Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year we get the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” in Palm Beach County and across Florida. In Florida we pay our property taxes “in arrears” or for the previous year. Thus, here’s the time line:
January 1st 2015 – Property values are set. Thus, the 2015 valuation of your property is based upon it’s value on January 1 2015 and thus closed sales in 2014.
August 15th – The Notice of Proposed Property Taxes is mailed to all property owners.
September 14, 2015 – Last day to file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board to dispute any information on the Notice including the property value, exemption(s) given, etc.
November 1st – Property tax bills emailed. Click here for information on the discounts given for prepayment of the tax bill.
OK, so after the sticker shock goes away look at the bottom half of the page at the value information. This is the important part as for most of us it’s the only part of the bill we can dispute. Keep in mind 2 important points when looking at this. First, is this was the value at the end of 2014, NOT TODAY. Values are going up again so think about what your property was worth last year not this. Also, keep in mind that the Property Appraiser systematically under appraises all properties. This is their attempt to reduce the volume of value adjustment board petitions. They may deny this fact at first but look at their own web site. Look up a property in say North Palm Beach and then use their tax calculator with a value of 400k. The proposed non ad valorem tax is $170 and the proposed millage rate is 0.22127. The estimated non homestead tax bill is 7693. Now take off the $170 of non ad valorem taxes and divide by the proposed millage rate of 22.127 dollars per 1,000 of appraised value. The result of this math is a tax appraisal number of $340k or 85% of our 400k market sale.
Now, look at your market value and divide this number by 0.85. The result is 117,647 per hundred thousand. If the tax man thinks your “Market Value” is say 300k then they are really saying the sales in your area support a 352,941 valuation. Now, the question becomes, do you think this is accurate. If the answer is no then you need to apply for a Value Adjustment Board hearing BEFORE SEPTEMBER 14, 1015.
I have made application to the VAB before and been successful. What I took away from the process is this: Do not use bank owned sales or short sales. They are allowed to disregard them. And, you will be giving an argument to an appraiser, not a judge, lawyer or Realtor. They operate like appraisers and expect a mathematical explanation of your position. A great way to get sales data is from the PAPA web site and look at the aerial view of recent sales.