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In the United States, county tax and revenue collectors, treasurers, and finance officers all serve the same purpose - to conduct state financial management duties at the local (county) level. The primary job of these officials is to collect and distribute local property taxes on behalf of the state to fund vital services such as schools, roads, cities, and parks. State constitutions and statutes outline the duties and responsibilities of this position, which can include other financial management functions such as disbursement of unclaimed funds and the collection and distribution of other state and/or county fees. However, these additional service offerings vary from state to state and even county to county.
In the state of Florida, the elected position of county Tax Collector is a constitutional officer outlined in Article VIII of the FL Constitution. As outlined by state law, the Hillsborough County Tax Collector‘s independence is necessary to serve citizens and both local and state agencies as it:
Collects property taxes for every local government agency with the power to levy taxes.
Serves the state as an agent for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Department of Revenue.
Manages local revenue programs, such as the issuance of business tax receipts and collection of tourist development taxes.
As the only Hillsborough County official who has the authority and resources to manage both state and local revenue programs, the Tax Collector is a vital link between the citizens and the diverse programs that affect them.
Hillsborough County is the 32nd largest county in the US with approximately 1.3 million county residents in a 1050 square mile area encompassing several rural and suburban communities and three cities, including the city of Tampa – the third largest city in FL. Our annual budget is fee-based, which means our funding comes from the commissions and fees we receive from state and local government agencies based on the transactions we perform or the monies we collect on their behalf.
The Hillsborough County Tax Collector collects and distributes approximately $2 billion and processes over 2 million financial transactions annually. The current Tax Collector, Doug Belden, was elected to office in 1998 and has not faced serious opposition in any election, winning general acceptance as an innovative official who has overseen the expansion and improvement of the organization.