Florida Statutes CHAPTER 194
ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL REVIEW OF PROPERTY TAXES
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW (ss. 194.011-194.037)
JUDICIAL REVIEW (ss. 194.171-194.231)
ASSESSMENT: PRESUMPTION OF CORRECTNESS (s. 194.301)
194.011 Assessment notice; objections to assessments.
194.013 Filing fees for petitions; disposition; waiver.
194.015 Value adjustment board.
194.032 Hearing purposes; timetable.
194.034 Hearing procedures; rules.
194.035 Special magistrates; property evaluators.
194.037 Disclosure of tax impact.
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 or her may request the property appraiser to informally confer with the taxpayer. Upon receiving the request, the property appraiser, or a member of his or her 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 or her 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 assessments.
(3) A petition to the value adjustment board must be in substantially the form prescribed by the department. Notwithstanding s. 195.022, a county officer may not refuse to accept a form provided by the department for this purpose if the taxpayer chooses to use it. A petition to the value adjustment board shall describe the property by parcel number and shall be filed as follows:
(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 or her 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 or high-water recharge classification application, an application for classification as historic property used for commercial or certain nonprofit purposes, or a deferral, the petition must 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, s. 193.503, s. 193.625, or s. 196.193 or notice by the tax collector under s. 197.253.
(e) A condominium association, cooperative association, or any 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 or her unit not be included in the petition.
(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.
(4)(a) At least 15 days before the hearing the petitioner shall provide to the property appraiser a list of evidence to be presented at the hearing, together with copies of all documentation to be considered by the value adjustment board and a summary of evidence to be presented by witnesses.
(b) No later than 7 days before the hearing, if the petitioner has provided the information required under paragraph (a), and if requested in writing by the petitioner, the property appraiser shall provide to the petitioner a list of evidence to be presented at the hearing, together with copies of all documentation to be considered by the value adjustment board and a summary of evidence to be presented by witnesses. The evidence list must contain the property record card if provided by the clerk. Failure of the property appraiser to timely comply with the requirements of this paragraph shall result in a rescheduling of the hearing.
(5) The department shall by rule prescribe uniform procedures for hearings before the value adjustment board which include requiring:
(a) Procedures for the exchange of information and evidence by the property appraiser and the petitioner consistent with s. 194.032; and
(b) That the value adjustment board hold an organizational meeting for the purpose of making these procedures available to petitioners.
History.--s. 25, ch. 4322, 1895; GS 525; s. 1, ch. 5605, 1907; ss. 23, 66, ch. 5596, 1907; RGS 723, 724; CGL 929, 930; s. 1, ch. 67-415; ss. 1, 2, ch. 69-55; s. 1, ch. 69-140; ss. 21, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 25, ch. 70-243; s. 34, ch. 71-355; s. 11, ch. 73-172; s. 5, ch. 76-133; s. 1, ch. 76-234; s. 1, ch. 77-102; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 2, ch. 78-354; s. 36, ch. 80-274; s. 13, ch. 82-208; ss. 8, 55, 80, ch. 82-226; s. 209, ch. 85-342; s. 1, ch. 86-175; s. 1, ch. 88-146; s. 143, ch. 91-112; s. 1, ch. 92-32; s. 977, ch. 95-147; s. 6, ch. 95-404; s. 4, ch. 96-204; s. 3, ch. 97-117; s. 2, ch. 2002-18; s. 1, ch. 2004-349.
Note.--Former s. 193.25.
194.013 Filing fees for petitions; disposition; waiver.--
(1) If so required by resolution of the value adjustment board, a petition filed pursuant to s. 194.011 shall be accompanied by a filing fee to be paid to the clerk of the value adjustment board in an amount determined by the board not to exceed $15 for each separate parcel of property, real or personal, covered by the petition and subject to appeal. However, no such filing fee may be required with respect to an appeal from the disapproval of homestead exemption under s. 196.151 or from the denial of tax deferral under s. 197.253. Only a single filing fee shall be charged under this section as to any particular parcel of property despite the existence of multiple issues and hearings pertaining to such parcel. For joint petitions filed pursuant to s. 194.011(3)(e) or (f), a single filing fee shall be charged. Such fee shall be calculated as the cost of the special magistrate for the time involved in hearing the joint petition and shall not exceed $5 per parcel. Said fee is to be proportionately paid by affected parcel owners.
(2) The value adjustment board shall waive the filing fee with respect to a petition filed by a taxpayer who demonstrates at the time of filing, by an appropriate certificate or other documentation issued by the Department of Children and Family Services and submitted with the petition, that the petitioner is then an eligible recipient of temporary assistance under chapter 414.
(3) All filing fees imposed under this section shall be paid to the clerk of the value adjustment board at the time of filing. If such fees are not paid at that time, the petition shall be deemed invalid and shall be rejected.
(4) All filing fees collected by the clerk shall be allocated and utilized to defray, to the extent possible, the costs incurred in connection with the administration and operation of the value adjustment board.
History.--s. 19, ch. 83-204; s. 210, ch. 85-342; s. 2, ch. 86-175; s. 4, ch. 86-300; s. 2, ch. 88-146; s. 144, ch. 91-112; s. 55, ch. 96-175; s. 18, ch. 99-8; s. 3, ch. 2000-262; s. 70, ch. 2004-11.
194.015 Value adjustment board.--There is hereby created a value adjustment board for each county, which shall consist of three members of the governing body of the county as elected from the membership of the board of said governing body, one of whom shall be elected chairperson, and two members of the school board as elected from the membership of the school board. The members of the board may be temporarily replaced by other members of the respective boards on appointment by their respective chairpersons. Any three members shall constitute a quorum of the board, except that each quorum must include at least one member of said governing board and at least one member of the school board, and no meeting of the board shall take place unless a quorum is present. Members of the board may receive such per diem compensation as is allowed by law for state employees if both bodies elect to allow such compensation. The clerk of the governing body of the county shall be the clerk of the value adjustment board. The office of the county attorney may be counsel to the board unless the county attorney represents the property appraiser, in which instance the board shall appoint private counsel who has practiced law for over 5 years and who shall receive such compensation as may be established by the board. No meeting of the board shall take place unless counsel to the board is present. However, counsel for the property appraiser shall not be required when the county attorney represents only the board at the board hearings, even though the county attorney may represent the property appraiser in other matters or at a different time. Two-fifths of the expenses of the board shall be borne by the district school board and three-fifths by the district county commission.
History.--s. 2, ch. 69-140; s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 26, ch. 70-243; s. 22, ch. 73-172; s. 5, ch. 74-234; s. 1, ch. 75-77; s. 6, ch. 76-133; s. 2, ch. 76-234; s. 1, ch. 77-69; s. 145, ch. 91-112; s. 978, ch. 95-147.
194.032 Hearing purposes; timetable.--
(1)(a) The value adjustment board shall meet not earlier than 30 days and not later than 60 days after the mailing of the notice provided in s. 194.011(1); however, no board hearing shall be held before approval of all or any part of the assessment rolls by the Department of Revenue. The board shall meet for the following purposes:
1. Hearing petitions relating to assessments filed pursuant to s. 194.011(3).
2. Hearing complaints relating to homestead exemptions as provided for under s. 196.151.
3. Hearing appeals from exemptions denied, or disputes arising from exemptions granted, upon the filing of exemption applications under s. 196.011.
4. Hearing appeals concerning ad valorem tax deferrals and classifications.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a), the value adjustment board may meet prior to the approval of the assessment rolls by the Department of Revenue, but not earlier than July 1, to hear appeals pertaining to the denial by the property appraiser of exemptions, agricultural and high-water recharge classifications, classifications as historic property used for commercial or certain nonprofit purposes, and deferrals under subparagraphs (a)2., 3., and 4. In such event, however, the board may not certify any assessments under s. 193.122 until the Department of Revenue has approved the assessments in accordance with s. 193.1142 and all hearings have been held with respect to the particular parcel under appeal.
(c) In no event may a hearing be held pursuant to this subsection relative to valuation issues prior to completion of the hearings required under s. 200.065(2)(c).
(2) The clerk of the governing body of the county shall prepare a schedule of appearances before the board based on petitions timely filed with him or her. The clerk shall notify each petitioner of the scheduled time of his or her appearance no less than 25 calendar days prior to the day of such scheduled appearance. Upon receipt of this notification, the petitioner shall have the right to reschedule the hearing a single time by submitting to the clerk of the governing body of the county a written request to reschedule, no less than 5 calendar days before the day of the originally scheduled hearing. A copy of the property record card containing relevant information used in computing the taxpayer's current assessment shall be included with such notice, if said card was requested by the taxpayer. Such request shall be made by checking an appropriate box on the petition form. No petitioner shall be required to wait for more than 4 hours from the scheduled time; and, if his or her petition is not heard in that time, the petitioner may, at his or her option, report to the chairperson of the meeting that he or she intends to leave; and, if he or she is not heard immediately, the petitioner's administrative remedies will be deemed to be exhausted, and he or she may seek further relief as he or she deems appropriate. Failure on three occasions with respect to any single tax year to convene at the scheduled time of meetings of the board shall constitute grounds for removal from office by the Governor for neglect of duties.
(3) The board shall remain in session from day to day until all petitions, complaints, appeals, and disputes are heard. If all or any part of an assessment roll has been disapproved by the department pursuant to s. 193.1142, the board shall reconvene to hear petitions, complaints, or appeals and disputes filed upon the finally approved roll or part of a roll.
History.--s. 4, ch. 69-140; ss. 21, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 27, ch. 70-243; s. 12, ch. 73-172; s. 6, ch. 74-234; s. 7, ch. 76-133; s. 3, ch. 76-234; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 13, ch. 77-301; ss. 1, 9, 37, ch. 80-274; s. 5, ch. 81-308; ss. 14, 16, ch. 82-208; ss. 9, 11, 23, 26, 80, ch. 82-226; ss. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, ch. 83-204; s. 146, ch. 91-112; s. 979, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 96-204; s. 4, ch. 97-117; s. 2, ch. 98-52; s. 3, ch. 2002-18; s. 2, ch. 2004-349.
194.034 Hearing procedures; rules.--
(1)(a) Petitioners before the board may be represented by an attorney or agent and present testimony and other evidence. The property appraiser or his or her authorized representatives may be represented by an attorney in defending the property appraiser's assessment or opposing an exemption and may present testimony and other evidence. The property appraiser, each petitioner, and all witnesses shall be required, upon the request of either party, to testify under oath as administered by the chairperson of the board. Hearings shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by rules of the department, which rules shall include the right of cross-examination of any witness.
(b) Nothing herein shall preclude an aggrieved taxpayer from contesting his or her assessment in the manner provided by s. 194.171, whether or not he or she has initiated an action pursuant to s. 194.011.
(c) The rules shall provide that no evidence shall be considered by the board except when presented during the time scheduled for the petitioner's hearing or at a time when the petitioner has been given reasonable notice; that a verbatim record of the proceedings shall be made, and proof of any documentary evidence presented shall be preserved and made available to the Department of Revenue, if requested; and that further judicial proceedings shall be as provided in s. 194.036.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, no petitioner may present for consideration, nor may a board or special magistrate accept for consideration, testimony or other evidentiary materials that were requested of the petitioner in writing by the property appraiser of which the petitioner had knowledge and denied to the property appraiser.
(e) Chapter 120 does not apply to hearings of the value adjustment board.
(f) An assessment may not be contested until a return required by s. 193.052 has been filed.
(2) In each case, except when a complaint is withdrawn by the petitioner or is acknowledged as correct by the property appraiser, the value adjustment board shall render a written decision. All such decisions shall be issued within 20 calendar days of the last day the board is in session under s. 194.032. The decision of the board shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall include reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the property appraiser. When a special magistrate has been appointed, the recommendations of the special magistrate shall be considered by the board. The clerk, upon issuance of the decisions, shall, on a form provided by the Department of Revenue, notify by first-class mail each taxpayer, the property appraiser, and the department of the decision of the board.
(3) Appearance before an advisory board or agency created by the county may not be required as a prerequisite condition to appearing before the value adjustment board.
(4) A condominium homeowners' association may appear before the board to present testimony and evidence regarding the assessment of condominium units which the association represents. Such testimony and evidence shall be considered by the board with respect to hearing petitions filed by individual condominium unit owners, unless the owner requests otherwise.
(5) For the purposes of review of a petition, the board may consider assessments among comparable properties within homogeneous areas or neighborhoods.
(6) For purposes of hearing joint petitions filed pursuant to s. 194.011(3)(e), each included parcel shall be considered by the board as a separate petition. Such separate petitions shall be heard consecutively by the board. If a special magistrate is appointed, such separate petitions shall all be assigned to the same special magistrate.
History.--s. 21, ch. 83-204; s. 12, ch. 83-216; s. 3, ch. 86-175; s. 147, ch. 91-112; s. 2, ch. 92-32; s. 980, ch. 95-147; s. 71, ch. 2004-11.
194.035 Special magistrates; property evaluators.--
(1) In counties having a population of more than 75,000, the board shall appoint special magistrates for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations to the board, which recommendations the board may act upon without further hearing. These special magistrates may not be elected or appointed officials or employees of the county but shall be selected from a list of those qualified individuals who are willing to serve as special magistrates. Employees and elected or appointed officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of the state may not serve as special magistrates. The clerk of the board shall annually notify such individuals or their professional associations to make known to them that opportunities to serve as special magistrates exist. The Department of Revenue shall provide a list of qualified special magistrates to any county with a population of 75,000 or less. Subject to appropriation, the department shall reimburse counties with a population of 75,000 or less for payments made to special magistrates appointed for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations to the value adjustment board pursuant to this section. The department shall establish a reasonable range for payments per case to special magistrates based on such payments in other counties. Requests for reimbursement of payments outside this range shall be justified by the county. If the total of all requests for reimbursement in any year exceeds the amount available pursuant to this section, payments to all counties shall be prorated accordingly. A special magistrate ap