Florida property owners may benefit by filing a tax appeal in order to reduce the amount of real property taxes that they owe for 2010. The Property Appraiser’s Office in each county will begin mailing their annual estimated tax notices setting forth the estimated property taxes due for the 2010 tax year to property owners. The mailing will start by August 24, 2010.

This notice will reflect the assessed and taxable value for a particular parcel as calculated by each county’s property appraiser. Under Florida law, the property appraiser is required to follow certain statutory guidelines in determining the assessed value.

Every taxpayer has the right to question and appeal the property appraiser’s assessment of their property. The opportunity to challenge an assessment includes the right to an interview with the property appraiser’s office, the right to petition the county’s Value Adjustment Board for review and the right to bring an action in circuit court. While these rights are available to all taxpayers, they are subject to specific time limitations.

It is particularly important for all property owners to analyze this year’s tax assessment. Land values have been significantly influenced by an international economic downturn. Additionally, the Florida Legislature adopted House Bill 521 last year, significantly changing the presumptions previously afforded to the property appraiser’s assessment. Under the new law, the burden of proof has been placed on the property appraiser to establish that the assessment is based on practices in accordance with the legal requirements. This change in the law presents a unique opportunity to taxpayers since it eliminates a presumption of correctness in favor of the property appraiser.

We suggest you take a few minutes to review your estimated annual tax notice to determine whether you believe it accurately reflects the value of your property. If you own property in Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties, and would like to challenge your tax assessment or would like to clarify any issues or have questions concerning the status of your property, please contact us.

The Land Use Team at Holland & Knight is prepared to assist and guide you through the review of your 2010 tax notices. Our extensive experience enables us to help you navigate through the property tax appeal process. We are committed to ensuring that your assets and rights are protected during these trying economic times.