Check your closing statement and you should see a pro-ration on the taxes. In Florida we pay taxes in arrears, that is we pay 2007 taxes in 2008. When you purchased the property, the seller gave you a credit for the taxes for the length of time he owned the property in 2007, this will be on the closing statement. You then are responsible for the balance and his portion, because of the credit. In simpler terms the seller gave you his portion of the taxes for you to pay when the tax bill came due.
If you used a standard Florida real estate contract it has wording that requires the Seller to pay for their prorated share of property taxes. If you did not receive a credit from the seller for taxes from Jan-August, on the first page of your HUD-1 settlement statement given to you at closing, then go file a small claims court action and get it back. Many buyers who do not "escrow" for taxes get a rude awakening when they get a large property tax bill. Double check your closing statement, it's highly unusual if they didn't give you a credit for the property taxes owed by the Seller.
The Title Company was chosen by the seller. They are friends and the title company executive is a client of the seller - who is also owner of the real estate agency I hired to help me find a property to buy. The seller insisted on using this title company. It's a long story and an expensive lesson to learn. Thank you for your answers!
Check out your HUD 1 Statement from the title company. This should have been resolved prior to the closing on your property. A call to the title company that handled your closing would be the fastest and most accurate way to verify why you paid what you did. They have to account for the taxes to the county before they can transfer a clear title to you. Is there more to this story than we are seeing?
On the Settlement Statement the County taxes that the seller should have paid for are simply listed under "Adjustments for items unpaid by seller". He didn't pay any of the taxes for the time he owned the property. What can I do?