This is the third in our property tax assessment series. Last week we discussed how to know if your property assessment is incorrect. This week we will walk you through the steps to appeal your property tax assessment. read more
The website for the Department of Revenue is a good place to start.
Your Right to Appeal – What?
You have the right to appeal if you believe that the property appraiser’s assessment is too high. You can appeal if it is too low, but for obvious reasons, most do not. You can also appeal your property classification. If you own a storage warehouse building and it is being assessed as light industrial, you could be paying too much in property taxes.
The Proof is in the… Appraisal
You must be able to provide some sort of evidence proving that the assessment is too high. The best evidence is a recent appraisal or closing documents. You can also present information on any recent sales of similar properties that could affect your property value.
The Easy Way
Do not assume that the assessor is out to get you or that he takes delight in assessing as much as possible out of property owners. As we discussed in our first article, assessors appraise properties in bulk. They do not complete an interior inspection. So, they could not be aware of a specific feature or condition that would affect your individual property value.
Rather than completing a whole heap of official forms, why not casually meet with the property appraiser from your area and discuss the reasons why you feel that the assessment is too high. Though an official petition must still be filed, this will give you a better idea of your chance of success.
The Standard Way
Property tax notices are mailed out in Florida in August. You have 25 days after the notice was postmarked to file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). The deadline date is found on your tax notice. Most counties in Florida will allow you to file the petition electronically by accessing the VAB website or you can contact your county’s County Clerk. The Florida Department of Revenue’s “Petition to the Value Adjustment Board – Request for Hearing” is available in PDF format as are other property tax forms.
The forms should be mailed or hand delivered to the local clerk of the VAB which is usually in the County Clerk’s office. A hearing will be scheduled and you will be notified at least 25 days ahead of time. At least 15 days before the hearing you need to present your evidence.
If you would like more information on filing a petition with the VAB, you can download a more detailed brochure and the VAB Calendar. Please note that you must still pay your property taxes as scheduled to avoid penalties and a dismissal of your petition.
The Legal Way
You also have the right to file a lawsuit in circuit court to challenge the assessment or the denial of your tax appeal. You do not have to file a VAB petition first. But you must file the lawsuit within 60 days of the date of a VAB decision or the property appraiser’s certification of the tax roll, whichever is later.
If you can supply evidence that your investment property has been over assessed, then by all means file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board. The time and effort could save you thousands of dollars annually.