The statutes you cite are not valid 'reasons for denial' Those are the statutes that allow the PAO to file a lien and penalties. The PAO must state the specific facts/reason(s) for the revocation, not cite statutes allowing a lien/penalties to be placed. The tax is paid in arrears so I don't understand the PAO methodology.
Homestead is established on January 1 of each tax year. Once the exemption is in place and the property was your primary residence as of January 1st, the rest of the year's exemption is granted by law.
The law provides the following criteria for a valid denial of an exemption by the property appraiser:
1. "The notification must state in clear and unambiguous language the specific requirements of the state statutes which the property appraiser relied upon to deny the applicant the exemption with respect to the subject property."
2. "The notification must be drafted in such a way that a reasonable person can understand specific attributes of the applicant or the applicant's use of the subject property which formed the basis for the denial."
3. "The notice must also include the specific facts the property appraiser used to determine that the applicant failed to meet the statutory requirements."
the exemption laws were amended in 2013 to delete the express requirement that a titleholder of a homestead must live on the homestead in order for the homestead to qualify for the homestead tax exemption. This amendment follows a 2012 decision of the Florida Supreme Court.
The fact that you notified them shows in good faith. The question is...were you in/on the property as a primary residence as of January 1, 2014 and did you have legal/equitable title as of January 1st 2014?
There is never a disadvantage of going to the VAB. In fact, you have every advantage, as you will then be able to formulate a defense and case, with all evidence handed to you and their reasoning(s) for denial before or if you decide to go to a circuit judge.