Property Appraisers from around the State of Florida are beginning to report total market values for their respective counties, and all indications across the board are that property owners will see significant increases in both their property values and their ultimate ad valorem taxes in 2019. As a very relevant example, Orange County Property Appraiser Rick Singh recently touted "historically high property values" in boasting that the overall market value in Orange County has topped $206.1 billion. This will include double digit percentage growth for several municipalities.

Be aware of these likely increases, and pay close attention to your Truth In Millage (TRIM) notices when they are delivered in August. These TRIM notices will also be published online starting in early August, and property values will be posted as early as July online by each of the 67 Property Appraisers. There is a short window – 25 days – from the mailing of the TRIM notices in which you can administratively challenge your property valuation. If this deadline is missed, the only option is to file suit in circuit court directly (again, with a specific filing deadline of 60 days after the tax roll is certified).

Here are some tips:

  • The administrative appeal is conducted by the County's Value Adjustment Board (VAB), and the VAB petition deadline of 25 days after the mailing of the TRIM notice needs to be calendared once you receive your TRIM notice.
  • Filing a VAB petition – which comes with a $15 fee per parcel – ultimately opens the window for appealing your valuation. Next steps can include scheduling meetings with the Property Appraiser representative responsible for your parcel's valuation, or providing information to the Property Appraiser to support a lower valuation (appraisal reports, income data, comparable sales, etc.).
  • In the event these negotiations/discussions with the Property Appraiser are unsuccessful, you will next go to a VAB hearing, which is the heart of the administrative appeal process.
  • The VAB hearing is an opportunity for both sides to present evidence in front of an independent arbiter known as a Special Magistrate. The Special Magistrate will ultimately issue a Recommended Decision which is presented to the full VAB for review and approval.

Originally published in The Orlando Business Journal

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