The property tax appeal process is designed to help you challenge what your currently assessed value is, according to your local county property appraiser. All property owners can appeal their property tax assessment, if they feel it is too high or out of line with what neighbors are currently paying.
Check your property tax bill. If you didn't save the letter they sent to you in August (or never received it), you should be able to find your property tax information on line, on your local county's property tax appraiser's main website.
Who is eligible for the Homestead Exemption? Every person who holds legal or equitable title to real property, maintains it as his/her permanent residence, and is a legal resident of Florida as of January 1st of any year, can qualify for the exemption for that year.
Deadline to submit your Homestead Application (which saves being taxed on up to $50k of your market value) is usually March each year. But it may not be too late! If the property is in Miami-Dade county, you can sill submit the form. If another county, check their website or call to ask if you can still apply. And make sure there are no other exemptions you may be entitled to! It saves A LOT of money.
If you have owned a property and had it rented out, then moved back into it, becoming a new owner-occupant... you have to re-apply. Once you move out and your property becomes (technically) an investment/income producing property, you are no longer entitled to a Homestead exemption. If you lost it, but are now entitled to it, make sure to apply by March.
Besides asking your neighbors what their property tax bill is, it's a matter of public record! What does that mean? You can most likely do the research you need online, on your county's website. Look at what your neighbors are paying, compare it to your tax bill, and you may realize you are paying far more than you probably should be. Tax appraisals CAN be re-assessed!
Most municipalities limit property tax appeal applications to a very limited timeframe during each year, typically late August as the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes document is mailed out. Once you receive this letter, open it and compare to what you paid the previous year. If it's increased, you may want to consider doing some research and possibly going through the appeal process.
Also, there are property tax appeal businesses that will do the research and leg work for you. They typically only charge you a small percentage of the amount they save you on your tax bill IF they succeed. In our experience, when hiring a good tax appeal professional, they are honest with you up front and tell you whether you have a great chance of success or not. And they don't normally charge you anything unless and until they have successfully gotten your property tax assessment lowered, saving you potentially A LOT of money.
If you are an owner, and live in the property (owner-occupant), you have the most possible exemptions to claim against your tax bill. If you feel you aren't getting these discounts you're entitled to, you may benefit from going through the tax appeal process, or hiring a property tax appeal company to do the leg work for you.
Often we see a larger tax hike (increased market value assessment) on investment property than owner-occupied. There are several factors that you may be able to challenge, to get your property tax bill lowered. If you aren't comfortable doing the research yourself, you may benefit from hiring the services of a tax appeal company.
All owners can take advantage of the tax appeal process, whether owner--occupied or if they rent the property out to tenants. Just beware, in counties like Miami-Dade, if you JUST started renting the property out and lost your Homestead Exemption as a result, your property taxes will be higher as a result.
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