CHALLENGING YOUR TAXES OR A TAXING CHALLENGE
Although your real estate property tax bills just arrived in the mail, it’s already too late to challenge the amount if you are unhappy with the number that you have to pay. The November bill that you just received is the “final” tax bill and not subject to any objections that you may have at this time. If you would like to appeal the amount of your real property taxes, the time to “state your case” is in August when you receive your “Notice of Proposed Tax Bill” or “TRIM NOTICE”. (Since we are going to use these terms interchangeably we are going to refer to them only as the “Notice”). It makes sense if you think about it because the August Notice is a proposal and therefore may be changed if you act timely with your questions and concerns. So… if you are up for the challenge, please read on.
As a property owner you have the right to appeal property classifications, exemptions and values. For purposes of this blog, we are going to focus only on the property appraiser’s assessment of you property’s value.
One you get the Notice in August, you have the right to do one or all of the following but pay attention to the deadlines involved.
1. Ask for an informal conference with your county property appraiser. You may be able to settle the issue without going to a hearing or to court. You should call the local appraisers office as soon as possible to schedule that conference because if you are not happy with the outcome of this conference, you want to make sure that you don’t miss the deadline to file the petition to the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). See below.
2. File a Petition with your local VAB. The petition must be filed within 25 days after the property appraiser mailed out your Notice. This year, the Notice came out on August 23, 2011 and the deadline for the VAB petition was September 16th. There are other deadlines that you should know. For instance:
o 25 days before the hearing you will be notified of the scheduled hearing time;
o 15 days before the hearing you will give your evidence to the appraiser;
o 7 days before the hearing the appraiser will give his evidence to you, if you ask for it;
o 5 days before you must ask to reschedule if you so desire;
o You have 60 days to appeal the decision to the circuit court;
Remember: under this option you are not excused from paying your taxes until a result is determined. You are still required to pay certain taxes before the delinquency deadline in April.
3. File a lawsuit in Circuit Court. Make sure to consult an attorney for specific deadlines.
This information is being provided to you by Debbie Weinman and Tauber Real Estate Services for general informational purposes. Debbie is a licensed real estate broker in Florida and a licensed attorney in Maryland. You should consult with a Florida CPA or attorney if you need specific guidance.