Value Adjustment Board
Table of ContentsValue Adjustment Board Members and Special Magistrates
Statewide Uniform Policies and Procedures
Deadline to File Petitions
Non-Refundable Filing Fees
Petition Contents and Instructions
Three Ways to File
Hearing Reschedule Requests
Appealing Final Decision of the Value Adjustment Board
Paying Your Property Taxes if You File a Petition with the VAB
Forms and ResolutionsDR-486 Petition to Value Adjustment Board
DR-486port (Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference)
DR-486mu (Multiple Parcels)
Local Policies and Procedures
Exchange of Evidence Form
Request to Reschedule Hearing
Request to Withdraw Petition
FILE PETITIONS OR CHECK PETITION STATUS USING myVAB
2014 Petitions: The online petition filing application is not ready to accept 2014 petitions yet. If you wish to file your petition now, you must do so by mail and pay by check or money order. When paying by check or money order, you will need to download the appropriate petition form above and mail it with your payment to the address above.
Access to Prior Year Filings: Click the links below to access prior year filings. Contact the VAB clerk at the address above if you need assistance.
VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD MEMBERS AND SPECIAL MAGISTRATES
In accordance with Fla. Stat. § 194.015, the Leon County Value Adjustment Board consists of two members of the Board of County Commissioners, one member of the school board, and two citizen members, one of whom shall be appointed by the Board of County Commissioners and must own homestead property within the county and one of whom must be appointed by the school board and must own a business occupying commercial space located within the school district. (Board members listed on County’s website.) A citizen member may not be a member or an employee of any taxing authority, and may not be a person who represents property owners in any administrative or judicial review of property taxes.
Hearing dates for 2014 have not been formally adopted by the Board. The Leon County Value Adjustment Board will hold its organizational meeting on August 12, 2014, at which time hearing dates will be approved, magistrates will be selected, and all other business issues addressed in accordance with Rule Chapter 12D-9.013, F.A.C. Leon County typically does not hold its first hearing until the 60th day following the mailing of the TRIM notices in order to allow sufficient time to mail hearing notices within 30 days of the hearing. This year the Property Appraiser's Office has tentatively planned to mail TRIM notices on August 18, which would put Leon’s first hearing date at October 17, 2014.
If TRIMS go out as planned, staff will recommend the following hearing schedule for 2014 hearings: OCTOBER 17-24 AND NOVEMBER 3-7, 2014.
Statewide Uniform Policies and Procedures
On February 24, 2010, the Governor and Cabinet approved the adoption of Rule Chapter 12D-9, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) and accompanying forms, and a partial repeal of Rule Chapter 12D-10, F.A.C. The effective date of the rules and forms was March 30, 2010. Rule Chapter 12D-9, F.A.C. is the primary component of the Uniform Policies and Procedures Manual. Value adjustment boards, board clerks, taxpayers, property appraisers, and tax collectors are required to follow these rules, as stated in sections Fla. Stat. § 195.027(1) and Fla. Stat. § 194.011(5)(b), Florida Statutes.
- Rule Chapter 12D-9, F.A.C;
- Provisions in Florida Statutes that govern value adjustment board procedures with the rights of taxpayers;
- Forms used in the value adjustment board process and;
Appendix - Other Legal Resources and Reference Materials
These additional resources should be used in conjunction with the Uniform Policies and Procedures Manual.
To assist the public and governmental agencies in understanding the requirements and exemptions to Florida's open government laws, the Attorney General's Office compiles a comprehensive guide known as the Government-in-the-Sunshine manual. The manual is published each year at no taxpayer expense by the First Amendment Foundation in Tallahassee. Click here for a copy of the most current manual. Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law was enacted in 1967. Today, the Sunshine Law regarding open government can be found in Chapter 286 of the Florida Statutes. These statutes establish a basic right of access to most meetings of boards, commissions and other governing bodies of state and local governmental agencies or authorities.
A taxpayer may file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) for the following reasons:
- The taxpayer objects to the Property Appraiser's value assessment of the taxpayer's real or personal property.
- The taxpayer's application for any of the following exemptions or special use classifications is denied:
- Fla. Stat. § 194.011(6)(a), gives a taxpayer an opportunity to file a petition appealing "...the amount of the assessment limitation difference for which the taxpayer qualifies as stated by the property appraiser in the county where the previous homestead property was located...." The taxpayer can also appeal the decision of the property appraiser in that county if the property appraiser "has not stated that the taxpayer qualifies to transfer any assessment limitation difference...." These petitions are filed with the value adjustment board in the county where the new homestead property is located. Fla. Stat. § 194.011(6) directs the Value Adjustment Board in that county to immediately send a notice of appeal to the Value Adjustment Board in the county where the previous homestead was located, and that board shall reconvene even if it has already adjourned.
The Property Appraiser's Office is often able to resolve objections through an informal conference with the taxpayer. These informal discussions take place in the Property Appraiser's Office located at 315 S. Calhoun Street, 3rd Floor. The telephone number is (850) 606-6200. Persons wishing to attempt to resolve matters with the Property Appraiser's Office prior to a hearing before the Value Adjustment Board should contact the office to schedule a meeting. It has been the past experience of the Leon County Property Appraiser's Office that most objections are settled informally, eliminating the need for a formal hearing before the Value Adjustment Board.
Petitions to the Leon County VAB will be heard by impartial special magistrates in a quasi-judicial forum. The primary week of hearings is reserved for (2014 dates to be determined) with (2014 dates to be determined) reserved for hearings as needed where either party is unavailable the prior week. Petitions are accepted in person at the Official Records Division, Clerk of the Circuit Court, 313 S. Calhoun Street, #101, as well as the Northeast Branch office at 1276 Metropolitan Blvd., #101. Both locations are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Northeast Branch office is also open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Petitions are accepted by mail at 301 S. Monroe Street, #100, Tallahassee, FL 32301 or at P.O. Box 726, Tallahassee, FL 32302-0726. Fla. Stat. § 194.032(1)(c)(2) requires that the petitioner be notified of his/her scheduled hearing date no later than 25 calendar days prior. Upon receipt of that notification, the petitioner has the right to reschedule one single time by submitting a written request to the VAB clerk no later than 5 calendar days prior to the date of the originally scheduled hearing (click here to submit that request electronically).
DEADLINES TO FILE PETITIONS
All petitions must be filed before the deadlines established by law. The filing date is the date on which
the petition is actually received by the VAB. It is not the date when the petition is deposited in the
US mail for delivery to the VAB. Filing deadlines are as follows:
- Assessment petitions: TRIMS are mailed by the Property Appraiser in August; petitions shall be filed within 25 days following. That date will be printed on the TRIM notice.
- Appeals of denials of homestead or other tax exemptions and special use classifications: Denials for agricultural exemptions are mailed by the Property Appraiser in June; denials for homestead exemptions are mailed in July; Fla. Stat. § 194.011(2)(d) establishes the deadline to file denial appeals as "any time during the taxable year on or before the 30th day following the mailing of the notice" mailed by the PA.
- Personal, family, or business crisis or emergency at a critical time or for an extended period of time that would cause a reasonable person’s attention to be diverted from filing; or
- Physical or mental illness, infirmity, or disability that would reasonably affect the petitioner’s ability to timely file; or
- Miscommunication with, or misinformation received from, the board clerk, property appraiser, or their staff regarding the necessity or the proper procedure for filing that would cause a reasonable person’s attention to be diverted from timely filing; or
- Any other cause beyond the control of the petitioner that would prevent a reasonably prudent petitioner from timely filing.
NON-REFUNDABLE FILING FEES
- There is a $15 filing fee for each separate parcel submitted for appeal to the Value Adjustment Board. Each separate parcel will require a separate petition form. However, the filing fee can be paid with one check or debit/credit card transaction. Make checks payable to Leon County Clerk of Court--VAB."
- The fee for the first contiguous or multiple parcel is $15 for the first parcel; subsequent parcels are $5 each. A single joint petition may be filed by a condominium association, cooperative association, homeowners association or timeshare/interval ownership type entity with the approval of its Board of Directors or Administration. Form DR-486MU should be completed and attached to the petition form in these situations. NOTE: The petitioner must obtain approval from and signature of Property Appraiser staff prior to filing a joint assessment petition; otherwise, the parcels must be filed individually and the filing fee is $15 per parcel.
- There is no filing fee for denial of homestead or homestead tax deferral appeals, provided that denial is not because of a late-filed application.
According to Fla. Stat. § 194.013(3), the filing fee must be paid when the VAB petition is filed or the petition will be considered invalid and rejected. The Value Adjustment Board shall waive the filing fee with respect to a petition filed by a taxpayer who demonstrates at the time of filing, by an appropriate certificate or other documentation issued by the Department of Children and Family Services and submitted with the petition, that the petitioner is then an eligible recipient of temporary assistance under Fla. Stat. § 414 and Fla. Stat. § 194.013(3).
PETITION CONTENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS
Please be sure the petition includes the following information:
- Addresses and telephone numbers of persons whose privacy is protected by the public records law as specified in Fla. Stat. § 119.071(4) will be redacted if the petitioner notifies the VAB Deputy Clerk of that right. (See "Request for Redaction of Confidential Personal Information" form posted on the Clerk's website.)
- Parcel Number
- Owner of Record
- Signatures of the owner or designated agent, as appropriate
- Time limit estimate
- Dates not available for hearing
- Hard copies of exhibits or attachments to petitions will not be returned and should be identified with the property's parcel number and owner of record. Subsequent evidence exchange, if any, is handled directly with the Property Appraiser. An exception is made if the petitioner does not plan to be present at the hearing. In those instances only, the petitioner needs to submit evidence to the Clerk. (Refer to "Hearing Information and Reschedule Requests" below for additional information regarding evidence exchange.)
- When a petition that involves multiple parcels is filed, Fla. Stat. § 194.011(3)(e)(f) provides for the petition to include a determination from the property appraiser that the parcels are substantially similar. If this determination is not included with the petition, the filing fee will be $15 per parcel. If the determination is included with the petition, the filing fee is $15 for the first parcel and $5 for each parcel thereafter. (Refer to Department of Revenue Property Tax Oversight Bulletin PTO 10-26 for additional information.) Petitioners are strongly encouraged to obtain this determination prior to submitting a single, joint petition by completing Form DR486MU and then contacting the Property Appraiser’s Office to receive a final determination on whether or not these parcels meet the statutory criteria that allows them to be filed as multiple parcels on one petition. The Property Appraiser’s Office mailing address is 315 S. Calhoun Street, 3rd Floor, Tallahassee, FL 32301. To submit your list electronically contact the Property Appraiser’s Office for an e-mail address (850-606-6200). After receiving the property appraiser’s determination that the parcels are substantially similar in nature, file the single, joint petition with the Value Adjustment Board. Complete Form DR-486 for each group of parcels, as determined by the Property Appraiser, with a completed Form DR-486MU that has been signed by a Property Appraiser’s Office staff member. NOTE: Condominiums, cooperative, or homeowners’ associations, as agents, should attach a copy of the Board of Administration or Directors’ Resolution authorizing this filing. The Property Appraiser’s Office staff will not file petitions on a petitioner’s behalf.
THREE WAYS TO FILE
- File online at https://vab.clerk.leon.fl.us/ and pay by credit/debit card only. A $4.95 convenience fee, charged by the credit/debit card company, will be added to your transaction.
- Mail petition with check or money order to the Leon County Clerk of Court, Value Adjustment Board, ATTN: Clerk Administration Division, P. O. Box 726, Tallahassee, FL 32302-0726.
- Hand-deliver petitions to the Official Records Division at 313 S. Calhoun Street, #101, or to the Leon County Clerk Northeast Branch, 1276 Metropolitan Blvd., #101, Tallahassee and pay by check or credit card. All locations are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; the Northeast Branch office is open on Saturday as well from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Requests to withdraw petitions must be made in writing to the VAB Clerk. The clerk shall cancel the hearing upon receiving a notice of withdrawal from the petitioner and there shall be no further proceeding on the matter.
- Withdrawals can be mailed, faxed, or hand delivered to the address above.
- Click here to download withdrawal form and submit electronically.
HEARING RESCHEDULE REQUESTS
The VAB clerk will schedule a hearing date and time for all petitioners. Each petitioner should receive a written notice of hearing at least 25 calendar days prior to the hearing. The address used to mail these notices will be the petitioner’s mailing address appearing on the petition form. The hearing schedule should be followed as closely as possible without interfering with each party’s right to be heard. If hearings are not started within two hours of the scheduled block of time, the petitioner can request to be heard immediately, have the hearing rescheduled, or withdraw the petition."
A petitioner has the right, one single time, to reschedule a hearing by submitting a written request to the VAB at least 5 days before the originally scheduled hearing. Reschedule request received outside of those days must show good cause. A petitioner may reschedule his/her hearing an unlimited number of times if good cause for the rescheduling is shown.Click here to submit reschedule request electronically. Alternatively, the request can be faxed or emailed to the VAB clerk at 850-577-4013 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (NOTE: This form will be updated with the new hearing dates as soon as the Board makes that determination.).
Florida Statutes provide that at least fifteen (15) days before the hearing, the petitioner shall provide the property appraiser with a list and summary of evidence, accompanied by copies of documentation, to be presented at the hearing. Even if a petitioner does not comply with Fla. Stat. § 194.011(4)(a), the petitioner may still present evidence and the board or special magistrate may accept such evidence for consideration. However, as described in Chapter 12D-9.020, Fla. Adm. Code, if the property appraiser asks in writing for specific evidence before the hearing in connection with a filed petition, and the petitioner has this evidence and knowingly refuses to provide it to the property appraiser a reasonable time before the hearing, the evidence cannot be presented by the petitioner or accepted for consideration by the board or special magistrate. If the petitioner wishes to initiate evidence exchange, the petitioner should:
- Give the property appraiser a list of evidence and copies of documents that will be presented at the hearing, at least 15 days before the hearing date.
- Ask in writing for the property appraiser to provide a list and summary of the evidence that he or she will present at the hearing. If the petitioner does not provide evidence information at least 15 days before the hearing, the property appraiser does not need to provide this information.
- If the petitioner makes the request, the property appraiser must provide the information at least 7 days before the hearing. If the property appraiser does not provide the information at least 7 days before the hearing, the hearing will be rescheduled.
- If an agent represents the taxpayer, he or she may ask the property appraiser for confidential information. Before the property appraiser can release any confidential information, the agent must provide a copy of written authorization from you. Please refer to Fla. Stat. § 194.011 for more information regarding evidence exchange.)
- Unless you are (1) a petitioner who does not appear at a hearing on a "portability" assessment difference transfer petition in which the previous homestead is the subject of the petition and is located in a county other than the county where the new homestead is located [requirements specific to hearings on such petitions are set forth in subsection 12D-9.028(6), F.A.C.]; or (2) a petitioner who has indicated that he or she does not wish to appear at the hearing but would like for the special magistrate to consider evidence submitted by the petitioner, always submit evidence to the Leon County Property Appraiser. Only in these two type cases will the board clerk present the evidence to the magistrate. See subsection 12D-9.025(4)(c).
The Leon County Value Adjustment Board has an optional evidence exchange form for use if the petitioner wishes (click here).
Hearings before a value adjustment board are not proceedings that require an attorney or agent. However, depending on the complexity or value of the property, petitioners may want an attorney or tax agent to represent them at the hearing.
After the hearing the special magistrate may make known what his/her recommendation to the VAB will be or defer his/her decision until after a more thorough review of the information. Once the special magistrate finalizes his/her recommendation, and VAB counsel has reviewed it for legal sufficiency, the clerk will promptly send that recommendation form to both parties with notification of the date, time, and place where the board will meet to review that recommendation and make its final decision. Parties are not required to attend these meetings; however, all meetings are open to the public. The value adjustment board may adopt the magistrate’s recommendations. However, if the board determines the magistrate failed to consider evidence or made an incorrect legal determination, the board can make a modified or different decision than the recommendation.
The Leon County Value Adjustment Board adopted a local policy (see Forms and Resolutions | Leon County VAB Resolution above) and agreed to not reconsider factual determinations made by special magistrates, but to consider only legal arguments when acting on the recommendations of special magistrates.
The clerk of the value adjustment board will notify both parties in writing of the board’s decision on a petition. The notice will explain whether any changes were made and will list the information that the board relied on, as well as the legal reason for reaching its decision.
APPEALING FINAL DECISION OF THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
Petitioners may file a lawsuit in circuit court if they do not agree with the decision of the value adjustment board.
NOTE: If you are considering appealing any decision of the value adjustment board pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 194.171, please be advised that you may need a record of the proceedings before the board and that preparation of a proper record transcript is the responsibility of the appealing party.
Paying Your Property Taxes if You File a Petition with the VAB
1. Do I have to pay my property taxes if I file a petition with the VAB?
If you have filed a petition challenging the assessed value of your property, you must pay all of the non-ad valorem assessments and pay at least 75% of the ad valorem taxes, less the discount, if applicable, before the taxes become delinquent. (See § 194.014, Fla. Stat. for additional information.)
If you have filed a petition challenging the denial of an exemption or classification, you must pay all of the non-ad valorem assessments and the amount of the tax which the taxpayer admits in good faith to owe, less the applicable discount, before the taxes become delinquent. If the VAB determines that the amount of the tax paid is grossly disproportionate to the amount of the tax found to be due, the tax collector must collect a penalty of 10% of the deficiency per year from the date the taxes became delinquent.
If the petitioner fails to pay their taxes before they become delinquent on April 1 following the year in which taxes are assessed, the VAB must deny their petition by April 20.
If the VAB determines that the petitioner owes ad valorem taxes in excess of the amount paid, the unpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12% per year from the date the taxes became delinquent until the unpaid amount is paid. If the VAB determines that a refund is due, the overpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12% per from the date the taxes became delinquent until the refund is paid. Interest does not accrue on amounts paid in excess of 100% of the current taxes due on the tax notice.
2. What steps should be taken to obtain a refund if a taxpayer remits the tax payment prior to the VAB granting approval of the challenge to reduce the tax obligation? The taxpayer should contact the Tax Collector’s Office to obtain the refund application. The refund will be issued to the party who remitted the tax payment.
3. If a taxpayer doesn’t pay the taxes in the month of November, can the 4% discount be allowed later when the VAB renders its final decision? Yes, but only if the VAB rules in favor of the taxpayer (see #2 above for refund procedures if taxes are paid before the final decision is rendered). Taxpayers whose tax liability is altered as a result of the Value Adjustment Board action shall have 30 days from the mailing of a corrected tax notice to pay taxes. A 4% discount shall apply to such payments. Thereafter, the regular discount periods shall be applicable. If the VAB rules in favor of the Property Appraiser the taxpayer is not afforded the 4% discount if the tax payment is not made by November 30 (postmarks accepted).
4. Will a discount be allowed after the month of February if a taxpayer hasn’t paid the taxes and the VAB denies the challenge? No. Discounts are honored if a tax payment is made between November and February. No discounts are allowed in March. The taxpayer must pay the taxes in accordance with § 197.162, Fla. Stat. to receive a discount.
5. How will the property owner obtain a corrected tax notice if the VAB approves the challenge? The property appraiser will forward a certificate of correction of the tax roll to the Tax Collector for revision of the tax notice. Discounts will be applied, if applicable, and the corrected notice will be mailed to the property owner.
Please see the Tax Collector‘s website for additional information on tax discounts and other tax information.