In a declining real estate market, are appraisals truly reflective of today's values?

Recent turmoil in the real estate and financial markets, declining state tax revenues and potential voter revolts over property taxes have made it increasingly likely that property owners will face tax appraisals on their properties that will not reflect the reduced values of today's market conditions. In August, county Property Appraisers across Florida will be sending Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices to all property owners. TRIM notices advise property owners of their 2007 appraised values and property tax assessments liabilities.

Timing is important because any assessment appeal to the county Value Adjustment Board (VAB) must be filed with the VAB within 25 days following the mailing.

In our declining real estate market, property owners should scrutinize this year's assessed values with particularity and avail themselves of the assessment appeal process if warranted. Most county Property Appraisers have posted the proposed 2007 assessments on their Web pages, so taxpayers can take an early peek prior to the TRIM notices' being mailed.

Property tax savings from property assessment appeals flow directly to the bottom line and this opportunity should not be missed.