Appealing a Property Tax Assessment
If you are a property owner in Palm Beach County, you will have received a Truth in Millage Notice. This document explains any proposed changes to the millage rate for each relevant taxing authority and provides your property’s assessed value. This is not your property tax bill for the year. However, it gives you a picture of what is to come. If you disagree with the assessed value of your home and believe it will lead to an incorrectly inflated property tax bill, then you should contact an experienced West Palm Beach residential real estate lawyer right away. You should file a petition to contest the assessment with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) by September 15.
When You Should Appeal
You should not move forward with a VAB assessment petition simply because you do not like the upcoming tax bill. Even if the bill is going to be higher than previous years, it may be entirely valid. Your property’s value may have increased, the tax rate may have gone up, and there may be special assessments for the county. However, there can be times when the assessment is not correct. If you believe inaccurate or incomplete information led the county tax appraiser to over-value your home, then you should speak with our attorneys about contesting the assessment.
Your Options Following an Incorrect Assessment
If you receive an assessment on your home that is too high, you actually have two options. Your first is to file a petition with the VAB. When you contest the value with the VAB, your argument is heard by a licensed appraiser and not a judge. This can be advantageous to you, as the appraiser will have a thorough understanding of property valuation methods. Some individuals choose to move forward with a VAB hearing without an attorney. However, this is not advisable. Your testimony during a VAB hearing is recorded and can be used in a later lawsuit. You should always have legal counsel who can advise you on your rights and the risks associated with your petition.
However, you can also file a lawsuit in your local court where a judge will preside over the dispute instead of filing a VAB petition. This may be necessary if you have a more complicated case and are not simply arguing there has been a mistake made during the assessment. If you choose to go to court, there will be more time to prepare, a more in-depth discovery phase, and you have the right to subpoena witnesses.
Contact Our Residential Real Estate Attorneys Today
If you know something is wrong with your property tax assessment, call us at the Law Offices of Larry E. Bray at 561-571-8970 immediately. We will review the assessment and information regarding your property to determine if a VAB petition is appropriate. If so, we can help you move forward with contesting your assessment. If the matter is more serious, we can discuss your right to go to court.