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Home > Blog > Real Estate (Commercial And Residential) > Challenging Property Tax Appraisals

Challenging Property Tax Appraisals


If you own a home in Florida, you likely already know that your property taxes are based on the appraised value of your property, as appraised by the governing authority, the county. The lower the appraisal, the less taxes you pay.

County property appraisers are human, and can make errors, and appraising property is as much a subjective art as an exact science. That all means that there may be room for you to challenge your appraised property value, and thus, lower your property taxes.

Homesteaded Property?

The first thing to remember is that if your home is homesteaded, your property taxes are capped in the amount that they can be raised yearly anyway. So, for those who have homesteaded property and who have lived in it for more than a year, there may not be much of a need to challenge the appraised value of your property.

Property appraisal and tax challenges are most beneficial for property owners:

  • Who own multiple properties, as only one can be homesteaded
  • Who own commercial property
  • Who are buying their first homesteaded property
  • Who are going from selling non-homesteaded property, to buying homesteaded property

Informal Negotiations

If you feel that the county has made a real objective error in the valuation of your home you may be able to get that error corrected informally, with just a call to the county appraiser’s office. But if the error is more subjective—you just disagree with the valuation—an informal resolution may not be available to you.

Filing Your Challenge

If an informal resolution can’t be reached, you will have to file a petition with the value adjustment board, akin to an administrative court, to have your case heard by a county magistrate or other official.

Although these are informal hearings, meaning that anybody can represent themselves in front of the board or magistrate, it is best to get professional legal representation—after all, the county will have a certified appraiser representing them.

What Evidence Will You Use?

The evidence you will use would be evidence that you would anticipate would be used to justify a lowering of the value of the property.

You can put forth comps from sales in the neighborhood, or provide evidence of why your property should be worth less, if there is something the appraiser didn’t consider (for example, property damage to the property that wasn’t readily apparent from the appraiser’s original inspection).

You can use non-tangible factors, such as a change in style or taste by the public (i.e. that your property’s style, look, layout or design is “not popular” for whatever reason, thus lowering its value).

You or your counsel may secure the services of your own expert appraiser, in order to counter the testimony being given by the county’s appraisers.

Buying a home? Get help with your closing. Call the West Palm Beach real estate lawyers at The Law Offices of Larry E. Bray today for help with your real estate sale or purchase.



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