-issue-trust-counties



CLOSED FOR LABOR DAY

Tax Collector's Office Observes Monday, September 7 Holiday

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/September 3, 2015

The Tax Collectors's Office is closed Monday, September 7, 2015 in observance of Labor Day. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, September 8.

The Tax Collector's Office wishes everyone a happy, safe Labor Day!



APPOINTMENTS REQUIRED FOR ROAD TESTS

Polk County Residents Can Get A Road Test Appointment By Going To www.PolkTaxes.com

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County has developed an appointment system for road tests. Beginning, September 14th, Polk County residents seeking to take a road test in order to obtain a Florida driver license are required to make an appointment with the Tax Collector’s Office.

The Tax Collector’s Office currently averages approximately 225 road tests county-wide per week and these transactions are very time consuming, lasting in excess of 45 minutes. Such transactions have been observed to impact customer service, by increasing wait-times for those seeking road tests and all other transactions performed at the Tax Collector’s Office.  

The Tax Collector’s Office developed the appointment system for road tests as one step to address the length of customer service wait-times and to better manage walk-in traffic at its Service Centers. Appointments for road tests are only available for Polk County residents.

Residents seeking road tests may begin scheduling their appointments beginning September 1st at www.PolkTaxes.com



LAKELAND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS ANNOUNCE NEIGHBORHOOD CLEAN-UP

Tax Collector’s Office Joins Local Effort

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/July 24, 2015

There will be more going on next week on Massachusetts Avenue than just tax collection.
 
Several Lakeland community development nonprofits along with the Tax Collector’s Office are joining forces to clean up the north-central blocks of downtown Lakeland that have historically been known as an area that attracts the homeless population and an easy dumping ground for bottles and trash. The recent opening of the Tax Collector’s Office on Massachusetts Avenue and the public traffic it is generating in the neighborhood motivated Tedder to seek out the advice of the property owners in the area and the agencies that have expertise in the homeless population.

"These groups are as motivated as we are to see improvements and they are willing to get their hands dirty and work up a sweat to get it done. I'm thrilled to be working with them," states Joe Tedder,  Tax Collector for Polk County.

“Parker Street Ministries has been committed to this area in our community for over 16 years.  We are happy to have the Tax Collector’s Office in the neighborhood and look forward to working with them on making improvements,” adds Parker Street Executive Director Tim Mitchell.

Tony Fusaro, Executive Director with Talbot House agrees. “In the past, Talbot House Ministries, working alone or with other agencies, has worked to keep its campus and the surrounding properties as neat and clean as possible.  We are pleased now to be cooperating with a larger number of groups in this community effort to make our neighborhood an inviting place to be.”

Beginning Monday, July 27 and throughout the week, work will be underway transforming the neighborhood behind the Tax Collector’s Office on Massachusetts Avenue and surrounding residential blocks.  With leadership from local organizations such as Parker Street Ministries, Talbot House, Lighthouse Ministries, Dream Center of Lakeland, Word Alive Ministries, as well as involvement from Walgreens and the City of Lakeland Code Enforcement and Lakeland Police Department, work parties have been scheduled throughout the week to groom and manicure the areas needing the most attention. The Tax Collector's Office will also be working with these partners to explore ways to maintain this effort long-term.
 
 Volunteer teams from these organizations will be involved in the week-long effort, doing everything from shrubbery and tree-trimming to edging and mowing vacant lots, as well as street cleaning and garbage pick-up.  Staff from the tax office will be out on Saturday, to host the final day cleanup and neighborhood celebration.
 
“These other organizations have been fighting the good fight for years, working to enhance the standard of living in this neighborhood.  We are the newcomers to the area, but with everybody so vested in the effort, we just want to help,” says Tedder.

For more information, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com or call 863-534-4743.



TAX CERTIFICATE SALE RESULTS

Tax Collector Concludes 2015 Tax Certificate Sale

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ July 2, 2015

On June 1, 2015, the Tax Collector's Office held their annual real property tax certificate sale. This sale is held online every year to address the revenue shortfall created from delinquent taxes by selling tax certificates, which are tax liens, to willing investors. Investors in tax certificates assume some risk and plan to receive the principal and interest from delinquent taxpayers when the delinquent taxes are finally paid.

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports that from a total real estate tax roll of $442,591,838 at the beginning of the tax year, $17,602,913 went unpaid and was offered up for tax certificates on June 1, 2015.  Of this, 13,191 tax certificates were sold, for a total of $16,049,125 delinquent taxes collected, representing 91.2% of the unpaid balance of taxes owed, at an average interest rate to investors of 2.43%, a savings to those property owners with outstanding taxes still owing.  

At the conclusion of the online tax certificate sale, $1,553,788 in delinquent tax certificates remains unsold, compared to $1,519,467 a year ago. For the 2014 tax year, the total real estate tax roll collected, including the tax certificate sale is $440,902,590, representing a 99.6 % collection rate.  

On July 1, 2015, these county-held tax certificates will be open for review at www.polkfl.realtaxlien.com and will be available to purchase beginning on July 2, 2015.

For more information, please go to www.polktaxes.com.

 



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FRIDAY, JULY 3

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ June 29, 2015

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County announces that all its offices and call center will be closed for business on Friday, July 3, 2015 in observance of Independence Day (which falls on Saturday this year). Normal operations will resume on Monday, July 6th.



LEGOLAND SUPPORTS KIDSTAG ART!

June 26, 2015 - The Summer 2015 edition of Art-i-facts Magazine features an article and photograph about LEGOLAND and its "Build Your Imagination" Kids Tag Art Award!

Featured in the photo are (left to right) Buddy the Mascot; Martha Roe Burke, Cheirwoman for Kids Tag Art; Rebekah Hammond, Award Recepient from Scott Lake Elementary School; Adrian Jones, General Manager for LEGOLAND Florida Resort; and, Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County.




TANGIBLE TAXES FOLLOW THE PROPERTY

It is important for businesses to know that Tangible Personal Property Taxes follow the tangible property.

Tangible Personal Property Taxes even follow ferris wheels!

The following link is to a news article about about how local taxes levied in Florida are due on a ferris wheel, which is now located in Georgia;

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2015/06/24/tax-authorities-want-atlantas-skyview-ferris-wheel-seized-to-pay-taxes/

 



TAX COLLECTOR CHOOSES KIDS TAG ART!

Kids Tag Art - Tax Collector Choice Award!

Rylynn Green from Bethune Academy in Haines City is this year's recipient of the Tax Collector Choice Award! Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector presented the award to Rylynn at her 5th Grade Graduation Ceremony, held on Wednesday, June 3rd.The winning tag was personally chosen by the Tax Collector out of approximately 140 tags, and will be displayed on his personal vehicle for the next year. A framed tag was also presented to Rylynn, and a copy is also on display in the Bartow Service Center Lobby. Mrs. Raedell Coogler is the Art Teacher at Bethune Academy.

Left to Right: Joe Tedder, Rylynn Green and her mother Catherine.



TAX COLLECTOR WARNS PEOPLE ABOUT ETAGSDIRECT.COM

Tedder Points to Excessive Costs and Complaints
 
05/29/2015 - BARTOW
 
Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County is warning motorists not to use “etagsdirect.com,” a company that advertises on internet search engines for online tag renewals.
 
Back in February, the Tax Collector’s Office first received complaints about etagsdirect.com overcharging for online tag renewals and failing to provide refunds to motorists who believed they had been duped into using their services.
 
In response, the Tax Collector’s Office contacted Alexander Conde, who identified himself as the legal counsel for etagsdirect.com, and requested that etagsdirect.com stop advertising efforts that target Polk County’s citizens.  By way of an email, dated March 27, 2015, Mr. Conde conveyed that etagsdirect.com would discontinue such advertising efforts related to Polk.  However, on May 13, 2015, the Tax Collector’s Office confirmed that etagsdirect.com has resumed its advertising efforts for Polk County and is again targeting its citizens. Moreover, complaints about etagsdirect.com are cropping up in other counties all around the State of Florida.
 
Tedder is warning people to avoid etagsdirect.com entirely and instead go to official tax collector websites, such as www.PolkTaxes.com, to avoid excessive fees and possible lost renewals.


Tedder illustrated the problem, “When people use Google or other search engines to find our Tax Collector’s Office for online services, etagsdirect.com tricks people making them think they have gone to our website.”


In such cases people are directed to a website that is made to appear that tag renewals are conducted online. However, what actually appears to be happening is the motorist’s transaction data is collected by etagsdirect.com and then they manually process the order at exorbitant fees. These types of for-profit companies do nothing for their fee other than contact a Tax Collector's Office or agency. They have become a middleman with no added value and do this all through deception.
 
The cost of this deception is far and above what the motorist would pay if they went directly to a tax collector’s website, or conducted a transaction by mail or in an office. “Florida tax collectors are looking into the legalities of what etagsdirect.com is doing and have asked the State to step in and help end this rip-off because of concerns over consumer protection," commented Tedder.
 
The Tax Collector’s Office has determined that etagsdirect.com has not only been advertising on Google, but it has created a website domain name that appears to be registered in the country of Panama and the owner of the website has effectively shielded their identity.
 
Tedder scolded, “I don’t feel businesses hiding in the shadows of the World Wide Web, like etagsdirect.com, should be allowed to take advantage of people that are just trying to comply with the law.”
 
"I urge Polk County citizens to only go to an official Tax Collector website, such as www.PolkTaxes.com, to get online registration services."



2014 DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX CERTIFICATES GO UP FOR SALE

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reminds property owners that 2014 real estate taxes not paid by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 29 are subject to a Tax Certificate Sale. A Tax Certificate is a lien on property created by payment of the delinquent taxes due. It is not a purchase of property.

On Monday morning, June 1, 2015, all unpaid taxes will be placed up for auction through the Tax Collector's annual online Tax Certificate Sale. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 25. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service.



GOVERNOR SCOTT NAMES LOCAL TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE FOR 2015 GOVERNOR'S STERLING AWARD

The Tax Collector’s Office is First Local Governing Authority in Polk to Earn Sterling Recognition

05/14/15 - BARTOW

The Office of Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector has learned that Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Sterling Council have recognized The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County as a 2015 Governor’s Sterling Award recipient.  The prestigious Sterling Award is presented annually to businesses and other organizations that demonstrate they meet or exceed the Sterling Criteria for Performance Excellence. The award follows a rigorous assessment process consisting of an Organizational Profile and a formal 50 page application which is scored against the seven categories of the Sterling Criteria, including performance results that show sustained high levels of performance excellence. This award is the highest recognition that an organization in Florida can receive for performance excellence. Florida Sterling is the state version of the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.
 
In response to the award announcement Tedder stated, “The citizens of Polk County should take great pride in this recognition. It's a tangible sign that their Tax Collector’s Office is considered a role model in Florida for businesses and organizations. The staff in the Tax Collector’s Office has worked for years to get better and better and this recognition doesn't stop that process it just keeps us focused to do more. As citizens, please join me in congratulating the wonderful people that make up the Tax Collector’s Office staff.”
 
Established in 1992, by then Governor Lawton Chiles, the Governor’s Sterling Award assessment process allows organizations to identify their improvement objectives and successful practices. Those applying for the Sterling Award must implement the Sterling Criteria in order to be considered for the award. The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County is only the second recipient from Polk County to receive this recognition and is the first local governing authority to win the award. Cargill Citro America of Frostproof won the Sterling Award 1997.

When learning of the award, George Lindsey, Chairman of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, said, “The Tax Collector’s Office provides exceptional service to the people of Polk County and this award is truly deserved because of their commitment to performance excellence.”

President of Polk State College Eileen Holden remarked, “This is a great day for the Tax Collector’s Office and for the people of Polk County.  Sterling challenges organizations to demonstrate their systematic approach to customers, leadership, strategic planning, workforce and operations. It's not a walk in the park. It's truly a big deal. I can’t be more pleased for them and their staff and look forward to learning more about their performance excellence journey.”

Ed Crenshaw, CEO of Publix Super Markets, Inc., which is based in Polk County, added this, "The Governor's Sterling Award is a rigorous examination and few organizations attain this high level of performance.  Because the work they do impacts us all here in Polk County, we are very lucky to have an organization so focused on process-driven performance serving our citizens.  Joe Tedder's office values customer service, as we do here at Publix, and it shows. Congratulations to a stellar organization which demonstrates exceptional leadership in our community."



PROPERTY TAX INSTALLMENT PROGRAM ENROLLMENT DEADLINE NEARS

Now Is The Time To Sign Up For Quarterly Payment Plan

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/April 28, 2015

Joe G. Tedder reminds property owners that April 30 is the deadline for applying for the 2015 property tax installment program. If you prefer to pay your property taxes in quarterly payments, you have until the end of the month to register with the tax office.

The installment option allows homeowners to pay their 2015 taxes in four payments rather than the full payment options made available every fall when taxes become due. By participating in the quarterly installment program, homeowners will receive a 3.5 percent discount on their taxes. Once enrolled in the program, participants do not have to re-apply unless they fail to make the first installment by June 30, in which case the applicant will be dropped from the program and must re-apply.

Applications for the plan can be obtained at the Tax Collector's website, www.PolkTaxes.com (http://www.polktaxes.com/propertytaxes/installments_partial_payments.aspx) or at any of the Tax Collector's Service Centers around the county. Homeowners must have more than $100 in estimated taxes. The first payment would be made by June 30 and subsequent payments would be due on September 30, December 31, and March 31.

The first two payments are based on the prior year's taxes. After the tax roll is certified, the last two payments will be adjusted to reflect a homeowner's actual taxes.



ART IN TRANSIT PARTICIPANTS WIN FREE KID TAGS

Kids Tag Art On The Bus!

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/April 17, 2015

Kids Tag Art, a school art program for fifth graders who create license plate art as part of a school fundraising and classroom arts curriculum, recently participated in the Art In Transit week, hosted by the county’s area mass transit.  

Kids Tag Art was invited to showcase fifth grade artwork by providing tag art to decorate Citrus Connection buses throughout Polk County.  Riders and other participants in the weeklong festivities were entered into a drawing to win one of the 100 tags on display.  Smaller key fobs of student artwork were given out as well on Sunday and Wednesday of this past week at the Lakeland Main Terminal.

Douglass Screen Printers of Lakeland is the local producer of the kid tags and a founding board member and Picasso sponsor of Kids Tag Art since its start in 2006.  Douglass donated the tags and key fobs that were part of the week’s promotion.

"Douglass is honored to be part of such a valuable organization that recognizes the need for increased art awareness in our community. At Douglass, we firmly believe in creativity and innovation; both things the Kids Tag Art program is dedicated to developing in our fifth graders,” shared Lane Hickey-Wiggins, Chief Operating Officer for Douglass Screen Printers, who is on the Kids Tag Art Board.

Southern Homes is the major sponsor for Kids Tag Art.  Other sponsors include Legoland Florida Resort, MidFlorida, Grasslands & Oakbridge, AlphaGraphics, Florida Heart Research Institute, Vecchio, Carrier and Feldman, P.A., Polk Education Foundation, and Paint Along Studios, in conjunction with Polk County Schools, Polk Museum of Art, Polk Arts Alliance and the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County, who hosts the program.

The following individuals will be receiving a kid tag:.

Roosevelt Williams, Jonathan Meyer, Jeff Winn, April Wilson, Mary Cannon, Rod Lordon, Albert, Ericka, Margaret, Eric and Mike from 98.3, Bus Drivers Eva, America H, Brian, Felix, Jose Nieves, Linda M, Kayla Willette, Lester Young, Stacy Wiggins, Gina Stewart, Lori Methot, Brett Upthegrove, Marshall and Tom Phillips.

For more information, please contact Debby Thompson at the Tax Collector’s Office at (863) 534-4745.

 



GIFT CARD WINNER ANNOUNCED!

And The Winner Is...

Barb Barbee is the winner of a $100 Publix Gift Card for participating in our January 2015 Customer Expectation & Satisfaction Survey! Ms. Barbee was randomly selected as the winner from all those who participated in the survey.

A big thanks to Ms. Barbee and all those who participated in this survey. The Tax Collector's Office is using the information to help plan how it can best serve the people of Polk County.



TUESDAY, MARCH 31 IS FINAL 2014 PROPERTY TAX DEADLINE

Taxpayers Urged to Pay Online or Mail In Payments and Avoid Busy Offices

03/23/15 - BARTOW

Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Tax Collector for Polk County, advises taxpayers who have not yet paid their 2014 property taxes, to consider online payments or mailing in their property tax payments.  March 31 falls on a Tuesday this year and Tedder notes that it will be one of the busiest weeks in the Tax Collector’s offices with possible long wait times.  Tuesday the 31st is the last possible day for payment of 2014 real estate and tangible personal property taxes before they become delinquent.

“The end of the month is always a busy day in our offices,” Tedder states, “and now with our offices serving driver license customers and continuing to serve those individuals needing to renew their registrations, we are reminding the public that there are multiple ways to conduct their transaction without having to visit our offices.”

Taxpayers have the option of making payments in person, online or by mail.  However, mail-in payments must be postmarked and online payments can and should be made on or before Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Tedder wants taxpayers to know that online payments can be made using “echecks” which can be written on the taxpayer’s existing bank account and carry a $1.50 fee instead of the 2.5% service fee of credit cards.  Property tax payment transactions may be conducted online at www.PolkTaxes.com.

Tedder says, “My advice is to get your payment in today."  Payments made after the applicable payment deadlines will be considered delinquent and late fees and interest will be accrued.

For mail-in payments, send payments addressed to:

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County
P.O. Box 1189
Bartow, Florida 33831-1189

Mail-in payments may be made by way of a check or money order made payable to Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector. Checks must be in U.S. funds and drawn on U.S. banks. Do not send cash through the mail. Mail-in credit card payments are also accepted when accompanied by a credit card payment slip provided by the Tax Collector's Office. When paying by credit card, a convenience fee of 2.5% will be charged.

Property tax payments may also be placed in drop boxes located inside the Service Centers, which are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM every day except Wednesday when office hours are 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (excluding weekends and observed holidays), and at the Winter Haven Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W., which is open from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (excluding weekends and observed holidays). For Tax Collector Service Center locations, please go to www.PolkTaxes.com.

For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.comor telephone the Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4700.

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KIDS TAG ART AWARDS!

The Ninth Annual Polk County Kids Tag Art Awards of Distinction event held the evening of Tuesday, March 3rd drew hundreds of students, family, and educators to Polk Museum of Art! Congratulations to all the student artists.



BAG FEATURES CLASSIC STORE; NOW A TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE

Publix Store No. 15, in Lakeland, is featured on a cool looking shopping bag! The historic store was a state of the art wonder in 1953 when it first opened!

Today, the building serves as our Tax Collector's Office Lakeland Service Center, which was restored to capture much of Publix's original art deco style!

 



1% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS ON 28th

Pay By Saturday To Get 1% Off Tax Bill

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/February 24, 2015

Saturday is the last day to receive a discount for property tax payments, the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County announced today. To qualify for a 1% property tax discount, taxpayers are advised to mail in or go online to make their property tax payment now, and avoid end-of-month high traffic days in the Tax Collector Service Centers.

Taxpayers have the following payment options.

Taxpayers may mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before Saturday, February 28; or,
make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before midnight on Saturday, February 28; or,
visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Monday, March 2, to pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times,go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



LAKELAND SERVICE CENTER BRINGS BACK MEMORIES

I recently received a heartwarming letter from a Mr. David Partin, which described how his wife, Hilda, once lived and grew up on the property where our new Lakeland Service Center is located. It was a great trip down memory lane, from her getting her first driver license, while living there, to Publix buying the property and operating a grocery store at that location, and finally Hilda getting her latest driver license at the new Service Center operating on that site. Our Lakeland staff was very happy to play a part in this special driver license issuance! ~ Joe G. Tedder


 



TAX COLLECTOR APPEARS ON PGTV SPANISH PROGRAM

Joe G. Tedder Appears on ¿Que Pasa Polk?, a PGTV television program!

To view the three segments of the show, cllick on the following links:

 

Overview
http://youtu.be/Pw1k2li7WSo

 

Joe Tedder Part 1
http://youtu.be/cjaVI8qb6vI

 

Joe Tedder Part 2

http://youtu.be/bO76FK9wCuE



SENIOR DRIVING CONCERNS FEATURED IN THE NEWS

Seniors Face Decsion On When To Stop Driving

On Friday, February 20, the News Chief (Ledger Media Group) featured an article on seniors and the issues pertaining to the decision to stop driving.

To view the article, click on the following link:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20150219/NEWSCHIEF/150219212/1338/news00?Title=There-Are-No-Easy-Answers-on-Driving-as-You-Age&tc=ar



TAX COLLECTOR’S OFFICE TRAINING INCLUDES COMPASSION

Tax Collector's Offices Closed On Presidents' Day; Not A Day Off For Staff!

Starting in 2011, Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector and his staff have closed their offices on Presidents’ Day to engage in training activities at Lake Region High School.

Tedder explains, “Presidents’ Days was identified as one of our least busy days, since most people believe we are closed like the schools or other government agencies. It is the only day we can get our entire staff in the same room and focus on those things that help improve our service to the public.”

Over the last two years, the Tax Collector’s Office has integrated compassion into its end-of-day team building training activities.
Last year, Tax Collector staff participated in a team-building exercise, where they assembled bicycles that were then donated to twenty elementary school children through the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club.

This past Presidents’ Day, staff participated in a number of activities that allowed teams to identify leaders for various tasks. The successful completion of the tasks allowed each team to then come together and work to create essential supplies packs for homeless children in Polk County. Staff put together 540 packs, as well as additional materials, that included such items as soap, deodorant, tooth paste and brushes. The items were donated to the Polk County Schools’ Hearth Project, which is dedicated to assisting homeless and in-transition families and children.

Special thanks goes to Bartow Rotary, who matched donations with the Tax Collector’s staff.  Other in-kind donations came from Bartow Walmart, Bartow Dollar General and Bartow Dollar Tree, to enable this significant contribution to the Hearth Project.

Tedder concluded, “By integrating compassion into our end-of-day team building activities, we are looking to seek to demonstrate and instill the values that the people of Polk County expect and appreciate.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS DAY

Tax Collector's Office Will Once Again Be Closed On Monday, February 16 In Observance Of Presidents Day

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/February 11, 2015

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office will be closed on Monday, February 16, 2015 in observance of Presidents Day.

While none of the Tax Collector’s Office Service Centers will be open on Presidents Day, the Tax Collector's staff will be involved in all-day training sessions and continuing education. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

Please note the Winter Haven Legion Tag Agency will remain open on Presidents Day.  The Legion Tag Agency only conducts motor vehicle license plate, decal and title transactions (driver license services and/or tax transactions are not available at the Winter Haven location). Drop boxes located at the Legion Tag Agency are available for anyone needing to drop off property tax payments.  Online services will be available as well.



KIDS TAG ART HOSTS THIRD ANNUAL HEART SMART ART AWARDS

World Renowned Wildlife Artist Stephen Koury Inspires Students

01/31/15 - LAKELAND

Saturday,January 31 was Heart Smart Art Day at Polk Museum of Art, where Joe Tedder’s Kids Tag Art program teamed up with Miami-based Florida Heart Research Institute to recognize heart-healthy designs as part of this year’s countywide drawing contest.   Ten talented fifth graders and their families were recognized for their creative heart-healthy design at the 3rd Annual Heart Smart Art Recognition Ceremony and Reception, hosted by The Florida Heart Research Institute of Miami, the sole sponsor of this event and the only one of its kind in the State. 

Meri Mass, on behalf of the Polk Museum of Art, welcomed the crowd of teachers, parents, siblings and honorees, and reminded the audience of the importance of the Kids Tag Art project, which instructs youth on the entire process of bringing a piece of art from conceptual idea through to production.  She shared the importance of the creative industries that have become an economic engine to the creative economy of today.  Speaking about the importance of STEM education, Mass inserted an “A” for the arts, and shared that the new buzzword in education is “STEAM,” accounting for the place creative self-expression plays in developing innovative leaders of tomorrow.

Each of the seven students receiving an “honorable mention” were presented with their art tag and a certificate of achievement.  The top three designs received a certificate along with their artwork in a special award frame along with a small cash award.

Lakeland resident and world renowned wildlife artist Stephen Koury spoke to the students and shared his enthusiasm for art with the crowd. “My artwork informs the viewer,” Koury shared, “just like your designs today have,” encouraging the budding artists to consider a career in the arts, either through the visual arts or through all of the creative industries.  Koury is a widely-acclaimed wildlife artist, winning numerous awards and enjoyed by collectors throughout the world.  US Art magazine has named him, “one of the great naturalists of our time.” 

"We are happy to partner once again with the Florida Heart Research Institute, our major sponsor for the "Heart Smart Art Award," stated Joe Tedder.  “We are pleased to use Kids Tag Art as a creative vehicle to encourage our youth to be mindful of being heart healthy by inviting fifth graders to design a creative kid tag that stimulates their understanding about healthy lifestyles.”

Winning awards were-

HONORABLE MENTION

Mia Colon – Lake Shipp Elementary – Patrick Stone, Instructor

Kyla Piotrowski – McKeel Academy Central – Emily Backes, Instructor

Tyreke Lewis – Lake Alfred Elementary – Joy Montgomery, Instructor

Josue Astor – North Lakeland Elementary – Heather Patrias, Instructor

Karen Altidor– Garden Grove Elem – Christina Edmonds, Instructor

Samantha Morales – Jesse Keen Elementary – Kent McAllister, Instructor

Grace Joseph – Rochelle School of the Arts – Brandie King, Instructor

TOP HONORS

3rd place award goes to: Sasha Perez – Loughman Oaks Elementary – Oriana Russe, Instructor

2nd place award goes to: Byron Hayes – Blake Academy – Joshua Steele, Instructor

And, the 1st place award goes to: Austin Rodriguez – Alta Vista Elementary – Karen Smith, Instructor

BACKGROUND

Polk County Kids Tag Art is a school art program that originated in Polk County in 2006. This program is exclusively for 5th graders who create their own unique vanity license tag artwork and compete for an Award of Distinction within each school. Top Designs become part of a traveling display and are published online for sale to the public. All proceeds supplement Polk County Schools’ classroom arts education. Additional special design awards, such as Heart Smart Art, are granted throughout the year, underwritten by our generous sponsors.

The Florida Heart Research Institute HEART SMART ART AWARD honors student designs that best illustrate how a heart-healthy lifestyle might be depicted. Any number of designs may be selected and honored with a recognition ceremony and certificate of achievement. Well-developed designs with bright, vivid lines are best. For more information,

go to www.stopheartdisease.org.

2014-2015 Polk County Kids Tag Art Sponsors:

Southern Homes of Polk County (MAJOR)

Douglass Screen Printers (Secondary)

Florida Heart Research Institute

MIDFLORIDA

OakBridge & Grasslands

LEGOLAND*FL

Paint Along Studios

Alphagraphics

Vecchio, Carrier & Feldman, P.A.

Polk Education Foundation

For more information and pictures of the students’ work, please contact the Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4745.

 



2 % PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS ON JANUARY 31st

Taxpayers Can Save Time and Money With Online Property Taxes Payments Using eCheck

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/January 29, 2015

The Tax Collector's Office reminds property owners that Saturday, January 31 is the last day to take advantage of the 2% discount awarded to taxpayers who chose to make their property tax payment in January.

To receive this discount, payments must be postmarked or conducted online on or before January 31. Taxpayers may also pay in person on Monday, February 2 at one of the Tax Collector's Service Center locations.

Taxpayers may be interested to know that the “echeck” payment option is available for online transactions.  This payment option limits the convenience fee to a flat $1.50 per transaction rather than the customary 2.5% requirement for credit card transactions.

To qualify for the 2% property tax discount, taxpayers have the following options:

Mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before  Saturday, January 31;
Make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before Saturday, January 31; or,
visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Monday, February 2, and pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



2% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT DEADLINE APPROACHES

01/20/15 - BARTOW

The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County reports that Saturday, January 31 is the 2% discount deadline for property tax payments.

To qualify for the 2% property tax discount, taxpayers have the following options:

Mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before Saturday, January 31;

Make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before Saturday, January 31; or,

Visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Monday, February 2, and pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



SEEKING SERVICE CENTER FEEDBACK

The Tax Collector's Office reminds those visiting our Service Centers to take a moment and fill out a comment card regarding their experience.

Comment card feedback is reviewed and used to help improve the level of service the Tax Collector’s Office provides to the public.

Let us know how we are doing!

 



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED NEW YEAR'S DAY

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Thursday, January 1 for the New Year's Holiday.

The Tax Collector's will resume regular business hours on Friday, January 2.



KIDS TAG ART GOES ON SALE TO PUBLIC

Decorate Your Car’s Front Bumper For The Holidays And Support Classroom Art

Kids Tag Art, a school fundraising project originating at the Polk County Tax Collector’s Office, announces its Award of Distinction recipients for the 2014-2015 school year. The student honorees’names are listed and artwork is now available for sale to the public on the Tax Collector’s website, www.PolkTaxes.com.

Kids Tag Art is a drawing contest that inspires 5th graders to learn about, and design, their own specialty plate art and, in the process, raise supplemental monies for classroom art supplies. This Fall, Polk County Kids Tag Art turned 9 years old, and along with Polk County, many more counties throughout Florida are hosting and enjoying their own art contests. Collectively, Kids Tag Art has raised over $325,000 across Florida, and $200,000 in just Polk County alone.

Kids Tag Art inspires young artists to create their own unique design, using the practical application of license plate art to support worthy causes, fashioned after Florida’s 120+ specialty license plates. Teachers enthusiastically involve their students in a curriculum-based module that teaches creative problem-solving and innovation to work within the parameters of the palate, to create a highly-visible piece of art designed for the front bumpers of cars.

The program is available to 5th graders throughout Polk County in public, private and charter schools. Currently, approximately 100 elementary schools across Polk County participate, earning hundreds of dollars from generous community sponsors just for their involvement in the project. Additional proceeds are possible through the sale of tags. However, many more dollars could be raised if the public got involved and purchased student artwork.

“Supporting Kids Tag Art just makes sense for Southern Homes. We have been in business in Polk County since 1991. Many of our team members have come through the local school system. We plan to continue to grow and provide meaningful career opportunities to driven individuals. We truly believe that the development of the creative mind through the arts will help us as a community and as a company be prepared to tackle the difficult challenges that will come in the future.”

In addition to major sponsor, Southern Homes of Polk County, other sponsors include Douglass Screen Printers, Grasslands and Oakbridge, MidFlorida, Vecchio, Carrier & Feldman, P.A., Alphagraphics, Florida Heart Research Institute, LEGOLAND*Florida, Paint Along Studios, Polk Education Foundation, and business partners Polk Museum of Art, Polk Arts Alliance, Polk County Schools, and the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, who hosts the project.

For more information, please call the Polk County Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4722 or go to www.PolkTaxes.com

To Order Kids Tag Art  please click here.


EXHIBIT SCHEDULE

January 6 – Feb 3
Board of County Commissioners Admin Bldg., Bartow

Feb 4 – Mar 2
Polk Historical Museum, Bartow

Mar 2 – Apr 2
Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland

Apr 2 – Apr 29
Frostproof Art Gallery, Frostproof

May 12 – June 3
Tax Collector’s Service Center, Lakeland



HOLIDAY CLOSINGS AND YEAR-END TAX DEADLINES APPROACHING

Taxpayers Advised to Avoid Crowds and Pay Early, Pay by Mail or Online

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/December 15, 2014

Wednesday, December 31 will be a busy time at the Tax Collector Service Centers.  That’s when deadlines for a 3% property tax discount, mobile home and heavy truck registration renewals are due.

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County will be closed for Christmas on Thursday, December 25 and Friday, December 26.  The office will also be closed on Thursday, January 1 for New Year’s.  Normal office hours will resume on Friday, January 2, 2015.  However, any payments received on January 2 will be considered delinquent and penalties may apply. (Note: Property tax payments will not be delinquenton January 1. Instead the 3% discount will no longer be available and payments will instead receive a 2% discount.)

Customers wishing to make payment before the year-end deadlines have the following options:

To renew vehicle registrations by the end of the month and to qualify for the 3% property tax discount, property owners are encouraged to mail in their payment with a post mark recorded on or before December 31; or, make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before December 31; or, visit one of the Tax Collector Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Wednesday, December 31 to pay in person.  Drop boxes in service centers may also be used to leave payments.

December 31 is also the deadline for the owners of mobile homes and heavy trucks to renew their registrations and decals, which expire by the end of the month.  To avoid having an expired registration and decal, mobile home and heavy truck owners should make sure they renew their registration and display a current decal on their mobile home or heavy truck no later than Wednesday, December 31.  

Mobile home owners may pay by mail, online at www.polktaxes.com and in person at one of the Tax Collector Service Centers.  Heavy truck owners may pay by mail or in person.

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector, reminds property taxpayers who are seeking to apply their 2014 property tax payment as a deduction on their Federal 2014 IRS Return, that property tax payments must be made on or before December 31 in order to qualify for this exemption.  "The time at which a person pays their property tax can be critical in their saving money. We really want to make sure everyone knows about these important dates and deadlines,” states Tedder.

 For more information, go to www.polktaxes.com or telephone (863) 534-4700.



3% DISCOUNT AVAILABLE FOR EARLY TAX PAYMENT IN DECEMBER

A 3% discount is now available for those making current property tax payments during the month of December.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office is closed Thursday, November 27, and Friday November 28, for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Monday, December 1.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!



LIFETIME SPORTSMAN’S LICENSES OFFER

Reduced Cost Sportsman's License Offer Ends December 31, 2014

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been authorized to offer Lifetime Sportsman’s Licenses for Florida children and young adults at a greatly reduced cost. The license now costs up to $1000 but from Nov. 24 through Dec. 31, 2014, the price will be reduced to $500 for Florida residents who are 21-years-old and younger. The lifetime license covers saltwater and freshwater recreational fishing, hunting and most associated permits.
 
A Lifetime Sportsman’s License allows fishing and hunting in Florida for the rest of the license holder’s life, even if that person is no longer a resident of the state.
 
The license may be purchased at all Florida county tax collectors’ offices, online at License.MyFWC.com and by calling toll-free 888-FISH-FLORIDA (888-347-4356). Residency must be verified. For more information about a Lifetime Sportsman’s License and this limited time offer, visit http://myfwc.com/license/recreational/lifetime-licenses/



4% DISCOUNT FOR EARLY TAX PAYMENT ENDS IN NOVEMBER

2014 Property Taxes Are Now Due

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ November 24, 2014

The Tax Collector's Office reminds property owners that Sunday, November 30 is the last day to take advantage of the maximum 4% discount awarded to taxpayers who chose to make payment within the first month that property taxes are due.

To receive this discount, payments must be postmarked or conducted online on or before November 30. Taxpayers may also pay in person by Monday, December 1 at one of the Tax Collector's Service Center locations.

However, property owners should be advised that Monday, December 1 will be a very busy day in the Tax Collector Service Centers and that payments should be mailed or conducted online if possible in order to save time and avoid long lines.

Property owners may also make tax payments using secure drop boxes located inside any of the Tax Collector Service Centers listed below and any payments deposited in drop boxes on or before Monday, December 1 will receive the 4% discount.
 
Service Center office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday except Wednesday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm (excluding weekends and holidays).

  • BARTOW Service Center - 430 E. Main Street, Bartow
  • LAKELAND Service Center- 916 North Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland
  • NORTH RIDGE Service Center – 2000 Deer Creek Commerce Lane, Davenport
  • LAKE WALES Service Center - 658 State Road 60 West, Lake Wales

In Winter Haven, property tax payments may also be placed in a drop box located inside the Winter Haven Legion Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, N.W., between 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (excluding weekends and holidays).

Payments postmarked or received after the November 30 deadline will not qualify for the 4% rate. Discount rates decrease one percentage point each month until March, at which time the full tax amount is due. Property tax bills become delinquent after March 31.

Individuals who have not yet received their tax bill should immediately contact the Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4700.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED TUESDAY FOR VETERAN'S DAY

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County is closed Tuesday, November 11 for Veteran’s Day and will resume regular business hours on Wednesday, November 12.

The Tax Collector’s Office is proud to observe Veteran’s Day.

For more about Veteran’s Day, please visit http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

Veterans, we thank you for your service!



PROPERTY TAX BILLS ARE IN THE MAIL

Taxpayers Should Look For Property Tax Bills In Mailboxes This Week


BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ October 31, 2014

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County reports that the 2014 property tax notices to all of Polk County's property owners have been mailed.

"Property owners should be receiving their bills in the mail over the next few days," says Tedder. 

Each year, Tedder and his staff announce the mailing of tax bills to property owners, knowing  that up to 1% of the bills each year will come back as “not deliverable” due to incorrect addresses. 

Tedder reminds taxpayers that their taxes are due, whether they receive a tax bill or not, citing Florida law which clearly places the burden of responsibility for payment of taxes on the property owner.

Tedder’s staff reports that over 331,664 property tax bills will go out in the mail this week.  The only exceptions to this are those property owners who have opted to pay by an installment plan. 

For them, no November bill will be sent; instead, they will be notified of third quarter installment payments due  December 1.
Taxes for 2014 have a total taxable amount of $527,668,801 as compared to last year's tax roll which had a total taxable amount of $510,192,567,  representing a 3% increase in taxable value.

Included in the mailing, the tax office also provides an informational insert with the tax notice to help answer taxpayer questions.

The insert includes a listing of taxing and levying authorities and their telephone numbers as well as a brief description of taxes and/or assessments that may appear on an individual's tax bill.

Property owners who do not receive their property tax notice(s) by Monday, November 17 should contact the Tax Collector's Office. Local callers may call (863) 534-4700; callers outside the local access area may call toll free (855) 765-5829 [855-POLK-TAX].

Property owners can also go to the Tax Collector website, www.PolkTaxes.com where they can print out a copy of their tax bill(s).

On Monday, November 3, the Tax Collector's Office will begin accepting 2014 property tax payments.

 

If paying:


BY MAIL - Please use the return envelope and make sure to mail the lower part of your notice form(s) to the Tax Collector's Office for validating when paying taxes.

ON-LINE - Go to www.PolkTaxes.com and follow the online payment directions.

IN PERSON -  Payments are accepted at the Tax Collector's Bartow Main Office, located at 430 E. Main Street; Lake Wales Service Center at 658 Highway 60, W.; and the new North Ridge Service Center, located at 2000 Deer Creek Commerce Lane in Davenport. 

In Lakeland, payments may be made at the Lakeland Service Center on 916 North Massachusetts Avenue.

 

For customer convenience, tax payments may also be placed in a DROP BOX provided inside the Winter Haven Tag Agency, located at 300 Avenue M, NW.

For maps to these locations or other information related to your property taxes, please visit the Tax Collector's web site www.PolkTaxes.com.

Beginning April 1, 2015, all unpaid property taxes for the 2014 tax year become delinquent.

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TAX COLLECTOR FOR POLK COUNTY EARNS AWARD

Receives Excellence in Financial Operations Designation

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, has earned the Excellence in Financial Operation Award, which is designation from the Florida Tax Collector’s, Inc., for excellence in the following areas:

  • Innovation & Automation
  • Annual Audit Report
  • Customer Focus
  • Budgeting

The award was made after a thorough review of criteria during the 2014 Florida Tax Collectors Fall Education Forum, which was held in September.



TAX COLLECTOR OFFICES MOVING; NEW POLICY

Tax Collector's Offices In Northeast Polk Are On The Move

The Tax Collector's Haines City Branch Office will be closed beginning Thursday, September 25. The Haines City Driver License Office will close at end of business Thursday, September 26. However limited Driver License services will still be available at Haines City Driver License Office location on Friday, September 25 through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles FLOW Mobile.

Both Tax Collector Offices will reopen on Monday, September 29 at one new location, the North Ridge Service Center.  The North Ridge Service Center is located at 2000 Deer Creek Commerce Lane, which faces US 27, just south of Interstate 4 in the Davenport area.

Tax Collector's Office Implements New Policy For Non-Residents Of Polk Seeking Driver License Services

In addition to opening a new office location, the Tax Collector’s Office has initiated a new policy for non-residents of Polk County seeking driver license services.  Non-residents of Polk County are first required to schedule a visit to the Tax Collector’s Office by obtaining a Guest Service Ticket.  Beginning Monday September 29, a Guest Service Ticket can be requested online at: www.PolkTaxes.com.



BUSINESS TAX RENEWAL DEADLINE REMINDER

County Business Tax Deadline is Tuesday, September 30

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ September 22, 2014

The Business Tax Renewal period ends Tuesday, September 30, for Polk’s business owners.Payments must be conducted in person, postmarked or transacted online on or before this date to avoid additional costs.

Tax Collector Joe Tedder is reminding the public thatanyone conducting business in Polk County must obtain a Business Tax Receipt, regardless of where the business is located or the size of the business.

Any businesses operating in Polk County without a county local business tax receipt should immediately contact the Tax Collector’s Office. Failure to timely renew or obtain an initial receipt will result in additional penalties and can also result in a criminal violation.

Businesses in Polk County must also display and make visible their current business tax receipt. The valid 2014-2015 county local business tax receipt which must be displayed ispinkin color.

Businesses that have not received a renewal package or need to obtain an application for a county local business tax receipt can go to the Tax Collector’s website, www.polktaxes.com, to renew online or to download an application. Business owners may also call (863) 534-4700 for additional information.  Renewal transactions and applications are also available at any one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers.

To report businesses operating in Polk County without a Business Tax Receipt, please telephone the Tax Collector's Toll Free Hotline at 1-866-687-8876.



AAA TO HOST BOOSTER SEAT EVENT IN LAKELAND

National Seat Check Saturday Sept. 20

WHO:  AAA’s Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Polk County Tax Collector Joe Tedder, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, All Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids Florida

WHAT: As part of Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 14 – 20, AAA’s Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation will provide children with new booster seats for a $10 suggested donation. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be onsite to educate parents and caregivers on proper installation. To qualify for a booster seat, the child must be present, be age 4 or older and weigh more than 40 pounds.

WHEN: 

Sept. 20, 2014
10 a.m. – noon

WHERE:

Polk County Tax Collector’s Office
916 North Massachusetts Avenue

Lakeland, Florida 33801

INTERVIEWS AND VISUALS:  Reporters will be able to interview certified child passenger safety experts and shoot footage of the event.

WHY: 

  • Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among childrenin the U.S., but many of these deaths can be prevented by placing children in age- and size-appropriate car seats and booster seats.
  • Beginning January 1, 2015, every motor vehicle operator in Florida will be required to use a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device for children who are 5 years old or younger.

AAA and the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation recommend that children who have outgrown their five-point harness car seat by weight or height use a booster seat until they reach 4’9” (typically between the ages of 8-12). A booster seat simply boosts a child up and allows for proper placement of the lap and shoulder belt, which is crucial for safety during a crash. Without a booster seat, safety belts cross over a child’s soft stomach and neck, which can lead to serious debilitating injuries. Use of booster seats can reduce injuries by 45 percent compared to using an adult safety belt alone.

FOR MORE INFO:

Chad McLeod, AAA – Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, cemcleod@aaasouth.com, 813-438-6657

Jennie Burton, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, jburton@polksheriff.org, 863-287-9850

About Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation

Established by AAA – The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACGTSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to producing a significant and continuous reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the communities targeted by its efforts. ACGTSF provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. ACGTSF is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support ACGTSF’s purpose.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 54 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.



BUSINESS TAX RENEWAL PERIOD ENDS SOON

County Business Tax Deadline is Tuesday, September 30

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ September 18, 2014

While fall marks the beginning of a new school season, fall football schedules, or perhaps new fiscal budgets, it also signals the Business Tax Renewal period, which ends Tuesday, September 30, for Polk’s business owners.Payments must be conducted in person, postmarked or transacted online on or before this date to avoid additional costs.

Tax Collector Joe Tedder is reminding the public thatanyone conducting business in Polk County must obtain a Business Tax Receipt, regardless of where the business is located or the size of the business.

Any businesses operating in Polk County without a county local business tax receipt should immediately contact the Tax Collector’s Office. Failure to timely renew or obtain an initial receipt will result in additional penalties and can also result in a criminal violation.

Businesses in Polk County must also display and make visible their current business tax receipt. The valid 2014-2015 county local business tax receipt which must be displayed ispinkin color.

Businesses that have not received a renewal package or need to obtain an application for a county local business tax receipt can go to the Tax Collector’s website, www.polktaxes.com, to renew online or to download an application. Business owners may also call (863) 534-4700 for additional information.  Renewal transactions and applications are also available at any one of the Tax Collector’s Service Centers.

To report businesses operating in Polk County without a Business Tax Receipt, please telephone the Tax Collector's Toll Free Hotline at 1-866-687-8876.



TAX COLLECTOR TAKES ALS CHALLENGE

The Tax Collector and his management team took the ALS Bucket Challenge recently. They opted for more than just a blast of ice cold water! See them get drenched on the Tax Collector's Facebook page!

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joe-G-Tedder-Tax-Collector-for-Polk-County/167028273341560



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED LABOR DAY

Tax Collector's Office Observes Monday, September 1 Holiday

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/August 27,2014 The Tax Collectors's Office is closed Monday, September 1, 2014 in observance of Labor Day. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, September 2.

The Tax Collector's Office wishes everyone a happy, safe Labor Day!

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TAX OFFICES TO BE BUSY DURING FIRST WEEK OF SEPTEMBER

Long Lines Expected Due To Motor Vehicle Registration Fees Rollback

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/August 13, 2014

If you are planning to visit a Tax Collector’s Office during the first week of September you might want to consider coming some other time.

Beginning in September, a roll back of vehicle registration fees will occur. As a result, individuals who normally would renew their vehicle registrations in August, prior to their birthdays (or vehicle registration expiration dates) in September, are expected to wait until the first week of September in order to take advantage of the reduced fees.

In addition to the fee decrease, the Labor Day holiday falls on September 1, which means that all government offices are closed on that day. Historically, the first few days following a holiday are usually very busy as many people seek to catch up after the holiday to conduct their business with the Tax Collector’s Office.

“If you don’t have to visit our offices that first week in September, we suggest that you wait a few days,” stated Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, “We expect to be very busy!”

Mail-in customers with September birthdays will see their registration renewals arriving in the mail during mid-August, later than usual, due to the rate change. The later mail date will benefit motorists, so they can take advantage of the lower fees, and help the Tax Collector’s Office avoid having to process any unnecessary fee adjustments associated with the rate change. September registration renewal payments that are mailed by motorists in August, will be held until September, in order to issue their decals at the new lower rate.

For more information, please visit PolkTaxes.com or call (863) 534-4700.



KIDS TAG ART KICKS OFF 9TH YEAR IN POLK COUNTY

Southern Homes Returns as Major Sponsor for 4th Year

Bartow, Florida / PR Free/ July 28, 2014

Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County recently presented a $34,293 check to the Polk County School Board, on behalf of Kids Tag Art, a 5th grade school art project created and hosted by the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County. This year’s total brings the total dollars this program has contributed to Polk County Schools over the past 8 years to $195,000. But, this does not include monies raised by over 8 other counties in Florida, whose tax collectors have gotten on the bandwagon with Kids Tag Art.

This total dollars represent the combined monies going to public schools as supplemental arts funding for the 2013-2014 school year, as well as monies earned by charter and private schools. To most schools, Kids Tag Art funding has been in excess of $500 per year, providing art teachers with sizable discretionary spending to enhance their art instruction and take on projects that wouldn't be possible otherwise. Some schools such as Chain of Lakes Elementary in Winter Haven have raised as much as $4,666 since the program first began in 2006. Teachers use these supplemental funds to afford classroom ipads, watercolor/acrylic paints and canvases, kilns and pottery wheels, as well as field trips and other supplies that engage students and teachers alike in creative self-expression.

Christie Bassett, Polk County’s Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the state award, who is also a fifth grade art teacher shares, “ My 5th grade students so look forward to competing in the Polk County Tax Collector’s Kids Tag Art competition and fundraiser each year. It’s awesome that two winners from our school are selected to have their artwork showcased on a traveling display. Not only does this program promote art enthusiasm in our school, but the students have the opportunity to purchase their artwork on a plastic card tag, magnet or keychain. The proceeds from their purchase go back to our school, resulting in over $2,500 being raised for our art program in the past six years!”

For the fourth year, Southern Homes of Polk County is the major sponsor. Southern Homes, a local home builder whose key market is first-time home buyers and growing families, sees a connection between young families and Kids Tag Art.

“Southern Homes is proud to support Joe Tedder and the Tax Collector’s Office Vision to provide our students with a positive first experience with local government, while contributing to and enhancing the< arts programs throughout Polk County,” said Greg Masters, Co-Founder of Southern Homes. “Kids Tag Art exposes students to a governmental process and encourages them to exercise their creativity -- it’s a win-win for our community and our students.”

Kids Tag Art inspires young artists in 5th grade to create their own unique design, learning the practical application of license plate art to support worthy causes, fashioned after Florida's 100+ specialty license plates. Parents and the public have the exclusive opportunity to purchase their child's design. In addition, two student designs from each participating school become part of a large mosaic exhibition of tag art which travels around the county during the remainder of the school year. The Kids Tag Art Exhibition, (a collection of the Awards of Distinction recipients for 2014), is free to the public and travels around to locations throughout Polk County. An exhibit calendar is available by visiting www.PolkTaxes.com and clicking on the Kids Tag Art button.

In addition to Southern Homes, other generous sponsors of Kids Tag Art this year include founding sponsors Douglass Screen Printers, Inc., Alphagraphics, Polk Education Foundation, Vecchio, Carrier and Feldman, P.A., along with MIDFLORIDA, LEGOLAND Florida, Florida Heart Research Institute, Grasslands & OakBridge, and Paint Along Studios. KTA partners and board members include Ashley Lane with Southern Homes of Polk County, Lane Hickey-Wiggins and Rossely Martinez with Douglass Screen Printers, Ellen Chastain with Polk Museum of Art, Meri Mass with Polk Arts Alliance, Stacy Mallard and Dr. Kym Cruz with Polk County Schools and Debby Thompson and Martha Roe Burke, with The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, who hosts the Kids Tag Art program.


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BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT TAX COLLECTOR CHECKS

PUBLIC SHOULD CONTINUE TO BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT TAX COLLECTOR CHECKS

The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County has been made aware that fraudulent checks have been mailed to individuals under the name of Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, Florida.  The address listed on these checks is 300 Avenue M, Northwest, Winter Haven or 916 North Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland.  Checks listing these addresses are not legitimate.  For more information, contact the Finance Department for the Tax Collector's Office at telephone (863) 534-4718.



DELINQUENT REAL ESTATE TAX NOTICES GO OUT

Notices To Be Mailed Out On July 31

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/July 14, 2014

The Tax Collector for Polk County announces that Delinquent Real Estate Tax Notices for all unpaid taxes are scheduled to be mailed on Thursday, July 31, 2014. The delinquent notices will include the August, September and October 2014 amounts owed.

Anyone receiving these statements or seeking information regarding this action should contact the Taxes Department of the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County immediately by calling (863) 534-4700.



TEACHER TIED TO TAX COLLECTOR OFFICE WINS FLORIDA TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Christie Bassett Is Florida's Teacher Of The Year

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/July 11, 2014

PictureChristie Bassett, a fifth grade teacher at Highlands Grove Elementary in Lakeland, walked away with $10,000, numerous prizes and the title of Macy's Florida Teacher of the Year for 2014.

The event was held at the Hard Rock Café in Orlando, where the five finalists were honored in a black-tie awards ceremony, with state officials present for the festivities.

Christie Bassett's mother is Terri Anne Crawford, Director of IT for the Tax Collector's Office.  She is also a strong proponent and participant in the Polk County Kids Tag Art program and was a guest speaker at the Awards of Distinction event this past year.
 
Here is a link to The Ledger article in today's paper: http://www.theledger.com/article/20140710/NEWS/140719987?tc=cr



COUNTY LOCAL BUSINESS TAX RENEWALS IN THE MAIL

New Businesses Should Contact A Local Tax Office To Comply

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ July 10, 2014

Tax Collector Joe Tedder reminds Polk County businesses that they must have a local business tax receipt if they are conducting business inside Polk County.

On July 1, 2014, the Polk County Tax Collector's Office mailed out county local business tax receipt renewal forms. Business tax receipt holders have until September 30, 2014 to renew their 2014/2015 county business tax receipts.

County local business tax receipts were formerly referred to as "occupational licenses" and should not be confused with municipal local business tax receipts. However, while municipal business tax receipts are required for anyone operating within certain city limits, the county local business receipt is required for all businesses operating inside the geographical subdivision known as Polk County.

Individuals and firms doing business in Polk County without a county local business tax receipt should immediately contact the Tax Collector's Office. Businesses that fail to timely renew or obtain a tax receipt are subject to additional penalties and the failure to comply can also result in a criminal violation.

To report businesses operating in Polk County without a county local business tax receipt, please telephone the Tax Collector's Toll Free Hotline at 1-866-OUR-TURN (1-866-687-8876) or send an email to econdev@polktaxes.com.

To make an online payment or for more information about county local business taxes, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR SERVICE CENTERS CLOSE FOR JULY FOURTH HOLIDAY

AREA OFFICES RE-OPEN ON MONDAY WITH NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ July 1, 2014

The Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County announces that all offices and call center will be closed for business on Friday, July 4, 2014. Normal operations will resume on Monday, July 7th.



STATE COMPUTER SYSTEM FRUSTRATES LOCAL TAX OFFICE

COMPUTER SYSTEM ISSUES CONTINUE TO SLOW MOTORIST SERVICES

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ July 1, 2014
 
It is not business as usual at the Tax Collector’s Office due to recent computer glitches in Tallahassee. Tax collector offices throughout the state, including Polk, provide motorist services, including driver licensing, as mandated by the Florida Legislature.  However, local tax collector offices throughout the state still rely on the statewide computer system provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)to conduct business and when the system is interrupted or goes down, wait times and customer service suffer.
 
“It is really frustrating for our staff,” stated Joe Tedder earlier today. “Our customer service specialists take great pride in meeting their customer’s needs.  Because of the State’s computer system issues, we are unable to meet customer expectations.  It has been a challenge for our staff and customers yesterday and today, but they are both handling it very well."
 
Tedder’s staff provides motorist services, including driver licensing, at their new Lakeland and Lake Wales Service Centers.  The Bartow Service Center provides motorist services, excluding driver licenses.  The Tax Collector’s Office currently operates two separate offices in Haines City; one for traditional transactions, such as vehicle registrations and titles, and the other office, which was previously operated by DMV, which still provides driver licenses services. This fall, a new North Ridge Service Center will open up on Highway 27 near I-4, replacing both Haines City offices.
 
As of 11:00 a.m. today, computer issues still existed.  There was no word from DHSMV on when their systems would be back up.  For more information, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



STATE DMV COMPUTER SLOWS DOWN

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles experienced problems with its computer system yesterday. High traffic on the system caused slowdowns statewide, including Polk County. For more information, visit the following link for an online news article.

http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/story/25908214/computer-woes-slow-business-at-drivers-license-offices



TAX COLLECTOR LAUNCHES NEW IMPROVED WEBSITE

ENHANCED SERVICES NOW AVAILABLE FOR TAXPAYERS

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ July 1, 2014

www.Polktaxes.com website enables customers, partners and other visitors to find what they need with greater ease.  For example, one feature of the redesigned site is the ability for visitors to have an optimal viewing experience regardless of the user’s device.  By using a responsive web design approach, the site adapts to the user’s environment such as the screen size on mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computer monitors. This provides easier reading and navigation with minimal resizing, panning or scrolling.

“We recognize that we live in an increasingly mobile world,” states Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County.  “People are busy and we want our customers to be able to conduct their business with us in whichever environment fits their needs. If a customer is at lunch and they want to check our lobby wait times on their phone before visiting one of our service centers, we want that experience to be pleasant, quick and easy.”

The new website format still offers all the online features and services that local motorists, business owners and property taxpayers have come to know.  New items include improved search capabilities, easy to navigate dropdown menus, an expanded news feed view and the ability for online visitors to take a survey to let us know how they like doing business with our office online.

In addition to the updated design, the new website includes an exciting new feature related to tourist development taxes.  Now, those seeking to submit tourist development tax returns and payments online can do so using an e-check, debit or credit card, creating a streamlined process for the customer and the Tax Collector’s Office. (Note: Those submitting an online tourist development tax return and paying by way of an e-check will not be charged a convenience fee.)

For more information, please go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY TAX DELINQUENCY RATE CONTINUES POSITIVE DOWNWARD TREND

Tax Collector Concludes 2013 Tax Certificate Sale

BARTOW, Florida/ PR Free/ June 23, 2014

On June 1, 2014, the Tax Collector's Office held their annual real property tax certificate sale. This sale is held online every year, to clean up the delinquent tax rolls by selling unpaid back taxes as tax certificates to willing investors who receive interest for paying off the delinquent taxes owed.

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports that, from a total real estate tax roll of $423,087,315 at the beginning of the tax year, $17,144,545 went unpaid and was offered up for tax certificates on June 1, 2014. Of this, 12,978 tax certificates were sold, for a total of $15,625,078 delinquent taxes collected, representing 91.1% of the unpaid balance of taxes owed, at an average interest rate to investors of 2.83%, a savings to those property owners with outstanding taxes still owing.

The 4.05% delinquency rate for the 2013 tax season, computed prior to the tax certificate sale, continues a downward trend in delinquency since 2005, from a low then of 3.3% to a high in 2008 of 7.41%.

At the conclusion of the online tax certificate sale, $1,519,467 in delinquent tax certificates remained unsold, compared to $1,821,439 a year ago. For the 2013 tax year, the total real estate tax roll collected, including the tax certificate sale was $421,567,848, representing a 99.64% collection rate.

On July 1, 2014, these county-held tax certificates will be open for review at www.polkfl.realtaxlien.com and will be available to purchase beginning on July 2, 2014.

For more information, please go to www.polktaxes.com

Year Delinquency Rate
2004 3.86%
2005 3.33%
2006 4.61%
2007 6.49%
2008 7.41%
2009 6.60%
2010 5.65%
2011 5.34%
2012 4.73%
2013 4.05%



PUBLIC SHOULD BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT TAX COLLECTOR CHECKS

The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County has been made aware that fraudulent checks have been mailed to individuals under the name of Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, Florida.  The address listed on these checks is 300 Avenue M, Northwest, Winter Haven.  Checks listing this address are not legitimate.  For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



2013 DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX CERTIFICATES GO UP FOR SALE

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reminds property owners that 2013 real estate taxes not paid by 5:00 PM on Friday, May 30 are subject to a Tax Certificate Sale. A Tax Certificate is a lien on property created by payment of the delinquent taxes due. It is not a purchase of property.

On Sunday morning, June 1, 2014, all unpaid taxes will be placed up for auction through the Tax Collector's annual online Tax Certificate Sale. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 26. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service.



MARCH 31ST IS TAX DEADLINE

Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Tax Collector for Polk County, advises taxpayers who have not yet paid their 2013 property taxes, to consider mailing in their property tax payments.  Next Monday, March 31 is the deadline for payment of 2013 real estate and tangible personal property taxes and Tedder notes that it may be one of the busiest days in the Tax Collector offices with possible long wait times.

"The end of the month is always a busy day in our offices," Tedder states, "and now with our offices serving driver license customers and continuing to serve those individuals needing to renew their registrations, we are reminding the public that there are multiple ways to conduct their transaction without having to visit our offices."

This year, because the annual tax deadline falls on Monday, March 31, many families will be returning home from the spring break holiday and rushing to get their payments made by month-end.  Taxpayers have the option of making payments in person, online or by mail.  However, mail-in payments must be postmarked and online payments must be made on or before Monday, March 31, 2014.

For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



1% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS ON 28TH

Friday is the last day to receive a discount for property tax payments, the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County announced today. To qualify for a 1% property tax discount, taxpayers have the following options:

Mail in their payment with a postmark recorded on or before Friday, February 28;
Make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before midnight on Friday, February 28; or,
Visit one of Tax Collector's Service Centers on or before 5:00 PM on Friday, February 28, and pay in person.

For more information, including locations and customer wait times, go to www.PolkTaxes.com.



2% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS ON JANUARY 31

Friday is the last day to receive a 2% discount for property tax payments, the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County announced today. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR RECOGNIZED FOR KIDS TAG ART

Recently, Joe Tedder was recognized for his community leadership in the arts, by the Florida Heart Research Institute, sponsor of the Heart Smart Art Awards, an event for the popular Kids Tag Art Program that the tax office hosts. Pictured with Joe Tedder is Sallie Byrd, Senior VP of Development and Oscar Flores,(right) from the Florida Heart Research Institute, and Stephen Koury (left), world renown wildlife artist and guest speaker for this event. For more info, including a link to Stephan Koury's website, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



KIDS TAG ART HOSTS THIRD ANNUAL HEART SMART ART AWARDS

This past Saturday, January 18 was Heart Smart Art Day at Polk Museum of Art, where Joe Tedder's Kids Tag Art program teamed up with Miami-based Florida Heart Research Institute to recognize heart-healthy designs as part of this year's countywide drawing contest.   Ten talented fifth graders and their families were recognized for their creative heart-healthy design at the 3rd Annual Heart Smart Art Recognition Ceremony and Reception, hosted by The Florida Heart Research Institute of Miami, the sole sponsor of this event and the only one of its kind in the State.  Sallie Byrd, Senior Vice President of Development at FHRI, presented each student with their tag art, a FHRI key chain and a certificate of achievement.  The top three designs received their artwork framed in glass along with a small cash award. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY OWNERS SAVE BIG BY PAYING EARLY

Tax Collector Joe Tedder encourages property taxpayers to pay early and save, stating "During the busy holiday period, we encourage taxpayers to mail in their payments, take advantage of the early payment discounts and avoid the rush.  Taxpayers have until December 31 to receive a 3 percent discount. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR NOW PROVIDING DRIVER LICENSE SERVICES IN NEW LAKELAND OFFICE

The Tax Collector's Office announces that effective Monday, December 9, 2013, all driver license services for Lakeland are now being provided by the Tax Collector's Service Center located at 916 N. Massachusetts Avenue. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY TAXES DUE - 4% DISCOUNT DEADLINE IS NOV. 30

The Tax Collector's Office reminds property owners that Saturday, November 30 is the last day to take advantage of the maximum 4% discount awarded to taxpayers who chose to make payment within the first month that property taxes are due. To earn this discount, payments must be postmarked or conducted online on or before November 30. Taxpayers may also pay in person on Monday, December 2 at one of the Tax Collector's Service Center locations. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



KIDS TAG ART ANNOUNCES 2013 AWARDS OF DISTINCTION

Kids Tag Art, a countywide art design contest and fundraising project exclusively for fifth graders, announces the 2013-2014 award-winning designs which are now on sale to the public. "This year's 5th graders have created terrific works of art and everyone in Polk County can show their pride by ordering a Kids Tag," stated Tax Collector Joe Tedder. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR OFFICE MOVES IN LAKELAND

In Lakeland, the Tax Collector Service Center has moved beginning November 12, 2013. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY TAX BILLS GO OUT

Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder reports that the 2013 property tax notices to all of Polk County's property owners have been mailed. Property owners who do not receive their property tax notice(s) by Thursday, November 14 should contact the Tax Collector's Office. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



LAKELAND TAX COLLECTOR SERVICE CENTER MOVING

The Tax Collector's Lakeland Service Center will be closed beginning Thursday, November 7, through Veteran's Day, November 11, and will reopen at its new location on Tuesday, November 12 at 916 North Massachusetts Ave. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAG ART GOES ON SALE TO PUBLIC NOVEMBER 15

Support Kids Tags Art!  Decorate Your Car’s Front Bumper For The Holidays And Support Classroom Art! For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



TAX COLLECTOR RECEIVES CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

The Office of Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector recently received a Certificate of Merit from the Florida Tax Collectors (FTC) Association for achieving a clean financial audit. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



DRIVER LICENSE HANDBOOKS AVAILABLE ONLINE

Tell all your friends and family looking to get a driver license booklet that Florida's Tax Collectors have launched a new website to help citizens obtain their driver's license booklet. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



BANK WIRE INSTRUCTIONS HAVE CHANGED

Anyone seeking to conduct a wire tranfer for payment of property taxes to the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, Floirda, should access and review the new wire instructions avaialble at www.PolkTaxes.com.



COUNTY BUSINESS TAX DEADLINE NEARS

If you have not renewed your county business tax receipt with the Polk County Tax Collector's Office this year, you only have until the end of September to renew timely. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



POLK LEADERSHIP CLASS VII KICK-OFF

Polk Vision welcomed the members of Leadership Polk Class VII at the Polk Vision Annual Meeting on Thursday, August 30, 2013. The class participants represent a cross-section of unique, talented and highly qualified professionals from Polk County businesses, government entities and non-profit organizations. For more info,



ADDITION TO TAX COLLECTOR HISTORY

The image of Enoch Everett Mizell, along with his wife, Martha Bryant Mizell (see below), was made available to the Tax Collector's Office by the Kathleen Area Historical Society. The original photo belongs to Mae Wilder Wiggins, a life-long Providence community resident. The Tax Collector's Office thanks the Kathleen Area Historical Society and their President, Lois Sherrouse-Murphy, President, for their contribution to our historical record. To see more about past Polk County Tax Collectors, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED ON LABOR DAY

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Monday, September 2, 2013 in observance of Labor Day. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



"JOE WANTS TO KNOW" CUSTOMER SURVEY CLOSES

Sharon Bartle from Lakeland was the lucky winner of the $100 Publix Gift Card for completing a customer satisfaction survey for the Tax Collector's Office recently. Over 3,500 participants, at an 18% response rate, answered an email sent out by Joe Tedder to taxpayers, asking for constructive feedback on customer service standards and opportunities for performance improvement. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



JOE WANTS TO KNOW!

The Tax Collector's Office announces a customer survey that is being sent out to taxpayers in Polk County, inviting them to provide feedback on services provided to the public through the various Tax Collector Service Centers, through mail or phone, or through transactions provided over their website.   All taxpayers are invited to participate. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



COUNTY HELD CERTIFICATE SALE TO COMMENCE

Current investors and the general public are able to view remaining tax certificates (County Held certificates) and will also be able to make purchases beginning Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.  For more info, visit www.Polktaxes.com.



INDEPENDENCE DAY CLOSING INFORMATION

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed Thursday, July 4th in observance of the Independence Day Holiday. We will resume regular business hours on Friday, July 5th.  for more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY TAX DELINQUENCY RATE CONTINUES DECLINE

On June 1, 2013, the Tax Collector's Office held their annual real property tax certificate sale.  This sale is held online every year, to clean up the delinquent tax rolls by selling tax certificates to willing investors who receive interest for paying off the delinquent taxes owed. For the 2012 tax year only 4.73% of the real property tax roll was delinquent at the beginning of the tax sale, down from 5.34% a year ago.  This year's delinquency rate was the lowest since 2005. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 27. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



2012 DELINQUENT PROPERTY TAX CERTIFICATES GO UP FOR SALE

Joe G. Tedder,Tax Collector for Polk County, reminds property owners that 2012 real estate taxes not paid by 5:00 PM on May 31 are subject to a Tax Certificate Sale.  A Tax Certificate is a lien on property created by payment of the delinquent taxes due. It is not a purchase of property. On Saturday morning, June 1, 2013, all unpaid taxes will be placed up for auction through the Tax Collector’s annual online Tax Certificate Sale. The Lakeland Ledger will publish the tax certificate listings three times this month: May 13, 20 and 27. Registration to participate in the Tax Certificate Sale ends on May 29 and the bidding process runs through June 1, 2013.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



KIDS TAG ART MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Kids Tag Art, a 5th grade school art project created by the Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, celebrated its seventh year with a $32,828 check presented to the Polk County School Board, by Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder at their board meeting earlier this month.  This total represents the combined monies going to public schools as supplemental arts funding for the 2012-2013 school year.  The cumulative seven-year total has now grown to $156,957, which includes dollars generated for private and charter schools as well, according to Tedder's office. For infor, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



DONATE LIFE MONTH

The Tax Collector's Office has it's own Donate Life connection! Click on the following link to see the video...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTQ3mG4u_us&list=HL1362426100&feature=mh_lolz



SUNDAY, MARCH 31 IS TAX DEADLINE

Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Polk County Tax Collector, advises taxpayers to avoid the rush and pay their 2012 property taxes before the end of this month.   Tedder's office reminds property owners that the deadline for payment of 2012 real estate and tangible personal property taxes is this coming Sunday, March 31, 2013.  For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TCPC ACCEPTING PROPOSALS

The Tax Collector for Polk County (TCPC) is currently accepting proposals related to Banking and Treasury Management Services. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the Banking and Treasury Management Services Request for Proposal, please contact Ruth Teate at RuthTeate@PolkTaxes.com. Please note there is a Mandatory Pre-Proposal Meeting at 10 am on Monday, March 25, 2013 at the Tax Collector's Office Bartow, FL and an RSVP is required.



TEAM POLKIE SCORES POINTS WITH KIDS!

Lights, Camera, Action!  As Joe Tedder, Tax Collector, approached the podium and began speaking, a hush fell across the audience as excited fifth graders squirmed in their chairs and parents jockeyed for the best seat in the house to witness their child's award presentation. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS DAY

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office will be closed on Monday, February 18, 2013 in observance of Presidents Day. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



NEW LAKELAND TAX COLLECTOR OFFICE IN WORKS

The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County has finalized its plans for a new Lakeland Customer Service Center at 916 N Massachusetts Ave. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



TAX DEED APPLICATION PERIOD NEARS

Beginning April 1, 2013, tax certificate holders who hold a tax lien on delinquent 2010 real estate taxes may initiate the Tax Deed Application process. This process will result in the properties being sold at public auction.  To prevent this course of action, owners may make payment on delinquent 2010 real estate taxes now. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR HOSTS SMART ART

Friday, January 18, 2013 was Heart Smart Art Day at the Tax Collector's Office in Bartow, Florida. Teaming up with Miami-based Florida Heart Research Institute for the second year, the Kids Tag Art program hosted a reception with Sallie Byrd and Staci Ehrenkrantz of FHRI to recognize student art achievement. Kids Tag Art, a program hosted by the Polk County Tax Collector's Office, in conjunction with major sponsor Southern Homes, presented its Heart Smart Art Awards to three young local artists. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



CLOSED FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

The Tax Collector's Office, along with other local, state and federal government offices, is closed Monday, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, January 22. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



CUSTOMER EXPECTATION SURVEY COMPLETED

In November of last year, the Tax Collector’s Office for Polk County, Florida held a customer expectation survey, to check in with the taxpayers to better understand their service expectations.  Over 4,000 respondents participated and those who did were eligible for a drawing for a $100 Publix gift card that Tax Collector Joe Tedder personally contributed to the project.  For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR TAKES OATH

In a ceremony conducted at the Historic Courthouse (Polk Historical Museum) in Bartow, Joe G. Tedder was again sworn in as the Tax Collector for Polk County, Florida. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED NEW YEAR'S DAY

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Tuesday, January 1, 2013 for New Year's Day. We will resume regualr business hours on Wednesday, January 2, 2013. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



END OF YEAR TAX DEADLINES NEAR

Monday, December 31 will be a busy day at the Tax Collector's Office.  That's because it is the last day to make payment and receive a 3 percent property tax discount.  It is also the last day to renew mobile home, heavy truck or commercial vehicle registrations.  All vehicle registrations and decals that expire on December 31 are subject to law enforcement citations beginning on Tuesday, January 1, 2013. For more info visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR CHRISTMAS

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 for Christmas. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business hours on Wednesday, December 26.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



NOVEMBER TAX DISCOUNTS SAVES POLK PROPERTY OWNERS MILLIONS

A four percent November discount motivated taxpayers to pay their Polk property taxes early last month, saving $14 million in early payment discounts. Taxpayers have until December 31 to receive a 3 percent discount. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



FRIDAY IS DEADLINE TO RECEIVE 4% DISCOUNT

The Tax Collector's Office reminds property owners that Friday, November 30 is the last day to take advantage of the maximum 4% discount awarded to taxpayers who chose to make payment within the first month that property taxes are due. To earn this discount, payments must be postmarked or conducted online on or before November 30. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office is closed Thursday, November 22, and Friday November 23, for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Monday, November 26. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



ONLINE SALES FOR KIDS TAG ART OPENS

Can't think of the right gift for your teacher this year? What about a Kids Tag Art vanity tag for his or her front car bumper? KIds Tag Art is now being offered for sale online, at www.PolkTaxes.com. Orders placed by December 3 will be delivered in time for the holidays. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED MONDAY FOR VETERANS DAY

The Tax Collector's Office for Polk County, Florida will be closed on Monday, November 12, in observance of Veterans Day (which falls on Sunday, November 11).  The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, November 13. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



2012 TAX BILLS ARE IN THE MAIL

Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder reports that 2012 property tax notices to Polk County's property owners are being mailed out on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. "Property owners should be receiving their bills in the mail this week," says Tedder. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR RECEIVES CERTIFICATE OF MERIT

The Office of Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector is one of only four of Florida's 67 tax collector office to earn a special designation for excellence in the field of financial operations. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



COUNTY BUSINESS TAX DEADLINE NEARS

If you have not renewed your county business tax receipt with the Polk County Tax Collector's Office this year, you only have until the end of September to renew timely. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED ON LABOR DAY

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Monday, September 3, 2012 in observance of Labor Day. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE SEEKING ENFORCEMENT COORDINATOR-ATTORNEY

Tax Collector's Office Seeking Enforcement Coordinator-Attorney (Position ID: 77). Description Summary: Direct enforcement efforts related to delinquent tourist development tax accounts, tangible personal property tax accounts, county local business tax accounts and mobile home registrations. Ensure the interest of the Tax Collector’s Office is protected in bankruptcy cases. Represent the Tax Collector in cases concerning the collection of current and delinquent taxes. Performs investigations related to specified tax accounts determining if the Tax Collector should pursue criminal and/or civil charges. Monitors subject criminal and/or civil cases for the Tax Collector. Represent the Tax Collector’s delinquent collections efforts in a courteous and professional manner. EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE: Law school graduate that has been admitted to the Florida Bar.



DISABLED PARKING PERMIT REQUIREMENTS TO CHANGE

If you have a blue permanent disabled parking permit, you need to be aware of the new requirements put in place by Florida lawmakers. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles are implementing these new legal requirements now.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



COUNTY HELD CERTIFICATE SALE COMMENCES

Beginning Monday, July 16, 2012 at 8:00 a.m., current investors and the general public will again be able to view remaining tax certificates (County Held certificates) and will be able to make purchases beginning Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 8:00 a.m.For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



COUNTY LOCAL BUSINESS TAX RENEWALS IN THE MAIL

Tax Collector Joe Tedder reminds Polk County businesses that they must have a local business tax receipt if they are conducting business inside Polk County.  On July 1, 2012, the Polk County Tax Collector's Office mailed out 39,280 county local business tax receipt renewal forms. Business tax receipt holders have until September 30, 2012 to renew their 2012/2013 county business tax receipts. for more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



INDEPENDENCE DAY CLOSING INFORMATION

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed Wednesday, July 4th in observance of the Independence Day Holiday. We will resume regular business hours on Thursday, July 5th. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



LAKE WALES DRIVER LICENSE SERVICES RESUMES ROAD TESTING

With the weather conditions returning to normal, driver licensing in the Lake Wales office has resumed its road testing services. All other services in the Tax Collector Service Centers throughout the county are also open and available.. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



LAKE WALES SUSPENDS ROAD TESTING TEMPORARILY

The public is advised that, due to weather conditions today, road testing for driver licensing in the Lake Wales office is temporarily suspended. All other services in the Tax Collector Service Centers throughout the county are still open and available today. As conditions warrant, more information will be forthcoming. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY TAX DELINQUENCY CONTINUES TO DECLINE

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, reports that all but 12,607 tax certificates were sold in the real property tax certificate sale which was held online June 1, 2012. This year, only 5.34% of the real property tax roll was delinquent at the beginning of the tax sale, representing $22,799,229 of the total tax roll of $427,244,151, which was down .32% from last year's delinquency rate of 5.65%. This year's delinquency rate is the lowest since 2006. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TWO STUDENTS HONORED FOR THEIR ART

Kids Tag Art, a 5th grade school art project created by the Polk County Tax Collector's Office will be honoring two fifth grade students this week for their artwork.  These awards will coincide with the fifth grade graduation ceremonies and are an annual surprise recognition for students who's artwork best reflected the special award themes.  Both ceremonies begin at 9:30 a.m. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED MONDAY FOR MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 28. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com



TAX CERTIFICATES GO UP FOR BID

Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder, CFC, reminds property owners who have still not paid their 2011 real estate taxes that 5:00 PM on May 31 is the last possible day to pay those taxes before incurring additional interest and fees.  On June 1, 2012, unpaid taxes will be sold through the Tax Collector's annual Tax Certificate Sale. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TOURIST DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY HOSTS SPRING SEMINAR

The Polk County Tax Collector Office's Tourist Development Academy met Wednesday at the Polk County Sheriff's Headquarters in Winter Haven for a half day seminar devoted to vacation home owners and management companies.  This program is part of the compliance outreach initiatives sponsored by the Tax Collector's Office, which administers the tourist development tax in Polk County. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



ART PROGRAM DONATES $33,507 IN RECORD-BREAKING 6TH YEAR

Kids Tag Art, a 5th grade school art project created by the Polk County Tax Collector's Office, recently presented the Polk County School Board with a check for $30,108, bringing their combined total proceeds to $115,420 in the six years since the program’s inception. This year, with Southern Homes of Polk County as their major sponsor, Kids Tag Art has broken records for the highest yearly donation as well as exceeding $100,000 in total classroom arts support. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



PROPERTY TAX INSTALLMENT PLAN EASES TAX BURDEN

Joe G. Tedder reminds property owners that April 30 is the deadline for applying for the 2012 Property Tax Installment Program.  If you prefer to pay your property taxes in quarterly payments, you have until the end of the month to register with the tax office.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



FREE FRESHWATER FISHING!

Take advantage of license-free fishing on saturday, April 7. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) scheduled a license-free recreational fishing day on this holiday weekend so more people will have the chance to get out and try their luck. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



SATURDAY, MARCH 31 IS PROPERTY TAX DEADLINE

The Tax Collector reminds property owners that the deadline for payment of 2011 real estate and tangible personal property taxes is Saturday, March 31, 2012. However, because the deadline this year falls on a Saturday, taxpayers who have delayed making their payment  will be able to pay in person on Monday, April 2, 2012 until 5:00 pm without incurring a penalty. Mail payments must be postmarked and online payments must be made on or before March 31, 2012. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



LAKE WALES TAX COLLECTOR OFFICES CLOSE TEMPORARILY

Joe G. Tedder, CFC, Polk County Tax Collector, alerts taxpayers and the motoring public that the Lake Wales Tax Collector Branch Office and the Driver License Office will both close on Thursday and Friday, March 22 and 23, 2012.  A combined Tax Collector Service Center office will re-open on Monday, March 26, 2012 next door to the existing offices, at 658 State Road 60 West, in Lake Wales. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



SEE YOUR WAY TO A PREVENT BLINDNESS DONATION

Prevent Blindness Florida, an affiliate of Prevent Blindness America, is a non-profit organization offering over 50 years of vision education and services. Prevent Blindness Florida's focus is promoting a lifetime of healthy vision care through advocacy, education, screening and research. You can help Prevent Blindness Florida by donating when you renew your vehicle registration and driver license.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR OFFICES CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS DAY

On Monday, February 20, 2012, Tax Collector offices throughout Polk County will be closed for business.  Only the American Legion Tag Agency in Winter Haven will be open for motor vehicle transactions.  Offices will reopen on Tuesday, February 21, 2012. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX EXEMPTION FILING DEADLINE APPROACHES

Property owners must file for tax exemptions or for agriculture classification by March 1 at the Property Appraiser's Office. Available tax exemptions include homestead, portability, widow, widower, disability, veterans, deployed military, senior (over 65), conservation, religious, and charitable. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



2% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT ENDS TUESDAY

The Tax Collector reminds taxpayers that the 2% property tax discount is still available to taxpayers through January 31.  
To qualify for the 2% property tax discount, taxpayers have the following options: Mail in their payment with a post mark recorded on or before January 31; Make an online payment at www.PolkTaxes.com on or before January 31; or, Visit one of Tax Collector's Branch Offices on or before 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 31, and pay in person. For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR HOSTS LOCAL ARTIST!

At noon on Friday, January 27, 2012, Kids Tag Art, a program hosted by the Polk County Tax Collector's Office, in conjunction with the Florida Heart Research Institute, will present its Heart Smart Art Awards to young local artists.  Stephen Koury, renowned local artist, will be the special guest of Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder for this event.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



KIDS TAG ART SPONSOR HONORS 5 STUDENTS

Southern Homes of Polk County recently announced the finalists for their Kids Tag Art "Home Sweet Home" special award. For more information about this news or the Kids Tag Art Program, including how to purchase your favorite Kids Tag Art tag, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



CLOSED FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

The Tax Collector's Office, along with other local, state and federal government offices, is closed Monday, January 16 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Tuesday, January 17.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR HAS EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Are you interested in a career opportunity or a part-time position?  Does the idea of helping people appeal to you?  If so, the Tax Collector's Office is looking for someone just like you to help us provide the best in customer services.  For more information, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



WALK-IN DISCOUNT AVAILABLE JANUARY 3

Property taxpayers seeking to to qualify for the 3% property tax discount may visit one of the Tax Collector's Branch Offices on or before 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 3, to pay 2011 property taxes in person.  For more information, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



END OF YEAR INFORMATION

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed on Monday, January 2, for New Year's. Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Due to December 31st falling on Saturday, the end-of-the-year will be a busy time at the Tax Collector's Office. That's when deadlines for a 3% property tax discount, mobile home, and heavy-truck registration renewals are due. Customers wishing to make payments before the year-end deadlines should visit www.PolkTaxes.com for more information.



TAX COLLECTOR HONORED WITH COMMUNITY ARTS AWARD

Joe Tedder was recognized on behalf of Kids Tag Art and Polk County Schools by the Polk Arts Alliance, Inc. (PAA), Polk County’s official Local Arts Agency, at their 5th Annual Community Arts Recognition Program (CARP) Awards on December 15th. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



HOLIDAY CLOSINGS AFFECT DECEMBER TAX DEADLINES

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed for Christmas on Friday, December 23, and Monday, December 26. The office will also be closed on Monday, January 2, for New Year's. Normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Due to December 31st falling on Saturday, the end-of-the-year will be a busy time at the Tax Collector's Office. That's when deadlines for a 3% property tax discount, mobile home, and heavy-truck registration renewals are due. Customers wishing to make payments before the year-end deadlines should visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



CONSIDER ORGAN DONATION WHEN RENEWING DRIVER LICENSES

Residents needing to renew drivers licenses may wish to consider the voluntary check-off as an organ donor. Drivers may opt for this tissue donation status both through the online renewal process or in person at any drivers license office at no additional cost. For more info visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



NOVEMBER 30TH IS DEADLINE TO RECEIVE 4% PROPERTY TAX DISCOUNT

The Tax Collector reminds property owners that Wednesday is the last day to take advantage of the 4% discount. Payments must be postmarked or conducted online on or before November 30 to receive the discount rate. Taxpayers may also pay in person by Wednesday at one of the Tax Collector's Branch Office locations, to take advantage of the maximum discount. Payments postmarked after the November 30 deadline will not qualify for the 4% rate. Discount rates decrease one percentage point each month until March, at which time the full tax amount is due. Property tax bills become delinquent after March 31. For more info, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED THURSDAY & FRIDAY FOR THANKSGIVING

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office is closed Thursday, November 24, and Friday November 25, for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular office hours on Monday, November 28.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!



KIDS’ TAG ART NOW ON SALE TO THE PUBLIC

Kids Tag Art, a countywide art design contest and fundraising project exclusively for fifth graders, announces the 2011-2012 award-winning designs which are now on sale to the public. "This year’s art work is outstanding. Warhol and Dali have nothing on these fifth graders in Polk County,” commented Tax Collector Joe Tedder.  For more information or to order a Kids' Tag Art design, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



CLOSED FOR VETERANS DAY

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Friday, November 11, 2011 in observance of Veterans Day. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business hours on Monday, November 14.  The Tax Collector's Office is proud to commemorate the legacy of profound service and sacrifice of our nation's veterans. For more info, please visit www.PolkTaxes.com



ADVERSE POSSESSION LEGISLATION

The Ledger reports that Polk's Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Legislative Delegation Member are seeking to change adverse possession laws to better protect regular property owners from a quirky property taking measure.



PROPERTY TAX INSTALLMENT PLAN DEADLINE

The deadline to register for the installment property tax payment method is April 30.



STORM IMPACTS HAINES CITY OFFICE OPERATIONS

Due to a severe weather event, the Tax Collector's Haines City Service Center has temporarily lost some electronic systems. Presently, customers are able to have their motor vehicle transactions, such as vehicle registration renewals and title transfers, etc., regularly processed. However, customers seeking property tax and business tax payments may be issued manual payment transaction reciepts. Thank you for your patience!



TAX DEED SALES GO ONLINE

The Ledger reports that online tax deed sales will be offered online beginning April 21.



BUSINESS TAX RENEWALS MAILED OUT

On July 1, 2011, the Polk County Tax Collector's Office mailed out 40,612 county local business tax Receipt renewal forms. Business tax receipt holders have until September 30, 2011 to renew their 2011/2012 county business tax receipts.



PROPERTY TAX BILLS IN THE MAIL

Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder reports that the 2011 property tax notices to all of Polk County's property owners are being mailed out on October 29.  "Property owners should be looking for their bills in the mail very soon," says Tedder. "We make every effort to inform taxpayers that their taxes are due regardless of whether they receive their bill.  Florida law clearly places the burden of responsibility for payment of taxes on the property owner.  So, every year we remind taxpayers to contact our offices if they do not receive their bill."



TALK'N TRASH

The Tourist Development Academy hosted its Fall Forum on Thursday, September 29, 2011 in the multipurpose room of the Polk County Land Fill corporate offices in Winter Haven.  The topic of the forum was to discuss the current garbage pick-up issues affecting managers of vacation rental homes in Polk. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com



TAX COLLECTOR PRESENTS ISSUES TO LEGISLATORS

Joe G. Tedder met with members of the Polk County Legislative Delegation yesterday, as well as the Board of County Commissioners and their staff, to discuss issues related to Driver Licenses and Tourist Development Taxes. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



COUNTY BUSINESS TAX DEADLINE NEARS

If you have not renewed your county business tax receipt with the Polk County Tax Collector's Office this year, you have until the end of this month to renew timely. Joe G. Tedder reminds local business owners that those who have not renewed their 2011-2012 county local business tax receipt by September 30 are delinquent and will face additional penalties. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



COUNTY LOCAL BUSINESS TAX REMINDERS IN THE MAIL

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office has recently mailed out post card reminders to county local business tax account holders who have not yet renewed their annual tax receipts. The deadline to renew 2011/2012 county business tax receipts is September 30, 2011. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED LABOR DAY

The Tax Collector's Office is closed Monday, September 5, 2011 in observance of Labor Day. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL FOR FINANCIAL AUDIT

The Tax Collector's office is seeking a qualified CPA firm to perform financial statement audits for the years ending September 30, 2011, 2012 and 2013. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



VACATION HOME RENTAL WEBINAR A HIT!

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, Florida, hosted a Tourist Development Academy Webinar yesterday afternoon entitled, "Protecting Your Florida Property From Government An Interactive Educational Webinar For Absentee Homeowners." The purpose of the webinar was to reach out to overseas homeowners to help them better understand how they can protect themselves from government by being informed about the rules, regulations and business practices related to vacation homeownership. Approximately 422 persons viewed the webinar from around the world. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



TEDDER: STATE OFFICIALS SHOULD TAKE ACTION

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, Florida, issued a letter to the Governor and other state officials on June 21, 2011, expressing his concern about their inaction regarding online travel companies, such as Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity, which are failing to pay the full amount of sales and tourist development taxes on their bookings. He argued that this is money owed to the citizens of Polk County and the State of Florida. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas agrees. For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



INDEPENDENCE DAY CLOSING INFORMATION

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office will be closed Monday, July 4th in observance of the Independence Day Holiday. The Tax Collector's Office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, July 5th.

TAX CERTIFICATES STILL HOT IN POLK COUNTY

At the conclusion of the 2011 Tax Certificate Sale, Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder said, "Polk County continues to do well when it comes to investors betting their money on Polk County's unpaid property taxes. Because of that the interest rates our late taxpayers pay are less burdensome." Tedder further stated, "We are also happy to report at the conclusion of the Tax Certificate Sale we have collected over 99.28% of the tax roll." For more information visit www.PolkTaxes.com.

TEDDER FRUSTRATED WITH STATE OFFICIALS

Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, Florida, issued a letter to the Governor and other state officials criticizing their inaction regarding online travel companies, such as Orbits, Expedia and Travelocity. To view the letter visit www.PolkTaxes.com.

SERVICES RESTORED IN LAKE WALES

The Tax Collector's Office reports that it has restored services in its Lake Wales offices. On the night of Wednesday, June 15th, a severe lightning and thunder storm in the Lake Wales area knocked out power and equipment at the local Tax Collector's Offices. Driver license operations, vehicle registration and title transactions, as well as business tax and hunting and fishing license services were affected.



SERVICES TEMPORARILY OUT IN LAKE WALES

On the night of Wednesday, June 15th, a severe lightning and thunder storm in the Lake Wales area knocked out power and equipment at the local Tax Collector's Offices. Driver license operations, vehicle registration and title transactions, as well as business tax and hunting and fishing license services are affected. Customers in the Lake Wales area seeking driver licenses are directed to the state's driver license offices in Haines City and Lakeland. All other customers are directed to the Tax Collector's Offices in Bartow, Haines City and Lakeland. For the latest status on the Tax Collector's Lake Wales offices, visit www.PolkTaxes.com.



DIXIELAND STUDENT GETS CHOICE AWARD

Gabriela Vazquez, a fifth grade student at Dixieland Elementary School, was named as the latest recipient of the Tax Collector Choice Award.

NEW ADVERSE POSSESSION LAW

Polk County Tax Collector, Property Appraiser and Legislative Delegation Member sought to change adverse possession laws to better protect regular property owners from a quirky property taking measure. Governor Scott has signed the measure into law.

TAX CERTIFICATE SALE ENDS

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office reports that its annual property tax certificate sale, held on June 1, 2011, ended at 4:30 PM on the same day.

JUNE FISH AND WILDLIFE HAPPENINGS IN POLK

The Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) is holding several events in Polk County this month.

TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED ON MEMORIAL DAY

The Tax Collector's Office will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 30. Our office will resume regular business hours on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. The Tax Collector's Office is proud to observe Memorial Day, which commemorates the men and women who died while in our military's service.



LAKE WALES TAX COLLECTOR OFFICE CLOSED THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

The Tax Collector's Branch Office in Lake Wales will be closed on Thursday, May 19 and Friday, May 20 for renovations. Joe Tedder, Tax Collector for Polk County, announced this temporary closing, as part of a restructuring of his motor vehicle services to include future driver license operations. The Lake Wales Driver's License office will remain open during this transition.

PROPERTY OWNERS ADVISED TO PAY LATE TAXES, AVOID PENALTIES

Polk County Tax Collector Joe G. Tedder reminds property owners who have still not paid their 2010 real estate taxes that Friday, May 27 is the last day to pay those taxes before incurring additional costs. On June 1, tax certificates will be sold for unpaid taxes through the Tax Collector's annual Tax Certificate Sale.

HAINES CITY TAX OFFICE SYSTEMS RESTORED

Due to a severe weather event in the final days of March, the Tax Collector's Haines City Service Center temporarily lost some electronic systems. As of April 29, all systems have been restored. During the service outage, the Haines City Tax Collector's Office staff was able to conuct motorist and tax transactions. However, various customer service features were affected and in some cases hand written receipts were required to be issued to customers.



KIDS TAG ART BRINGS OVER $26,000!

On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, Polk County Kids Tag Art presented the School Board with a check for $26,833 at their regular board meeting at the Bartow District Offices. This is the 5th year the Tax Collector's Office has hosted this art program in Polk County Schools. The total combined monies that have been raised for Polk art teachers exceeds $89,000 for the 5 year period, which represents 100% of proceeds. The major sponsor this year was MIDFLORIDA Credit Union. Other sponsors were Douglass Screen Printers, Alphagraphics, Polk Education Foundation, Junior Woman's Club of Lakeland, Lake Wales Arts Center, Polk Arts Alliance, Polk Museum of Art, Polk County Schools, and the Polk County Tax Collector's Office.

BEWARE OF TELEPHONE SCAM

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office received information that a telephone scam is circulating in Putnam County. A telephone recording is erroneously informing homeowners that they are behind in their property taxes and will lose their homestead exemption if the taxes are not paid by a certain date. Homeowners are then instructed to call a number and give their bank account routing numbers. Florida's Tax Collectors are not making these calls and warns property owners in Polk County to be aware and if they receive such a call, they should report the call to the Polk County Sheriff's Office at (863) 298-6200. Moreover, our customers should know they can also call the Tax Collector's Office at (863) 534-4700 with any questions they may have regarding their property tax accounts.



TAX PAYMENT DEADLINE EXTEDED BY ONE DAY

Due to the severe weather experienced in Polk County on Thursday, the Tax Collector's Office has extended the deadline for property tax payments through Friday, April 1, 2011 at all branch offices. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



2010 PROPERTY TAX PAYMENT DEADLINE NEARS

Property owners are reminded that the deadline for payment of 2010 property taxes is Thursday, March 31, 2011. After this date, any 2010 property tax payments will be considered delinquent and late fees and interest will be incurred. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



TAX COLLECTOR "ON THE ROAD" FOR TAX INSTALLMENT EDUCATION

Community centers across Polk County had a surprise when Tax Collector Joe Tedder arrived as their guest speaker with an unexpected message that resonated with audiences. Instead of hearing about how much they owe, Tedder showed up to inform taxpayers on how to make their tax payment burden a little easier with alternative payment options for property tax payments. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE CLOSED FOR PRESIDENT'S DAY

The Tax Collector advises the public that on Monday, February 21, 2011, all branch offices will be closed. Only the American Legion Tag Agency will be open for motor vehicle transactions. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



COMPLIANCE ORDERS SENT TO DELINQUENT BUSINESSES

Those doing business in Polk and who haven't renewed your county local business tax receipt for 2010/2011 may find a Compliance Order in their mailbox. The Tax Collector's Office is sending out the Compliance Orders in an effort to get businesses to renw their county local business tax receipts before the maximum penalty is applied. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX WINTER FORUM HELD

Vacation home rental property managers and owners came together for the latest Tourist Development Tax Academy (TDA) event on February 1st at the Sheriff's sub-station on Dunson Road in the "Four Corners" area of Polk County. The 2011 Winter Forum featured State Representative Kelli Stargel, Sheriff Grady Judd and Tax Collector Joe Tedder! For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.

KIDS TAG ART ANNOUNCES AWARDS OF DISTINCTION

Kids Tag Art, a fifth grade art contest and fundraising project, is proud to announce the 2010-2011 Kids Tag Art Awards of Distinction. Kids Tag Art, a project created by the Polk County Tax Collector's Office, inspires young artists in 5th grade to create their own unique design, learning the practical application of license plate art to support worthy causes, fashioned after Florida's 100+ specialty license plates. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.

2011 TOURIST DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY WINTER FORUM

Vacation home rental property managers and owners are invited to attend the latest Tourist Development Academy event on February 1st. The 2011 Winter Forum will feature State Representative Kelli Stargel, Sheriff Grady Judd and Tax Collector Joe Tedder! Program updates will be made on local vacation rental home compliance and attendees will have the chance to provide feedback to their government officials. Don't delay as seating is limited. For more information, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.

CLOSED FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

The Tax Collector's Office, along with other local, state and federal government offices, is closed Monday, January 17 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. In 1994, the United States Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service. There are many ways to serve! To find out more, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



TAX COLLECTOR'S BARTOW OFFICE WAS OPEN ON NEW YEAR'S EVE

Because New Year's Day fell on a Saturday, New Year's Eve (Friday) was the observed legal holiday for all county and many local government offices. However, the public was facing multiple multiple year end payment deadlines for mobile homes, heavy trucks, and 3% property tax payments. As such, the Tax Collector's Bartow office remained open on December 31st to serve customers unaware of the holiday closing. To see more on this situation, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



JANUARY SPOTLIGHT ON TOURIST TAXES

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office has issued its latest Tourist Development Tax Distribution Report for January 2011. The report generally reflects November 2010 Collections and December 2010 remittances. To see the latest report and previous reports, visit the Tax Collector's Office website.



POLK'S SESQUICENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY

The Polk County Tax Collector's Office joins in celebrating Polk's Sesquicentennial Anniversary! Looking back over the past 150 years, we are proud to highlight the heritage of our county and history of our office. To learn more about Polk's Tax Collectors, the Tax Collector's Official Seal, why Polk is "Imperial" and Polk's First License Plate visit our website.



New RSS Feed for Tax Collector

The Polk Tax Collector's Office now has an RSS Feed setup for updated information!


To access Tax Collector's News for previous years, click here