Your neighbor's tax bill
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St. Petersburg Times
Research and Maps by Matthew Waite

Who bears the burden?

Reading the map: Neighborhoods in red are
paying taxes on the highest percentage of their homes' market values, as high as 85 percent. Those in green are paying taxes on the lowest percentage, as low as 10 percent. Yellow are in the middle.

How we did it: The Times obtained property tax records for all homesteaded properties in the Tampa Bay area and divided the taxable value of each by its market value.

The market value is how much the property appraiser says a house is worth on the open market, based on sales of similar houses over the last few years.

The taxable value, which helps determine how much a homeowner pays in taxes, is the market value, minus savings -- from Save Our Homes, the homestead exemption and other minor exemptions.

Next, using maps of neighborhood associations,
subdivisions, towns and regional boundaries, the

Times averaged the tax burden for those areas. An area was then colored red, for example, if the average homeowner is paying taxes on a high percentage of his home's market value.

Then, to determine neighborhood tax disparity, the Times calculated how far from the average you have to go to include the tax burden of two-thirds of homeowners in a neighborhood.

In green areas, for instance, homeowners are all tightly grouped around the average bill and disparities are small.

CALCULATOR: Figure your tax burden
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REPORT: Ongoing coverage

© Copyright 2006 St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.
Research and Maps by Matthew Waite
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