27 May How To Lower Your Property Taxes in Florida
Living in Florida and not sure what to do about your property taxes?
Trying to maximize your investment by reducing your annual property tax expenditure?
Great news! Every year in August county appraisers evaluate the assessment for real and tangible property and give taxpayers the opportunity to reduce their taxes by filing an appeal.
Real Property vs. Tangible Personal Property
Real property consists of land and any improvements to the land such as buildings. Additionally, any components attached to the land improvements become part of the structure and therefore considered real property. Property appraisers are required to establish the real property tax base for their county annually. In doing so, they use mass appraisal techniques approved by the Florida Department of revenue to determine the just or market value for each parcel as of January 1. Exemptions, classifications, and assessment limitations are then applied to determine the taxable value.
Tangible personal property consists of everything that is in a specific location but not affixed to the land improvement. Things such as furniture, machinery, and fixtures are considered tangible personal property. Inventory and household goods are exempt under Florida statutes.
Every Florida business that owns any tangible personal property as of January 1 must file a return with each county’s property appraiser by April 1. Tax payers have the ability to issue their opinion of value for their personal property by listing it on the property tax rendition. Appraisers will then evaluate the items of personal property and issue an assessment based on Florida guidelines. An automatic $25,000 exemption is applied to every personal property folio.
Truth in Millage (TRIM) Notices
Every year in July and August the Department of Revenue reviews the property tax rolls of each county. This ensures that the tax base established by the property appraiser is equitable, uniform, and in compliance with Florida law. The Department also reviews and approves each property appraiser’s annual budget.
After the review is completed and approved by the Department of Revenue, TRIM notices are issued and mailed out to taxpayers. This notice contains the property’s value as of January 1, the proposed millage rates by each local government, and an estimate of the amount of property taxes owed based on the millage rates. Additionally, the TRIM notice lists the date, time, and location of each local government’s budget hearing so property owners have an opportunity to attend and comment on the millage rates before final approval. After the notice is received, taxpayers have 25 days from the date of the notice to petition the value of their property to the county’s Value Adjustment Board.
If a taxpayer disagrees with the proposed value listed on the TRIM notice, the taxpayer has the opportunity to file a petition with the county’s Value Adjustment Board (VAB).
The VAB consists of five-members which hear and rules on challenges to a property’s assessments, classifications, or exemptions. The value adjustment board is independent from the property appraiser and tax collector and acts as a neutral party to protect the taxpayer’s rights.
In order to challenge a value or exemption, the taxpayer must file Form DR-486 within 25 days of receipt of the TRIM notice. Additionally at least 75% of the outstanding taxes for the year must be paid in order to get the petition considered for hearing. There is a $15 fee for each parcel petitioned except for contiguous property.
Once the petition is processed by the VAB a hearing date is scheduled. Taxpayers must submit all their evidence for the challenge in value to the property appraiser at least 15 days prior to the hearing date. The property appraiser’s office must then submit their evidence within 7 days of the scheduled hearing. Taxpayers and property appraisers have the ability to reject evidence if proper procedure is not followed by either party.
After the evidence is presented, the Special Magistrate appointed by the VAB makes a determination to fully or partially grant the petition or to deny the petition. If the taxpayer or property appraiser disagrees with the magistrate’s decision, they will have an opportunity to take the decision to circuit court.
Reasons to appeal:
- Opportunity to access the property appraiser’s valuation method.
- By filing a petition and promptly submitting evidence to the property appraiser office, the county’s appraisal office is required to provide detail information on how they arrived to the value.
- Taxpayers have the opportunity to discuss with the property appraiser and informally discuss the valuation method prior to presenting to the VAB.
- Most of the time appraiser’s and taxpayers reach a settlement on the value of the property prior to hearing.
- 10% Cap for future years.
- Once a property is reduced, by law, the assessment cannot be in excess of 10% for future years, therefore successfully appealing a petition will stabilize the tax expense for future years.
Only $15 per parcel to process petitions.
- Unlike other states, once property values are set by the appraiser’s they cannot go up, they can simply go down or if a petition is denied, stay the same.
- Reductions normally range between 10 -15% of the value assessed.
- Most tax consultants will absorb all costs associated with the appeal and only charge once reductions are received by the taxpayers.
- If you are a taxpayer in Florida, be on the lookout for your TRIM notice during the month of August and secure your opportunity to save from 10-15% in your annual property tax expenditure by filing a petition with the county’s Value Adjustment Board by early September.
For more information please contact us today at : 305-775-2617.