Owning property always presents a vast number of challenges, many of them financial. This is especially true when it comes to owning commercial property in Florida. Thanks to a famously warm climate and a number of famous attractions and cities in the panhandle, Florida is an extremely popular area for people from throughout the United States and the world to buy property, especially commercial property.
Property owners in Florida and elsewhere are financially responsible for their property, and as any property owner can tell you this can become quite expensive. In addition to a significant cash outlay to procure any property, property owners are responsible for upkeep, mortgage interest, and a variety of other expenses. Of course on top of everything property owners have to pay taxes on what they own. For many property owners this can turn the usual financial burden of their properties into something of a hardship. Even if property taxes are not a hardship, there’s no reason to pay any more than necessary in commercial property taxes.
Even though Florida is a rather popular spot, real estate wise, the value of real estate in Florida has been going down the past few years. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that assessments have gone down everywhere, even if in some counties, such as Duval county for example, real estate appraisals did drop significantly last year.
Although real estate has been dropping in much of the state, very few property owners have been taking advantage of the opportunity to appeal their property tax. If you own property in Florida, it may very well be valued much too high, and it may be the case that you’re paying too much in property taxes.
Property taxes can be appealed, but the deadline for Florida Property Tax Appeals is in September of each year, after the TRIM notices (notice of proposed taxes) are mailed, usually in August. In other words, now is the time for Florida property tax appeals. True, taxes are on the very short list of things you can be sure of in life, and are a very important part of the way our system works. At the same time, you should be paying the taxes on what your property is actually worth, not an over inflated estimate of what it might be worth.
There are no good reasons not to really look in to what your property is worth, and take advantage of the Florida property tax appeals season to figure out if you’re paying more than your fair share. If you would like assistance in your Florida commercial property tax appeal please contact us.
With the extended decline of property value in recent years, property owners, both commercial and residential, are looking for ways to save on their Florida property tax. Although it is difficult, if not completely impossible to sell the property for what it initially purchased for, it is possible to reduce the overall amount of taxes paid on the real estate. In recent years, property values have declined, in some locations, in excess of 30 percent. This marks a substantial drop in overall value, which should be rectified in the amount of taxes paid on property. If the property value has dropped, it only makes sense the taxes paid on the location should also drop. However, the taxes do not simply decline with the market value of the property. Florida property tax appeals must actually be filed. This informs the county of the loss in value and the wish to have the taxable value reviewed. There is no need to pay on a higher property value when the facility can't even be sold for the county appraiser's value. Due to this, filing an appeal on the property tax is essential, as this savings of money can prove rather substantial, especially for larger, more valuable real-estate.
The tough economy has taken its toll on business owners throughout the state, as many have shrunk in overall employee size and total income. This makes it difficult to run and manage a commercial property, especially when the same amount of tax is paid on the real estate, despite the drop in revenue and overall value. Business owners are entitled to their fare shake, and although many realize their business may not ever return to what it was prior to the Great Recession, there is still hope to build the business back up to something strong. It all starts with cutting out needless expenditures, and for many, this is the excessive property tax on the commercial real estate. With the value of the property down significantly, there is no need to pay the higher level, especially with the net income from the business declining.
Before one is able to go about the Florida property tax appeals process, it is necessary to perform a few minor tasks ahead of time. The faster these tasks are performed and submitted, the better off the property owner is, and the quicker the response time is from the county government. Initially, and most importantly, a review of the assessment on the property must be done. This is essential in Florida property tax appeals. The property can be evaluated using recent sales, market rental rates, typical operating expense ratios, and market derived capitalization rates to get the overall value and note the difference between the county assessment on the facility and the current value. If the location is like most others throughout the state of Florida, there is a rather sizable drop off in the current value of the location. From there, the necessary paperwork requesting a reduction in property tax must be completed and submitted to the local property tax officials. Although a small percentage of individuals actually go about performing this step, it is important to do so sooner rather than later, because it does take time to hear back, and learning the outcome of the request is import as it especially needs to be complete before the next tax season.
It may take a bit of work and some extra time to appeal a Florida property tax on a commercial property, but it is possible to reduce the overall tax burden of the establishment, as the overall value of real estate has dropped in recent years. This practice can help save a property owner thousands of dollars a year.
Property taxes are a critical source of income for both state and local governments. Property owners nation-wide are subject to taxes on their properties, both commercial and private. Property values and their associated taxes in the state of Florida are highly unique and require an intimate understand of the state's tax code. If a property owner feels that their property taxes are too high based on the states valuation of their property value, they can file a property tax appeal to reduce the valuation of their property and the associated taxes. Such appeals are not a common occurrence in Florida. According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, less than five percent of property owners typically file a property tax appeal in the state of Florida. However, when these appeals are filed and they are successful, the results can be dramatic. Richard Nilsen, the co-founder of a company called Mattress Giant filed a challenge on the county's $14 million valuation of his property and netted himself a savings of $124,000. Such results are, of course, not typical as the average value of an individual's property rarely approaches such a valuation, but the underlying message remains the same: property tax appeals in Florida can yield significant financial rewards if pursued appropriately.
Property assessments are generally calculated using retroactive market data as of January 1st of each calendar year. Other information that a property assessor can use to calculate value is sales from previous years, location, and the size of the building in question. Conflicts over property valuation can arise from factually incorrect information or a potential difference in opinion. To file a reduction request, one must present evidence indicating that the value of the property in question is actually less than that indicated by an appraiser. This can be done both by ones self, or through the use of a tax representative. Utilizing the latter method is much more effective as a tax representative generally has a considerably larger understanding of Florida's tax law and more experience dealing with property tax appeals. Most tax rep's work on contingency so there may be no fee unless you win your appeal.
In much the same way that you would not allow the Internal Revenue Service to unilaterally determine your income tax for any given calendar year, nor should you allow state or local governments to have the final say in determining your property's value and its tax. Consult a tax representative, lawyer, or do your own research and determine for yourself whether a property tax appeal is something that can be of benefit to you. The savings that one could potentially gain from filing such an appeal are considerable. Lastly, consider that filing such an appeal is not only a way to save money on taxes, but also a way to prevent yourself from being unfairly targeted by government appraisers who may lack the correct information to fairly appraise your property and thus, determine your appropriate property taxes.
Fair Assessments LLC is an Atlanta GA based property tax management firm that appeals commercial property values in Florida. Florida, as in the rest of the USA, was hard hit in the latest real estate depression. Much of the focus has been on residential real estate values, but this is only part of the story. As the economy goes, so goes residential values, and as a result commercial values as well. With high unemployment there are fewer tenants for the same amount of space and rents decline. When rents decline, values decline. The Federal Government has said that the recession ended in 2009, but there is still weakness in the real estate sector, and opportunity to save money.
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Georgia Tax Appeals. http://www.fair-assessments.com
404-644-1667 The leading Georgia property tax service focusing on commercial property tax reduction. Commercial real estate tax is a major expense that must be challenged regularly.
Property tax assessment is serious business. In Florida, the specifics span from the state constitution to local regulations. Section 4, Article VII of the Florida Constitution mandates that property appraisers use the "just value" assessment method. The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that "Just Value" and "Market Value" are legally the same. Other value considerations can include investment value and going-concern value, although they must be related back to "just value" to hold water.
When appealing assessment results, wiggle room can often be found in the principles of value applied including:
- Anticipation of future benefits
- Conformity of a property to its surroundings
- Consistent use of a property
- Surplus productivity
- Contribution of components to a whole
- Value of substituting a property with one of equal utility, and
- The equilibrium between supply and demand.
Appraisers combine all of the above elements into a complex coding formula. If even one variable is overstated, the impact on your property tax payment can be significant. Other common areas of appeal include contesting market-area stratification decisions, usually on the basis of consistency, or contesting process and data analysis in cases of mass appraisal.
What is a Commercial Property Tax Appeal?
Florida property tax appeals are made before the Value Adjustment Board in the appropriate county. The adjustment board consists of 5 members, 2 from the county's board of commissioners, 1 from the school board and 2 citizens. The adjustment board makes all final decisions, but often rely on a special magistrate for expert advice, counsel, and value decisions.
How much does it cost?
Fees vary by county, but the actual process of appealing a decision usually includes only a nominal fee. You can represent yourself in the appeals process, although the greatest chances for success usually involve expert representation and private valuation data challenging the results on one or more count. The fees for this sort of service vary widely depending on the service provider and complexity of your appeal. Some services work on a contingency fee and will not charge anything unless they get you savings.
Why should I appeal?
Property tax valuations are subject to many different variables. Valuations are made as a "snapshot" of conditions on January 1st of a given year, but reality is a fluid with ebbs and flows that may be reflected in your valuation. Because this snapshot is time-sensitive, it should reflect conditions as they existed in the last calendar year. However, Florida assessment notices aren't mailed until August and current conditions may have some influence. Current conditions can be drastically different, potentially leading to savings. The appeals process is your only opportunity to get a valuation that reflects the fair market value.
What are the possible savings or benefits?
Every case is different. It is not unusual to find a double digit percentage decrease in your property tax bill. The higher the value of your property, the higher the savings. There is no guarantee of success, but many large commercial properties have saved millions of dollars.
What are the disadvantages to filing an appeal?
Time and money invested with no guarantee of success. Appeals are routine procedures and very rarely gain any attention from outside parties. There is no reason to worry about generating ill-will from public officials or the community for Florida property tax appeals.
What is the process for Florida Property Tax Appeals?
Deadlines are extremely important to the appeal process. The appeal deadline for a given property is listed in the annual Truth in Mileage Notice (TRIM) sent out in August. These deadlines are binding and cannot be extended. Appeals must be filed, not simply postmarked, by this date.