Property Tax Appeals
In Florida, property tax assessments are adjusted once a year. On January 1, the property value and the total tax owed are set for that year. However, there is a method by which to reduce your total tax assessments. To obtain a tax reduction during the year, you must show that the property was overvalued at the time that the value was set which is January 1.
Sometime in August of this year you will receive what is called a TRIM notice (truth in millage (TRIM) notices), from the Property Appraisers Office. As soon as you receive this notice, you should contact our office, so, that we can assist you in trying to reduce your total tax assessment.
First, we will conduct a thorough analysis of your property which includes a review of the current asking prices for properties comparable to yours in your area as well as recent sales in your area.
Then, we will organize and prepare the necessary documentation to file a property tax appeal petition for you. Once the petition is filed, you case will be set for a hearing in the county where the property is located before the County Value Adjustment Board. The Value Adjustment Board (the “VAB”) is an independent governmental agency created by Chapter 194, of the Florida Statutes, to accept and process taxpayers’ petitions contesting the value of real estate and personal property as assessed by the Property Appraiser’s Office. The VAB is composed of five elected officials, specifically three County Commissioners and two School Board members. One of the Commissioners is required to serve as the VAB Chairperson. Prior to the hearing we will negotiate with your property appraiser to discuss your tax assessment and seek a negotiated adjustment of your tax assessment which will ultimately reduce your property tax bill.
If we are unable to negotiate a reduced tax assessment prior to the hearing before the VAB, we will represent you at the hearing in order to reduce your tax assessment.
If your TRIM notice does not properly set the value of your property, we can file a tax appeal and challenge the Property Appraiser’s valuation. Please note, that a tax appeal must be filed within thirty (30) days following the issuance of the TRIM notice. After the hearing, if the petitioner disagrees with the Special Magistrate’s recommendation to the VAB, a further appeal of the VAB decision may be initiated by the taxpayer filing suit in the Circuit Court. Any such suit (i.e. other than homestead exemption denials) must be filed no later than 60 days from the mailing of the VAB’s record of decision notice to the taxpayer.
We can the stress the importance of skilled legal counsel to assist you in an attempt to obtain a reduction of your tax assessment. The Property Appraiser will present facts which they believe substantiate their appraisal. Legal counsel can often anticipate these arguments and assist you with presenting evidence negating the appraisal.