Our Mission (What We Do!)
"We are working to earn the public's trust and confidence by providing the best in customer service, assured quality and the efficient use of public funds."
Our Vision (What We Want To Be!)
"To treat our customers with such professionalism and concern that we change their perception of government."
Our Shared Values (Who We Are!)
Our Focus Points (How We Do It!)
- Integrity is striving to be honest, reliable, respectful, ethical and fair. The Polk County Tax Collector’s Office believes integrity is critical in gaining the trust and confidence needed to be successful in serving each other and our customers.
- Innovation is the introduction of something new that converts knowledge and ideas into benefits. The Polk County Tax Collector’s Office believes in using innovation to bring about creative and progressive techniques to streamline the services we provide.
- Accountability is the commitment to be responsible for one’s actions. The Polk County Tax Collector’s Office believes we must be accountable to each other, our organization, and to the people we serve. We commit to be transparent in our actions and results.
- Compassion is an awareness and understanding of an individual’s situation with a desire to help. The Polk County Tax Collector’s Office believes that, as public servants, our job is to be sensitive to the needs of people in our community and approach our work with the compassion to help others.
- Teamwork is using the unique talents of individuals in a collaborative manner and working toward a common goal. The Polk County Tax Collector’s Office believes we should treat one another with respect, openness and encourage teamwork. We believe a group of committed, thoughtful people working together will achieve extraordinary results.
Our Role As A Facilitator
- Customer Service means providing the best service
through meeting or exceeding our customer’s expectations, which impacts every decision we make and drives our ability to fulfill our Vision.
- Employee Well-Being is the outcome of high job
satisfaction, the application of the individual’s strengths, and positive supervisor
relations in an open and trusting work environment.
- Efficiency means striving to maximize the efforts of our
office in the timely delivery of services, conservation of resources, innovation and creative problem-solving and streamlining of policies and procedures to accomplish our objectives.
- Accountability requires us to hold ourselves to the goals
and standards that we have set forth to the public, striving to maintain transparency
in all we do, as fiduciary stewards of the public’s trust.
- Leadership involves establishing and communicating
a clear vision, providing the information, knowledge, and methods to realize that
vision, while demonstrating our commitment to the community.
"We team up with the customer to meet our common needs."
Constitutional Officers, County Government & Interaction
"Constitutional Officers" - The Clerk of the Court, Property Appraiser, Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections and Tax Collector are public officers as provided for in Florida's Constitution. They have the plenary power of sovereignty under the Constitution to carry out assigned duties of statewide importance and to do so as an agent of the State of Florida in each county political subdivision. The purpose of Constitutional Officers is to carry out specific uniform duties on behalf of the State of Florida in areas that involve, but are not limited to, administration of court system, collection of state fines, unbiased appraisal of property, consistent collection of taxes, registration and titling of vehicles and other assets, administration of all elections and the enforcement and detainment of violators of state and local laws.
"County Government" - The Board of County Commissioners is responsible for governing in areas or matters that are of local concern. As such, county government functions to provide local services to the citizens of a county such as: local road construction and maintenance, emergency management, animal control, building code compliance, development planning, parks and recreation, health and social services, utilities, etc.
"Interaction" - The Constitutional Officers and county government have diverse fiduciary and statutory responsibilities. The Constitutional Offices and county government often work together in areas where state and local concerns overlap. More importantly, the Constitutional Officers and county government play an important part in our fundamental system of checks and balances, which was designed to protect citizens from abuses at the state and local level.
Providing State Services
The Tax Collector was first established by Florida's 4th Constitution in 1868.
As a Constitutional Office, Polk's Tax Collector currently provides state services in the following areas:
Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Department of Revenue
- Issuance of Driver Licenses; Vehicle, Vessel and Mobile Home Registration and Titling; Collection of Sales Taxes; Issuance of Disabled Person Parking Placards; and, Distribution of Revenues to State and Local Government
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Collection and Distribution of Ad Valorem Taxes (Real and Tangible Property) and Non-Ad Valorem Assessments
In addition to providing state services, the Tax Collector may also enter into contracts for services with other governmental authorities and non-governmental entities. The Tax Collector's Office provides compliance, collection and distribution services for a number of governing authorities. Examples of such governing authorities include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Sale of Licenses, Monitoring of Sub Agents, and Report and Distribute Revenues to the State
How The Tax Collector's Office Is Funded
- Board of County Commissioners (Non-Ad Valorem Assessments, Local Business Taxes, Tourist Development Taxes, Utility Payments)
- Haines City Drainage District (Non-Ad Valorem Assessment)
- West Lakeland Water Control District (Non-Ad Valorem Assessment)
- Golden Lakes (Non-Ad Valorem Assessment)
- Florida Government Utility Authority (Non-Ad Valorem Assessment)
- Bridgewater Community Development District (Non-Ad Valorem Assessment)
The Tax Collector's Office operates as a "fee office." This means the Tax Collector's Office earns fees and commissions for the services rendered. No governmental unit funds the Tax Collectors operations. Commissions or fees charged to governmental units or individuals are in no way determined based on budget of the Tax Collector's operations. Fees and commissions are established by the Florida Legislature and are contained in the Florida Statutes.
For example: Water Management Districts are charged by the Tax Collector approximately a 2% commission for each tax dollar distributed to them. The amount of this commission is based on the assessed value and the millage rate established by each Water Management District. Because of this, the Tax Collector's Office commissions can only increase if the Property Appraiser increases values or the taxing authorities increase their millage rates.
Subsequently, any increase in a taxing authority's commission expense to the Tax Collector is caused by an increase in the Property Appraiser values or the taxing authorities increase in millage rates.
When the Tax Collector's Office has an excess of revenues over expenditures, they are remitted to each governmental unit in the same proportion as the fees paid.
How Tax Collector's Office Spending Is Reviewed
Since the Florida Department of Revenue is responsible for ensuring that the Tax Collector has adequate funding to perform their statutory duties and because the Tax Collectors Office is fee based the annual budget of the office is approved by the Florida Department of Revenue. Any subsequent increases in the budget must also be approved by the Florida Department of Revenue.
How Success Is Defined
The Tax Collector's Office defines its success through comprehensive monthly evaluations known as "Outline For Success" (OFS) and through a comparative review process. OFS is a performance and accountability based plan that begins with the mission of the Tax Collector's Office and seeks to address whether or not the Tax Collector's Office is succeeding in its mission through numerous monthly performance measures and evaluations.