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Understanding Florida’s Commercial Property Taxes and Your Options in Appealing the Assessment

Taxes are a necessary evil of entrepreneurship. For a business owner fortunate enough to own his or her own commercial property, the property value assessment – and resulting tax bill – can create one of the most burdensome financial strains a business can face. As well, it is not uncommon for a property tax valuation to be calculated too high, resulting in an over-assessment of a business’s tax liability.

If this is your situation, a real estate attorney can help you better understand the property tax process in Florida, as well as prepare and defend a thorough appeal of the arbitrary value placed on the parcel and buildings. For more, be sure to contact Michael L. Feinstein today.

Valuation of Property in Florida

Each county in Florida maintains its own property appraisal office. Under Florida law, the appraiser is required to conduct a valuation of both real property and tangible personal property (e.g., office furniture or machinery) each year. From there, the appraiser calculates three separate figures:

 Just Value: Also known as market value – a calculation rendered based on comparable properties under current market conditions.
 Assessed Value: The value of the property taking into consideration any exemptions that may be in place at the time of the appraisal.
 Taxable Value: The total assessed value of the property. This figure is used to calculate the property tax.

When property is being appraised, the appraiser must take into consideration a number of factors. Of course, the location and condition of the property will have a major impact on its value. Other factors, however, may be a bit more subjective – possibly causing an unnecessary inflation in the assessment. For instance, an appraiser is required to determine how much a property could be worth if it were put to its “highest and best use,” which may or may not be indicative of the current use of the property.

Appealing a Tax Assessment

The initial appraisal is not the final say — a commercial real estate owner may initiate an appeal of the valuation. Sometimes, an issue with the valuation may be cleared up following a simple conversation – and physical re-inspection of the property – with the county appraisal office. If that does not work, a property owner may then appeal the valuation with the county’s Value Adjustment Board. This process begins with the filing of a VAB Petition, which is due within 25 days of the mailing of the valuation notice.

From there, the VAB will review the petition and schedule the dispute for a hearing, after which a decision whether or not to adjust the valuation will be rendered. If the property owner still does not agree with the assessment, a civil lawsuit must be filed in the county Circuit Court within 60 days.

Ft. Lauderdale Real Estate Attorneys – Working Hard for You

If you are facing a difficult property tax situation or would like to speak to an experienced attorney about another real estate matter, please contact Michael L. Feinstein right away by calling 954-767-9662.