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Tax bills to start arriving today

Today's trip to the mailbox will be more unpleasant than usual for some Pasco County property owners who will find their 1990 tax bills among their correspondence. And if the bad news doesn't arrive today, it will soon.

If it is any consolation, the latest batch of tax notices will provide more information than the bills sent out in past years did.

Nearly 204,000 notices were put in the mail Wednesday, and Tax Collector Mike Olson said his office has redesigned the bill and included a more detailed breakdown of the taxes due.

Consequently, for the first time property owners will be able to look at the tax rates established by the County Commission, School Board, Southwest Florida Water Management District, cities and other boards with the authority to collect taxes. In the past, the tax form was smaller and did not list individual tax rates.

Despite the changes, Olson said his staff tried to keep the bills easy to read and understand.

"We tried to make this thing just as uncomplicated as we could," he said.

Another change this year is that the tax bills for homeowners also will carry the assessment for the county's solid-waste disposal program. Olson said businesses paying commercial solid-waste assessments will be billed separately by the county's utilities department.

In all, this year's bills seek payment of $147.7-million in taxes and assessments.

The actual amount paid, however, is not likely to match the total due because many taxpayers take advantage of a discount offered for paying early.

Taxpayers get a 4-percent discount for paying in November, a 3-percent discount for paying in December, a 2-percent discount for paying in January and a 1-percent discount for paying in February. If not paid sooner, the full amount of the bill is due in March.

Most of the tax notices _ slightly more than 158,000 _ concern real estate taxes. The remaining 45,725 notices will carry bills for tangible personal property, mineral rights and railroad taxes.

Olson said the changes in this year's bills require taxpayers to tear off the bottom part of the form _ just as they do with a telephone or power bill _ and return it with their check. In return, they will receive a duplicate form acknowledging receipt of their payment.