Miami Dade County Property Tax Alert – Despite the Decline in Housing Prices, and Ongoing Foreclosure Crises, Are Your Property Taxes Still Too High? Will You File a Property Tax Appeal? Know Your Rights!

tax_web.jpgYour property tax notice has been mailed to you. Will you be shocked by how much you have to pay in property taxes this year? Despite the recent downturn in our real estate market, your property taxes may actually go up this year. If so, you should know your rights and learn how to fight back. Please call our office today to discuss your property taxes in greater detail.

It is imperative to know and understand the process in an effort to effectively fight back to keep your property taxes in check and reasonable.

In August of each year, Miami-Dade County property owners receive a “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” (the “Trim Notice”) showing, as to each property, the prior year’s taxes, the current year’s taxes, with and without budget changes, and the “market” and “assessed” values for the prior and current year. Based on the current year’s information, property owners may file petitions with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) within 25 days following the mailing of the Trim Notice, if they feel that the Property Appraiser’s proposed “assessed” value is incorrect (i.e. does not properly reflect the property’s actual fair market value as of Jan. 1 of the current tax year). With certain exceptions, a $15 filing fee is required to be paid at the time a petition is filed.

Prior to filing a VAB petition, a taxpayer may review the proposed assessment with the Property Appraiser’s Office at an informal conference. However, this informal conference is not a necessary prerequisite to the filing of a VAB petition. If the property owner meets with the Property Appraiser and is dissatisfied with the results, the taxpayer or his agent, may file a value petition with the VAB after the meeting. Approximately 145,000 petitions are filed each year with the VAB.

After the petitions are filed, hearings before the VAB’s Special Magistrates are scheduled and the petitioners are notified of the date, time and place of their respective hearings via first class mail. The hearing notices are generally mailed no later than 30 days prior to the date of the scheduled hearing. Petitioners (i.e. taxpayers) contesting the value of their property present their cases to Appraiser Special Magistrates. At the hearing, since the Property Appraiser’s assessment is supported by a “presumption of correctness” under Florida law, the burden of proving that the assessment is excessive or otherwise illegal falls on the petitioner.

If you are on the brink of foreclosure, need a real estate attorney, or just need to assess your legal rights regarding your property taxes, please contact our office today.