IF YOU HAVE BEEN DENIED THE HOMESTEAD AD VALOREM TAX EXEMPTION, THE FOLLOWING MAY BE OF INTEREST TO YOU OR YOUR ATTORNEY:
The Value Adjustment Board (VAB) Process
Before you proceed, read the paragraph above entitled "Late Filing for Homestead". The purpose of the VAB process is to determine whether the assessed value of a petitioned property exceeds its market value as of January 1. The VAB appoints a Special Magistrate (qualified real estate appraisers or attorneys, independent of the Property Appraiser's Office) to conduct the administrative hearings. It is highly recommended to exhaust your administrative remedies before the VAB before attempting to file a suit in circuit court.
If you disagree with your property's assessed value, please discuss it with a staff member of the Property Appraiser's Office BEFORE you file a petition. If you petition the VAB for a change in value, the Clerk must RECEIVE the petition by the deadline date. Please see your proposed notice for the deadline date. (NOT MERELY POSTMARKED).
VAB hearings begin in the fall where you will present your evidence and testimony to a Special Magistrate. An appraiser from the VAB office will present evidence as to the market value of your property. A written decision will be sent to you after the final VAB hearing is held.
If a property is petitioned and the VAB made no adjustment and the taxes are not paid until January, the November and December discount is lost. It is the taxpayer's decision as to whether or not to pay the taxes in order to get the discount when petitioning a property.
A value adjustment board is not authorized to consider an application for a homestead exemption unless a timely application has first been filed with the property appraiser. (Op.Atty.Gen., 2001-83, December 13, 2001 .)
In the event that you do not agree with the appraised value of your real property and are filing a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (V.A.B.), under the provisions of Florida Statute 194.034 (d), it is required that you furnish the VAB Appeals office all the information or documentation that will be used to support your conclusion of value.
Failure to provide the following information to the Property Appraiser no less than 15 days prior to your hearing precludes its use before the V.A.B.
Documentation must be filed in DUPLICATE.
(1) Copy of lease or leases.
(2) Certified copy of Gross Rental Income and Miscellaneous Income.
(3) Certified copy of Expense Statement.
(4) Copy of any appraisal reports made on the subject property within three (3) prior years.
(5) Original construction costs plus cost of any improvements, add-ons or additions (include indirect
costs such as profit, and overhead, interim finance charges, discounts, survey, architect's fees,
legal fees, permits, etc).
(6) A list of any comparable properties you intend to submit to the V.A.B. which would tend to
substantiate your claim for adjustment of subject property to include sales price, date of sale,
sales price per square foot, and/or units of comparison, apartments, single family dwellings
square feet of living area, breakdown of sale between land and improvements. Also, list date of
sale and adjustments for differences you may deem appropriate.
(7) Any contracts for Deed prior to closing.
(8) Original Amount of Mortgage, terms and balance owed on January 1 of the current year.
(9) Original copy of Closing Statement.
(10) Other items you may deem supportable as to your Petition before the V.A.B.
INFORMATION FOR TAXPAYERS IN CONNECTION WITH PETITIONS AND PROCEDURES OF THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
The Value Adjustment Board (VAB) is governed by Part I of Chapter 194, Florida Statutes, Rule 12D-10 of the Florida Administrative Code (FAC), and VAB Resolution No. R-05-175. Copies are available for review with most Value Adjustment Board Records Departments. A copy of Rule 12D-10.0044, FAC, providing uniform procedures for hearings, should be provided to you. T
he petitioner may wish to consult with or be represented by an attorney, but is not required to do so. However, the following information is provided to assist you:
1. Petitions that are not timely filed, not substantially complete, or filed on inappropriate forms may not be acted on by the
Special Magistrate without a hearing.
2. There is a legal presumption that the Property Appraiser's determination is correct. You, the taxpayer, have the burden
to prove that the Property Appraiser's assessment is in excess of the just value of your property.
3. You have more than likely already received a written request to furnish evidence to the Property Appraiser. NO testimony or evidence
may be presented at the hearing if copies of all documentation and a summary of evidence are not presented to Board Records at least fifteen (15) days before your hearing date.
4. Extenuating circumstances that will be considered by the Value Adjustment Board or Special Magistrate, when
authorized by law, shall mean documented circumstances that make performance practically impossible, such as serious illness or
a major life catastrophe.
5. All petitioners and witnesses (including the Property Appraiser and his witnesses) will be required to testify under oath
and may be cross-examined.
6. Only relevant evidence and testimony may be presented. For example, if you are contesting the value assigned by the
Property Appraiser, information pertinent to the value of your property, such as a recent appraisal, should be presented.
7. Neither the VAB nor the Special Magistrate can adjust the value of a property or grant an exemption on the basis of
hardship or by considering the ultimate amount of taxes required.
8. A verbatim record of the proceedings shall be made. Documents provided to the VAB or Special Magistrate will be
retained by the Clerk for the VAB.
9. The Property Appraiser may present his basis for the assessment after the petitioner presents his testimony and evidence.
10. You may not discuss matters related to your petition with the Special Magistrate except at the hearing. In addition, you
may not discuss matters related to your petition with members of the VAB.
11. Your hearing time may be continued or rescheduled after proper notice.
In the event you may be unable to attend the hearing, your petition will be reviewed in your absence, relying on the content
of your petition and evidence presented by the Property Appraiser.
All petitioners will be notified in writing of the decision by the VAB.
REVIEW BY THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
The VAB will convene to consider the recommendations of the Special Magistrate and to act upon all petitions. Review of
the Special Magistrate's recommendations will be granted only by motion adopted by a majority of the VAB and will be based on the
SUBMISSION OF ADDITIONAL TESTIMONY AND DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.
Homestead tax Exemptions, Refusal and Hearing (Fla. Stat. 196.151)
The property appraisers of the counties of the state shall, as soon as practicable after March 1 of each current year and on or before July 1 of that year, carefully consider all applications for tax exemptions that have been filed in their respective offices on or before March 1 of that year. If, upon investigation, the property appraiser finds that the applicant is entitled to the tax exemption applied for under the law, he or she shall make such entries upon the tax rolls of the county as are necessary to allow the exemption to the applicant. If, after due consideration, the property appraiser finds that the applicant is not entitled under the law to the exemption asked for, he or she shall immediately make out a notice of such disapproval, giving his or her reasons therefor, a copy of which notice must be served upon the applicant by the property appraiser either by personal delivery or by registered mail to the post office address given by the applicant. The applicant may appeal to the value adjustment board the decision of the property appraiser refusing to allow the exemption for which application was made, and the board shall review the application and evidence presented to the property appraiser upon which the applicant based the claim for exemption and shall hear the applicant in person or by agent on behalf of his or her right to such exemption. The value adjustment board shall reverse the decision of the property appraiser in the cause and grant exemption to the applicant if in its judgment the applicant is entitled thereto or shall affirm the decision of the property appraiser. The action of the board is final in the cause unless the applicant shall, within 15 days from the date of refusal of the application by the board, file in the circuit court of the county in which the homestead is situated a proceeding against the property appraiser for a declaratory judgment as is provided by chapter 86 or other appropriate proceeding. The failure of the taxpayer to appear before the property appraiser or value adjustment board or to file any paper other than the application above provided does not constitute any bar or defense to the proceedings.
FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE CODE
VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
* * *
12D-10.0044 Uniform Procedures for Hearings; Procedures for Information and Evidence Exchange Between the
Petitioner and Property Appraiser, Consistent with Section 194.032, F.S.; Organizational Meeting; Uniform Procedures to be
Available to Petitioners.
(1) The value adjustment board must accept Forms DR-486 and DR-486T, regardless that the value adjustment board uses
another such form, as permitted under Section 195.022, F.S.
(2) Subsequent to the mailing or sending of the hearing notice, and at least fifteen (15) days before the scheduled hearing,
the petitioner shall provide the property appraiser with a list and summary of evidence to be presented at the hearing. The list and
summary must be accompanied by copies of documentation to be presented at the hearing.
(3) No later than seven (7) days before the hearing, if the property appraiser receives the petitioner's documentation and if
requested in writing by the petitioner, the property appraiser shall provide the petitioner with a list and summary of evidence to be
presented at the hearing. The list and summary must be accompanied by copies of documentation to be presented at the hearing. The
evidence list must contain the property record card if provided by the clerk.
(4)(a) If the taxpayer does not provide the information to the property appraiser at least fifteen (15) days prior to the
hearing pursuant to subsection (2), the property appraiser need not provide the information to the taxpayer pursuant to subsection (3).
(b) If the property appraiser does not provide the information within the time required by subsection (3), the hearing shall be
(5)(a) The exchange in subsections (2) and (3) shall be delivered by regular or certified U.S. mail, personal delivery,
overnight mail, FAX or email. It shall be sufficient if at least three FAX or email attempts are made to such address. If more than one
FAX number is provided, three (3) attempts must be made for each number to satisfy this requirement. The taxpayer and property
appraiser may agree to a different timing and method of exchange.
"Provided" means made available in the manner designated by the
property appraiser or by the petitioner in his/her submission of information, as via email, facsimile, U.S. mail, or at the property
appraiser's office for pick up. If the petitioner does not designate his/her desired manner for receiving the property appraiser's
information, the information shall be provided by the property appraiser by depositing it in the U.S. mail.
(b) The information shall be sent to the address listed on the petition form; however, it may be submitted to an email or FAX
address if given.
(c) In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by these rules, the day of the act, event, or default from which the
designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included unless it is a
Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period shall run until the end of the next day which is neither a Saturday,
Sunday, or legal holiday. If the fifteenth day before a hearing is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the information under
subsection (2) shall be provided no later than the previous business day.
(6) Level of detail on evidence summary: The summary pursuant to subsections (2) and (3) shall be sufficiently detailed as
to reasonably inform a party of the general subject matter of the witness' testimony, and the name and address of the witness.
(7) Hearing procedures: Neither the Board nor the special magistrate shall take any general action regarding compliance
with this section, but any action on each petition shall be considered on a case by case basis. Any action shall be based on a
consideration of whether there has been a substantial noncompliance with this section, and shall be taken at a scheduled hearing and
based on evidence presented at such hearing. "General action" means a prearranged course of conduct not based on evidence received
in a specific case at a scheduled hearing on a petition. A property appraiser shall not appear at the hearing and use undisclosed
evidence that was not supplied to the petitioner as required. The normal remedy for such noncompliance shall be a rescheduling of the
hearing to allow the petitioner an opportunity to review the information of the property appraiser.
(8) The petitioner may reschedule the hearing one time by submitting a written request to the clerk of the board no less than
5 calendar days before the scheduled appearance.
(9) This rule provides procedures for information and evidence exchange between the petitioner and property appraiser,
consistent with Section 194.032, F.S., subject to the provisions of Section 194.034(1)(d), F.S., and subsection 12D-10.003(4), F.A.C.,
relating to a request by a property appraiser for information from the petitioner in connection with a filed petition, which information
need not be provided earlier than fifteen (15) days prior to a scheduled hearing pursuant to subsections (2) and (5).
(10) The value adjustment board shall hold an organizational meeting and must make the uniform procedures available to
petitioners. Such procedures shall be available a reasonable time following the organizational meeting and shall be available a
reasonable time before the commencement of hearings in conformance with this rule. The Board shall be deemed to have complied if
it causes petitioners to be notified in writing, along with or as part of the notice of hearing, of the existence and availability of its
procedures and include notice as to the exchange of information contained in this rule. The Board is authorized to use other additional
or alternative means of notification directed to the general public or specific taxpayers, as it may determine.
(11) Such procedures shall be available in time to permit parties to comply with them, and such procedures, and the
provisions of this rule, shall apply to petitions heard on and after January 1, 2003.
[Citations and Annotations omitted.]
Fla. Statute 194.011 Assessment Notice; Objections to Assessments
(1) Each taxpayer whose property is subject to real or tangible personal ad valorem taxes shall be notified of the
assessment of each taxable item of such property, as provided in s. 200.069.
(2) Any taxpayer who objects to the assessment placed on any property taxable to him may request the property
appraiser to informally confer with the taxpayer. Upon receiving the request, the property appraiser, or a member of
his staff, shall confer with the taxpayer regarding the correctness of the assessment. At this informal conference, the
taxpayer shall present those facts considered by the taxpayer to be supportive of the taxpayer's claim for a change
in the assessment of the property appraiser. The property appraiser or his representative at this conference shall
present those facts considered by the property appraiser to be supportive of the correctness of the assessment.
However, nothing herein shall be construed to be a prerequisite to administrative or judicial review of property
(3) A petition to the Value Adjustment Board shall describe the property by parcel number and shall be filed as
(a) The property appraiser shall have available and shall distribute forms prescribed by the Department
of Revenue on which the petition shall be made. Such petition shall be sworn to by the petitioner.
(b) The completed petition shall be filed with the clerk of the Value Adjustment Board of the county, who
shall acknowledge receipt thereof and promptly furnish a copy thereof to the property appraiser.
(c) The petition shall state the approximate time anticipated by the taxpayer to present and argue his
petition before the board.
(d) The petition may be filed, as to valuation issues, at any time during the taxable year on or before the
25th day following the mailing of notice by the property appraiser as provided in subsection (1). With respect to
an issue involving the denial of an exemption, an agricultural classification application, or a deferral, the petition
shall be filed at any time during the taxable year on or before the 30th day following the mailing of the notice by
the property appraiser under s.193.461 or s.196.193 or notice by the tax collector under s.197.253.
(e) A condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners' association as defined in
s. 723.075, with approval of its board of administration or directors, may file with the Value Adjustment Board a
single joint petition on behalf of any association members who own parcels of property which the property
appraiser determines are substantially similar with respect to location, proximity to amenities, number of rooms,
living area, and condition. The condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners' association
as defined in s. 723.075 shall provide the unit owners with notice of its intent to petition the Value Adjustment
Board and shall provide at least 20 days for a unit owner to elect, in writing, that his unit not be included in the
(f) An owner of contiguous, undeveloped parcels may file with the Value Adjustment Board a single
joint petition if the property appraiser determines such parcels are substantially similar in nature.
(g) The individual, agent, or legal entity that signs the petition becomes an agent of the taxpayer for the
purpose of serving process to obtain personal jurisdiction over the taxpayer for the entire Value Adjustment
Board proceedings, including any appeals of a board decision by the property appraiser pursuant to s. 194.036.
Court Case excerpts regarding Homestead Tax Exemption Denial:
Opportunity of homeowner to be heard in quasi-judicial proceeding before the Board of Tax Adjustment before denial of his homestead tax exemption meets requirements of due process. Horne v. Markham, 288 So.2d 196 (1973).
Time of filing
Evidence that April 1st deadline for applications for homestead exemption was necessary to comply with tax assessor's duty to complete tax roll by July 1st sustained finding that April 1st deadline was not arbitrary or unreasonable. Horne v. Markham, 288 So.2d 196 (1973).
A value adjustment board is not authorized to consider an application for a homestead exemption unless a timely application has first been filed with the property appraiser. Op.Atty.Gen., 2001-83, December 13, 2001.
The nature and extent of any investigation by the property appraiser concerning the validity of execution and filing of a homestead exemption application or short form renewal card by an agent operating under specific power of attorney are matters that must be administratively determined by the property appraiser pursuant to his express statutory duties to examine and investigate such homestead exemption application form to determine if it complies with Florida Law. Op.Atty.Gen., 082-99, Dec. 1, 1982.
Since no homestead application could be denied except by final action of the Board of Tax Adjustment, decision of tax assessor disapproving late application was a tentative administrative decision which did not require prior notice or hearing. Horne v. Markham, 288 So.2d 196 (1973).
County tax equalization boards, existing under and pursuant to former § 193.25 (see, now, § 194.011), could review the action of the tax assessors in denying applications for tax exemption, and grant the same in whole or in part. 1960 Op.Atty.Gen., 060-164, Oct. 11, 1960.
Finality of appeal
Where a homestead exemption application was filed and denied by county tax assessor, and equalization board acted on appeal or no appeal was taken, assessment became final and could not be reconsidered or reviewed by board of equalization after adjournment sine die. 1953-54 Op.Atty.Gen. 220.
Where antecedent to this section authorized board of county commissioners to equalize and correct tax assessments, and declared its action to be final, such action would only be final to the extent that party aggrieved had not resorted to the court within the prescribed period. 1943 Op.Atty.Gen. 198.
Where an application for homestead tax exemption was found to be false and the claimant not entitled thereto, after the same had been allowed, the exemption could be withdrawn and denied by the taxing officials, but the taxpayer should have had an opportunity to be heard upon the question of his claim before the tax assessor and the board of county commissioners in full compliance with antecedent to this section. 1961 Op.Atty.Gen., 061-1, Jan. 1, 1961.
Where an application for homestead tax exemption was duly filed with the county tax assessor, as required by former § 192.12 et seq. (see, now, § 196.031 et seq.), and approved by such tax assessor, the municipal tax assessor was not bound to follow the action of the county tax assessor in granting the exemption. 1951 Op.Atty.Gen. 261.
Failure to appear
Where tax assessor rejected application for homestead exemption, board of county commissioners was required to act on the disapproval, though applicant failed to appear and made no objection before the board of equalization. 1948 Op.Atty.Gen. 194.