Appealing Your Property Tax: What You Need to Know About Value Adjustment Boards

Appealing the amount of property tax you owe to different government entities in Florida is done through a process that involves your county’s five-member Value Adjustment Board (VAB). Not only can these panels hear arguments and make determinations on altering your property tax burden, but it also handles appeals on denied exemptions or classifications, ad valorem tax deferrals, portability decisions, and change of ownership or control. For the purposes of this blog, though, we will focus on the process of petitioning for a change in your property taxes. 

Deadlines For Initiating Action with the VAB

The statute of limitations for filing a petition with the VAB depends on the specific issue with which you and the county are in disagreement. If you take issue with the value of your property as it relates to your property taxes, you must generally take action within 25 days of being mailed your TRIM Notice, which usually occurs sometime around mid-August. Your property appraise will mail this to you after conducting an appraisal on the property. 

After filing your appeal/petition, you must get to work on gathering documents that support your claim for adjustment. Once you have requested a hearing with your county’s Value Adjustment Board, you will be notified of the hearing’s date at least 25 days prior. Once you have received this notification, you have 10 days (15 days before the hearing) to send the property appraiser evidence you intend to present in court. The property appraiser, which is the other side in the VAB hearing, then must send you his or her evidence at least seven days prior to the hearing. 

What Happens at the VAB Hearing?

You may have the assistance of several different licensed professionals be present at the hearing to help bolster your side, including an attorney, real estate appraiser, or accountant. The two primary considerations for the VAB is to determine whether or not the property appraiser made a clear mistake while assessing your property (such as overlooking recent repairs) or ignored relevant state law(s). 

Many Florida counties use a special magistrate to aid their respective VAB. This special magistrate must be a neutral licensed professional (property appraiser or attorney) who is able to make an accurate determination on the issue at hand. If your county does use a special magistrate, he or she will make a recommendation to the VAB. 

After the VAB Hearing

You have the right to obtain a copy of the special magistrate’s recommendation. Not long after your hearing, the VAB will send you its final decision, along with the legal basis and reasoning for its conclusions. You have the option to file a lawsuit in circuit court if you disagree with the VAB’s decision. 

Conclusion

If you feel like a mistake was made when your property was appraised and it adversely affected your property tax, contact the Law Office of Ray Garcia, P.A. to see how we can help get you the rate you deserve. Please call today at 305-227-4030.