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Homestead Exemption Removal Notification Requirement

Author Dan Turner
Participant 

#1 - Posted: 18 Apr 2015 17:29 
I received a Notice of Intent to Record a Tax Lien from the Property Appraiser's Office due to my failure to "promptly" notify their office to remove the homestead exemption for the 2014 tax year. FS 193.155(10), 196.011(9)(a), and 196.161(1)(b) were all cited as justification for the notice along with the requirement to pay additional taxes, fees, and interest.

Although my request to the remove the 2014 tax year homestead exemption did not occur until early 2015, it did provide sufficient time for me to receive an updated tax bill and pay all 2014 property taxes prior to April 1, 2015.

Given that I paid all taxes prior to April 1 and that these statutes speak of recapturing taxes from prior tax years, it was not clear to me that these statutes applied to my situation. Therefore, I should not have to pay any penalty or interest.

Is there any official documentation/guidance/rules/case law that shed's light when such statutes should apply?

Thanks,
Dan

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#2 - Posted: 21 Apr 2015 08:09 
Dan,

You must file a Value Adjustment Board appeal within 30 days of the letter. After 30 days you must show good cause. Time is of the essence. In addition, you are only required to pay the taxes that you believe that you owe in good faith, noting more. The Property Appraiser is not allowed to go back ten years without proof or justification, but they do and sometimes get away with it. Based on your comments, I don't believe that the recapture rule applies. Please feel free to email me a copy of the denial letter or feel free to call for further discussion. 954-252-9111 or email us myhomestead at bellsouth dot net.

Author Dan Turner
Participant 

#3 - Posted: 22 Apr 2015 14:13 
Thank you for your recommendation. I contacted the VAB regarding filing an appeal and their attorney said that the VAB did not have jurisdiction over disputes concerning homestead liens and the penalty/interest assessed pursuant to 196.011(9)(a).

Is my only other recourse to file an appeal to the circuit court?

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#4 - Posted: 22 Apr 2015 14:39 
What was the change in 2014? You still have the right to appeal to an administrative magistrate (VAB) prior to court. The are jurisdictional limitations to circuit court also. If you go to the VAB and the magistrate agrees that the exemption stands, the lien may not be valid. you cannot 'appeal' to the circuit court since there is no VAB opinion on the matter. You will have to file a suit to quiet title and have the lien removed and/or a determination of the homestead issue.

Author Dan Turner
Participant 

#5 - Posted: 22 Apr 2015 15:44 
My dispute is not over the removal of the homestead exemption. I notified the property appraiser in early 2015 to remove the homestead exemption for tax year 2014. Rather my dispute is over the property appraiser using the "prompt" notification requirement, F.S. 196.011(9)(a), to justify the penalty/interest assessed on the additional taxes due to the removal of the exemption.

Is there any disadvantage to going to the VAB, even though their attorney believes the board lacks jurisdiction regarding the application of F.S. 196.011(9)(a)?

Author johnbsims3
Admin 

#6 - Posted: 22 Apr 2015 15:58 - Edited by: johnbsims3 
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.

Florida Exemptions, Laws and Statutes Florida Homestead Services -- Florida Homestead Exemption Act MiniBB / Florida Exemptions, Laws and Statutes /
Homestead Exemption Removal Notification Requirement
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