Harvey Ruvin - Clerk of the Courts - Miami-Dade County, Florida

Value Adjustment Board - FAQ's

1. What is the "Value Adjustment Board?"

2. How do I go about appealing my property taxes?

3. Is there any way to resolve my property tax problem without having to file an appeal with the VAB?

4. Where will my VAB hearing be held?

5. What happens at the hearing?

6. How do I prepare for my VAB hearing?

7. Am I required to submit any supporting documentary evidence to the VAB and/or the Property Appraiser prior to the day of my hearing?

8. Can my VAB hearing be rescheduled to another date?

9. If I file an appeal with the VAB, will I still be required to pay the Tax Bill that is calculated on the Assessment I am challenging?

 

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1. What is the "Value Adjustment Board?"

The Value Adjustment Board's membership consists of the following:

  • Two (2) members of the governing body of the county as elected from the membership of the board of said governing body, one of whom shall be elected chairperson.
  • One (1) member of the School Board as elected from the membership of the school board.
  • One (1) citizen member appointed by the governing body of the county.
  • One (1) citizen member appointed by the school board.

The current members of the VAB are:

            Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Chair
            Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava 
            Ms. Lubby Navarro, School Board Member
            Mr. Anibal Duarte-Viera, Citizen Member
            Mr. Hani Jardack, Citizen Member

The Clerk of the Circuit and County Courts is the Clerk of the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). The VAB considers and renders a decision on all Special Magistrate recommendations regarding appeals of property assessed values, classifications and exemptions. The VAB has no jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates established by Taxing Authorities. The VAB's primary function is to hear evidence as to whether or not properties, petitioned for their consideration, are assessed at their proper value and/or whether tax exemptions or agricultural classifications should be approved. The VAB cannot change your assessed value or grant an exemption or agricultural classification for any other reason, such as inability to pay.

To assist the VAB, the VAB appoints Special Magistrates who are either qualified real estate appraisers, personal property appraisers, or attorneys, to conduct hearings and make recommendations to the VAB on all petitions. The primary issue for an Appraiser Special Magistrate to decide is whether or not the assessed value of the petitioned property exceeds its actual market value as of JANUARY 1st of the relevant tax year. The primary issues to be determined by Attorney Special Magistrates are whether exemptions or agricultural classifications should be granted based on the evidence presented.

Both the VAB and the Special Magistrates are independent of the Property Appraiser's Office. In fact, the Property Appraiser is merely another party before the VAB or the Special Magistrate, just as is the petitioner (taxpayer).

If the VAB decides that it does not agree with the Property Appraiser's Office regarding the assessed value of a petitioner's property, the VAB has the authority to reduce the property’s assessed value to its actual fair market value. If the VAB reduces an assessment within the limits described below, then the Property Appraiser must accept the reduction and may not appeal the VAB decision by filing a suit in the Circuit Court. If, however, the VAB decision results in a reduction exceeding the limits described below, the Property Appraiser may appeal the VAB decision by filing suit in Circuit Court.

ASSESSED VALUE
MAXIMUM ADJUSTMENT PERMITTED

$50,000 or less

In excess of $50,000, but not more than $500,000

In excess of $500,000, but not more than $1,000,000

In excess of $1,000,000

 

2.  How do I go about appealing my property taxes?

If you are contesting the "Market and/or Assessed" value of your property, you must file a petition with the VAB no later than 25 days following the mailing of the Property Appraiser's "Notice of Proposed Property Taxes". (NOTE: Proposed Property Tax Notices are mailed the last week of August).

Petition forms are available at the Property Appraiser's Office and the VAB. A filing fee of $15.00 per parcel of property (identified by a "Folio" number) is required when the petition is filed with the VAB.

Note:
In certain cases only a $5.00 filing fee per folio is required when joint petitions are filed by condominium associations, cooperatives and others.

If you are contesting the Property Appraiser's denial of your application for tax exemption or agricultural classification, you must file a petition with the VAB no later than 30 days following the mailing of the Property Appraiser's denial notice.

Note:
Denial notices are generally mailed on July 1st.

After the petition is filed, the VAB will schedule you to appear before a VAB appointed Special Magistrate who will hear testimony and consider evidence presented by you and the Property Appraiser's representative. After the hearing, the Special Magistrate will make a recommendation to the VAB as to whether or not an adjustment to your tax assessment should be granted, and the VAB will later consider and act on the Special Magistrate's recommendation without further hearing.
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3. Is there any way to resolve my property tax problem without having to file an appeal with the VAB?

Yes. You may request an informal conference with a representative from the Property Appraiser's Office to discuss the problem. If it is determined that an obvious error of "Omission" or "Commission" was made by the Property Appraiser's Office, the error can be corrected without having to file a petition with the VAB. However, if it is determined that no such error was made, and it is just a matter of a "difference of opinion" as to what the Market and/or Assessed value of your property should be, then you should file a petition with the VAB.
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4. Where will my VAB hearing be held?

VAB hearings are normally held at the Stephen P. Clark Center, 6th Floor, 111 NW First Street, Downtown Miami. Hearings may also be held at various other locations throughout the County depending on the number and type of cases filed.
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5. What happens at the hearing?

First, the Clerk of the VAB will schedule each petitioned property for a hearing at a certain date and time, during which hearing the petitioner may present evidence in support of his or her case. The Clerk will send the petitioner a written notice of the date, time and location of the hearing. An appearance by the taxpayer at the hearing is generally required, and the appeal will be determined by the Special Magistrate based on the merits of the evidence presented. Hearings before the Special Magistrate are informal. An authorized attorney or professional agent may represent a petitioner at this hearing, but such representation is not required.

At the hearing, the Special Magistrate will ask the petitioner to present evidence and testimony to support the appeal. After input from all parties, the Special Magistrate will make a written recommendation to the VAB; and the VAB will mail the petitioner a written copy of this recommendation within 20 days thereafter. Later, the VAB will also mail to the petitioner a final “Record of Decision Notice” after it officially adopts the Special Magistrate’s recommendation and certifies the assessment.
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6. How do I prepare for my VAB hearing?

If you are contesting the value of your property, you should be prepared to provide evidence to support your claim, such as comparable sales, income and financial statements, appraisal reports, photographs, etc...

If you are contesting the denial of an application for Tax Exemption or Agricultural Classification, you should be prepared to show that the Property Appraiser's reasons for denying the application were wrong. For example, a "Green Card" can be presented to establish U.S. residency requirements for Homestead Exemption, and dated aerial photographs of farm crops may be used to provide proof of agricultural use in Agricultural Classification cases. Please remember that the burden of proof is on the Petitioner/Taxpayer.
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7. Am I required to submit any supporting documentary evidence to the VAB and/or the Property Appraiser prior to the day of my hearing?

Exchange of Evidence Rule 12D-9.020(1)(a)-(c), F.A.C.:
     (1)(a)1. At least 15 days before a petition hearing, the petitioner shall provide to the property appraiser a list of evidence to be presented at the hearing, a summary of evidence to be presented by witnesses, and copies of all documentation to be presented at the hearing.
     2. To calculate the fifteen (15) days, the petitioner shall use calendar days and shall not include the day of the hearing in the calculation, and shall count backwards from the day of the hearing. The last day of the period shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period shall run until the end of the next previous day that is neither a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
     (b) A petitioner's noncompliance with paragraph (1)(a) does not affect the petitioner’s right to receive a copy of the current property record card from the property appraiser as described in Section 194.032(2)(a), F.S.
     (c) A petitioner's noncompliance with paragraph
(1)(a) does not authorize a value adjustment board or special magistrate to exclude the petitioner's evidence. However, under Section 194.034(1)(h), F.S., if the property appraiser asks in writing for specific evidence before the hearing in connection with a filed petition, and the petitioner has this evidence and knowingly refuses to provide it to the property appraiser a reasonable time before the hearing, the evidence cannot be presented by the petitioner or accepted for consideration by the board or special magistrate. Reasonableness shall be determined by whether the material can be reviewed, investigated, and responded to or rebutted in the time frame remaining before the hearing. These requirements are more specifically described in subsection (8) of this rule and in paragraphs 12D-9.025(4)(a) and (f), F.A.C. If you provide this evidence and make a written request for the property appraiser’s evidence, the property appraiser must give you his or her evidence at least seven days before the hearing. At the hearing, you have the right to have witnesses sworn.

 

8. Can my VAB hearing be rescheduled to another date?

Yes. Reschedules are granted in limited circumstances for good cause. Per Florida Statute 194.032, Good Cause means circumstances beyond the control of the person seeking to reschedule the hearing which reasonably prevent the party from having adequate representation at the hearing.
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9. If I file an appeal with the VAB, will I still be required to pay the tax bill that is calculated on the Assessment I am challenging?

The filing of this petition does not prevent the taxpayer from paying the taxes on a timely basis to obtain an early payment discount and to avoid the possible assessment of interest and penalties if the appeal is denied.  Also refer to:  Value Adjustment Board Requirement for Payment of Taxes.

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