Basics of Appealing Your Florida Property Tax Assessment

Home values in many residential areas are declining, but that does not necessarily mean your property tax will do the same. If you think suspect your property tax is considerably higher than it ought to be, you can easily appeal your property assessment. Here are the steps making an appeal:

GATHER THE BASICS: The Who, Where, and When...

  • Look up the property tax appraisal district contact info for your state and county (or just check our web site - we've provided the info).
  • Be advised that tax laws differ from state to state, and different counties have different governing bodies or review boards that handle property valuations (again, we've provided the info on our site, for your convenience). 
  • Understand how the assessments are being processed in your locale and take note of the deadlines (once again...). If you file a day later than the set deadline, your appeal will not be considered for the current round of review and you may have to wait a year or even longer before you even get your challenge considered.

SCRUTINIZE FOR OBVIOUS ERRORS FIRST: Discrepancies are a Good Thing!

After that, pull your assessment records (sometimes right off the county site). The first thing to do is look for errors. These errors range from mistaken square footage to even mistaken addresses. You should scan these carefully and note any property changes, especially those that negatively impact your home value. It is also helpful to compare your property assessment with a recent appraisal for accuracy errors. Make sure that you document every error you find and every relevant detail as well. It will help your appeal to produce solid evidence for your claim.

DOCUMENT YOUR CLAIM: Get a Tax Appraisal!

Hire a Certified Residential Appraiser (CRA) that specializes in Southwest Florida tax appraisals for a new evaluation. The appraiser will analyze truly comparable homes in your area, most especially those that have been recently sold, to arrive at an objective valuation.

MAKE YOUR CASE: What it Takes to Win!

Some jurisdictions allow an informal meeting between you and your assessor. Sometimes this is all it takes. Present your case, provide the necessary documentation and you may end up with lower assessments and lower taxes. Many jurisdictions prefer a more formal procedure. You will have to file a formal appeal and then appear before a hearing board to hear your appeal. Your local assessment office (see the links on our site) details the process. A great way to do it is to sit in on someone else’s hearing to get familiar with the proceedings, since most hearings are public.

If you think you can’t handle it on your own, you may consider hiring a professional tax specialist or an attorney to represent you, but it's not required. Many of these consultants work on a contingency basis; meaning, they will take a percentage of the tax savings if they succeed in lowering your assessment. If it's a choice between than and arming yourself with a recent tax appraisal from a Certified Residential Appraiser, that specializes in Lee County, Florida and Collier County, Florida, get the appraisal. Without documentation, the case is inherently weak, and the proceedings are usually straightforward if you have solid documentation.

Got a Question?

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