How to Appeal Your Florida Property Tax

Posted by Daniel Jones on May 6, 2019 8:44:00 AM

Houses along Collins Canal in Miami Beach, Florida.

As a savvy homeowner, you may already know you should inspect your Florida property tax bills to determine whether it is correct. If it doesn’t seem that it is, the option of an appeal is available. Appeals can be started because the assessment has incorrect information or because the assessment is too high based on reviewing comparable properties.

The truth is that an appeal can take time and money to initiate and go through. However, it can also be well-worth both of those things if you are going to get back enough if you win that appeal. Determining whether that is the case is an important part of the process. The first step is looking carefully at the Florida property tax bill.

Consider Whether Appealing is the Right Option

Different locations in the United States, and in Florida itself, have varying deadlines for filing an appeal of your Florida property tax. In some areas you may have only 30 days to do this, in others you might have up to 120 days to file your appeal. Since this can vary to such a large degree, you want to find out what timeframe you are bound to. The tax bill itself should offer instructions about when and how to file. If this isn’t the case, you can call the local assessor or visit your local government’s website.

Scour Your Bill for Errors

You should do a check of the information on your Florida property tax bill to see if any of the information is incorrect. This could be something as simple as the square footage, additions like garages, or the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in the home. One good example being if you had a garage that was removed to create a larger yard. This will often lead to a lowered property value on your home. Take notes of any mistakes that are present for later use when appealing your Florida property tax.

Look at Property Value Changes

Sometimes your bill may seem higher than it should be, but this is due to a legitimate increase in value of the real estate in your area. If this is the case, your appeal is not worth pursuing. On the other hand, if the value of property is declining, this is a reason to consider an appeal. The reality is that many assessors calculate these changes only every three years or so. If the value is declining in between one assessment and the next, you might be paying too much in your Florida property tax.

Research Comparable Properties That Have Sold

Your Florida property tax bill will explain what the assessed value of your home is which has an effect on the bill total. What you want to do is look for homes in your area with a similar square footage and see what price they are going for. If it turns out that homes similar to your own are a lower price, you may have a good case to appeal the property tax.

It’s also important to consider whether there is some part of your property that makes it different from the homes you research when looking beyond a first glance. For example, if you have faulty foundation that the assessor isn’t aware of, the can drop the amount that your home should be assessed at. The same applies to things like unsightly views, loud traffic, or noisy schools nearby.

Visit the Nearest Assessor’s Office

Your local assessor’s office will offer you information about other tax bills so you can compare them to your own. You may even be able to track down this information online. If you have trouble finding a way to look at this information, you can also ask your neighbors. However, keep in mind that the properties need to be of a comparable value.

One of your first options if you find some kind of discrepancy that you believe warrants lower taxes is to get in contact with your assessor’s office to request a meeting so you can explain the situation. In some cases, nothing more than this can lead to a reduced Florida property tax. However, if that doesn’t work, you can still go through with an appeal.

Prepare Your Appeal of the Florida Property Tax

You are going to write a formal letter addressed to the county assessor. This should list any evidence you have compiled that your house was assessed incorrectly. You should attach any additional documentation that you have. There may also be specific documents that you need to complete and send along with the rest of the paperwork.

Make sure you note anything inaccurate that you found on the property information for your home or business such as the wrong square footage. If there are additional things that you believe the assessors may not have considered when doing the assessment, make sure you note those too. You should list the comparable homes that you found assessed at a lower value and include any other information that could help your case.

What to Do if Your Appeal is Rejected

If all goes well, your appeal will be granted which will lower your Florida property tax owed to the government. However, that isn’t always the case. Don’t despair because there are still options available to you. You are allowed to appeal your rejection to an independent committee who will make a final decision about whether your property taxes should be lowered. You will need to bring all of your evidence to this hearing as well and be prepared to argue your case or have someone do so for you.

Help with Your Florida Property Tax Appeal

If you aren’t sure you have the knowledge and expertise to handle your tax appeal on your own, don’t feel like you have to sit back and do nothing. The experts at Fair Assessments, LLC can offer you assistance through the process. With more than 20 years of experience, we can help you decide what to do and help you get it done to get those bills lowered the way you deserve.

Topics: Florida Property Tax Appeals

property tax appeals

Subscribe to our A Fair Shake Blog:

How Tax Assessors Use Sales to Value Property
New call-to-action