“If your property value has decreased because of the economy, damage from natural disasters, surrounding foreclosures in the neighborhood, your home’s general need for repair or improvement, or if it can be shown that similarly assessed homes in the neighborhood are being charged lower property taxes, a reduction in your property tax may be warranted,” Boss said.
Each year in August, the county property appraiser distributes the Proposed Truth in Millage (TRIM) notice which notifies homeowners of the appraised value of their home and resulting taxes for that year. Homeowners who feel their property taxes are unreasonably high may petition the Value Adjustment Board within 25 days of receiving the notice in most counties. The property appraiser reviews petitions and approves those who qualify. For petitions unresolved by the property appraiser, the Value Adjustment Board will hire a special magistrate to conduct hearings regarding the property’s value.
Homeowners who feel their taxes are too high should start by gathering information about their neighbors’ assessed property values and taxes online at the county appraiser’s website. It is wise to hire an independent property appraiser to assess the value of the home because the county appraiser typically estimates tax value based on the surrounding neighborhood whereas an independent appraiser can account for more discrete but important factors (such as economic downturn, natural disaster damage, sinkhole damage, surrounding foreclosures, Chinese drywall, or other similar factors).
Pursuant to Florida Statutes, the property appraiser is required to consider several factors when estimating property value: 1) the present cash value; 2) the highest and best use of the property; 3) location of the property; 4) quantity or size of the property; 5) condition of the property; 6) the income generated by the property; and 7) the net proceeds from the sale of the property.
If an appraiser determines that property is assessed too high, or it can be shown that the property is comparable to other surrounding properties but taxed at a higher rate, then the property should qualify for a reduction in its taxable value, Boss said.
If you have questions, please contact Yesner & Boss for a free consultation or call (727) 471-0039 in St. Petersburg, (813) 251-2921 in Tampa, or (941) 362-0050 in Sarasota.