Real Estate Tax Appeals

The Property Appraiser sends a Truth in Millage Notices or TRIM notices to all property owners as required by law, usually in August of each year.

The TRIM Notice tells you the taxable value of your property and provides information on proposed millage rates and taxes as estimated by each County taxing authority which includes the County Commission, School Board, Cities, etc.  There is a period of time stated in these TRIM notices when you can appeal your assessment.  In order for you to prove your case and receive tax relief, you should generally be prepared to testify and submit evidence at the VAB hearing which will establish that on January 1, 2009, your property had an "assessed value" that was greater than its "fair market value". To do so, you should bring to the hearing certain types of evidence, if available, in support of your claim of the over assessment.  Most of us live in our Homestead residences that are constitutionally protected from huge increases - a/k/a - Save Our Homes. Amendment 10 was born in 1992 when voters amended the Florida Constitution so that the Assessed Value of properties with Homestead Exemption is capped at 3% or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less.

The Homestead tax exemption which has doubled from $25,000.00 to $50,000.00 and this amount comes off the top of your assessed value before the tax rate is applied to determine your taxes.  A typical problem seen during the real estate boom that you have probably seen or heard of that caused some problems for Buyers of homestead properties over the last few years is the following scenario -

A Buyer purchases a property from a Seller who has lived there for many years, saw their house value appreciate greatly, and their real estate taxes were modest. After the Buyer closes on the home and applies for their new homestead exemption the following year and the homestead cap on taxes described above does not apply for that year and the property is re-assessed to the current fair market value. As we know during these times, prices and values were sky-rocketing. Thus, real estate taxes for that next tax year possibly doubled and the Buyer says what in the world just happened?

This is just one of many situations where it makes sense to appeal your real estate tax assessments. Especially so for owners of primary residences and investment properties who bought at the height of the real estate market.


Q: What can I do for you?
My office will complete and file the necessary paperwork for the appeal by the deadline for the typical sum of $20.00 (the filing fee with the appropriate County). We will prepare your case and attend the hearing for you and it's all on a contingency basis. Our contingent fee is 30% of the tax savings to you based upon the ruling at the hearing for your appeal. Tax savings are not based upon the assessed values, i.e., having the assessed value of your property reduced from $400,000.00 to $300,000.00. Rather the tax savings are based upon reducing your actual tax bill from for example $5,000.00 to $4,000.00.