In August, Florida Property Appraisers will send out their TRIM notices, or Notice of Proposed Property Taxes, advising all tax payers of the proposed assessment on their properties. It is VERY important for the taxpayer to carefully review the TRIM notice and quickly determine whether the assessment is fair and accurate, as the mailing of the notice commences a very short window in which a tax appeal must be filed.
Florida law provides a taxpayer the option of appealing his or her assessment in an administrative appeal before the Value Adjustment Board ("VAB"). The appeal is commenced by filing a Petition with the Clerk of the Value Adjustment Board. This petition must be filed no later than 25th day following the mailing of the notice by the Property Appraiser. The deadline for filing the petition is normally found on the bottom of the TRIM notice. These forms can be obtained at the clerk's office or online at your property appraiser's website. There is a $15.00 filing fee for the petition and an additional $5.00 fee for each additional contiguous parcels - such as a group of lots. Petitions cannot be mailed and must be filed in person.
The TRIM notice also contains a phone number whereby the taxpayer can request an informal meeting with the property appraiser to discuss his or her assessment. The client should be advised that, should they wish to contest the assessment, he or she will need to file VAB Petition whether or not they have a meeting scheduled with the property appraiser. It is not uncommon for the property appraiser to agree to review the assessment, only to sandbag the taxpayer, telling them after-the-fact that the time has passed for the property appraiser to make a change.
John Chapman is the principal of The John Chapman Law Firm in Sarasota. He is Board Certified as a specialist in business litigation by the Florida Bar and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He focuses his litigation practice in the areas of construction, banking, real estate, commercial, employment contract, probate, and ad valorem tax litigation. Mr. Chapman represents property owners in ad valorem tax appeals based on valuation, as well as homestead, special use, and agricultural exemption issues.
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The John Chapman Law Firm, P.A., in Sarasota, represents clients who need an experienced business and estate litigation lawyer in Sarasota and Bradenton and throughout southwest Florida including Venice, Lakewood Ranch, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Tampa, Arcadia, Naples, Saint Petersburg, Fort Myers and other communities in Sarasota County, Manatee County, Hillsborough County, DeSoto County, Collier County, Lee County and Pinellas County.
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Sarasota, FL 34236
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