Draft PROPERTY TAX INFORMATIONAL BULLETIN September 20, 2011
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
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Value Adjustment Board Proceedings; Partial Payment of Ad Valorem Taxes;
Hearing Procedures; Discounts; Amount and Time
This advisory bulletin is a summary from the Department's legal staff to alert local officials and interested parties of a new law and to provide them with recommendations of possible ways of handling issues should they arise in implementation of this new law. Timing issues are some of the bigger challenges. In implementing this new law local officials must decide how they will handle these issues.
This advisory bulletin is a follow up to bulletin 11-07 dated July 21, 2011. The 2011 Legislature created Section 194.014, Florida Statutes, that requires taxpayers with pending value adjustment board petitions to a make a partial tax payment before the date of delinquency which is normally
April 1 of each year. (For example: before April 1, 2012 for 2011 taxes). The new law applies to petitions filed starting July 1, 2011. This new law is available at the following link:
This new statute provides that taxpayers must make a required partial payment of taxes on properties that will have a petition pending on or after the delinquency date. Failure to make the required partial payment before the delinquency date (normally April 1) will result in the denial of the petition under the statute. The required partial payment amount depends on the type of petition that was filed on the property. The partial payment requirements of the new law are, in summary:
(a) For petitions on the value of property, including portability, the required payment must include all of the non-ad valorem assessments and a partial payment of at least 75 percent of
the ad valorem taxes, less applicable discounts under Section 197.162, F.S.
(b) For petitions on the denial of a classification or exemption, or based on an argument that the property was not substantially complete as of January 1, the required payment must include all non-ad valorem assessments and the amount of the ad valorem taxes that the taxpayer admits in good faith to be owing, less applicable discounts under Section 197.162, F.S.
No partial payment is required if the petition concerns a denial of tax deferral. To protect taxpayer rights and to maximize efficiency, steps should be taken to implement this new law. An affected petitioner is one whose petition is pending after the tax payment delinquency date (normally April 1) or one whose petition the value adjustment board (VAB) determines could
potentially be pending after such delinquency date, and whose petition involves a parcel on which the required payment has not been made.
Due to the annual timing of applying the new law along with the county-by-county variation in the number of petitions and timing of the annual VAB process, VAB petitioners in a substantial number of counties will not be affected by the new law. In most other counties, depending on when the VAB finishes issuing final decisions, some petitioners will be affected and some will not. In a few of the largest counties, most or all VAB petitioners could be affected.
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Counties that in the past have had, or expect to have, VAB petitions pending after the delinquency date should be prepared to implement this new law. Counties that in the past have had, or expect to have, petitions pending near the delinquency date should also be prepared to implement the new law.
Taxpayer outreach steps could include a card or sheet explaining the new law, sent to taxpayers along with the tax bills, hearing notices, and at petition hearings with the VAB or special magistrate, informing petitioners of the new law. Tax Collectors should have taxpayer information about the new law on their websites. VAB clerks should include information on their websites, and Tax Collectors and Clerks should use other taxpayer/petitioner outreach efforts, including existing forms.
Tax collectors should provide information to the VAB clerk on lists of parcels for which the required tax payments have not been made, based on information provided by the VAB clerk for each petitioned parcel, by type of petition in the two groups involved under the new statute. In order for the VAB to perform its duties in implementing the new law, it appears the Tax
Collector would need to send to the VAB clerk a list of petitioned parcels for which the required payment had not been made before the delinquency date.
For pending petitions on issues other than value and where the required partial payment was made as required by the new law, the VAB clerk may need to receive from the Tax Collector a list of involved parcels showing the amount of the good faith payment made, so that under the new statute, the VAB or special magistrate could determine, if necessary, whether the payment made was grossly disproportionate to the amount found by the VAB or special magistrate to be owing.
The new law states: "The value adjustment board must deny the petition by written decision by April 20 if the petitioner fails to make the payment required by this subsection. In making its determinations by April 20, the VAB would need to allow for payments mailed by the taxpayer
before the delinquency date but received by the Tax Collector after such date. If a required partial payment is not made before the delinquency date (normally April 1), the VAB is required to deny the petition by written decision by April 20. It will be important for the VAB to make provision for re-instatement of petitions in cases where a denial of a petition under the new law was in error. The Department is developing a form for these denials and changes to other VAB forms to reflect this new law.
If you have any questions or concerns about this bulletin, please email the Department at VAB@dor.state.fl.us