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How To Dispute Your Property Taxes

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Benjamin Franklin - In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789

How to dispute property taxes in Leon County, Florida

I received an email from a client of mine who had purchased a home in Tallahassee back in 2004. Like many citizens of Florida, he is disturbed about his rising property taxes. His message was

Joe, do you have any numbers on property appraisals in our area. Our assessed value went up last year according to our Trim statement. Having listened very closely to what you have pontificated, I don't believe that's possible and in fact should have gone down from the previous year. Am I wrong? In the trim brochure it says that as long as the assessed value does not exceed the market value they have to raise the assessed value by three percent which is what it went up. What a bunch of c%*!!. I dearly detest property taxes!!

In order to help him answer this, I performed a detailed market analysis of the Subdivision in which he lives (Golden Eagle Plantation) for the purpose of identifying market movement. Most people who follow the Tallahassee real estate market are well aware that prices are dropping, however each price range and each area has its own performance level. The one factor that is fairly consistent across the board is that inventories are very high, prices are dropping, and we still have not seen the bottom of this Buyers' Market. My recommendation to all home owners is to hold their homes at this time and do not place them onto the market unless a sale is the only option.

I did a study of all resale home sales in Golden Eagle and discovered that unit sales (average number of homes sold each month) is back to a normalized range of just greater than 3 per month. The average price per foot has dropped in Golden Eagle by 12% from exactly 1 year ago (which happened to be the top of the market).
How to dispute your property taxes Info used in a dispute of property taxes
When we look at prices and sizes, we find that the average resale home that is selling is between 3,100 and 3,200 square feet and the price is dropping (currently trending at $503,000). I suspect with the pile of inventory in Golden Eagle, we will continue to see that trend drop for at least another 6 months, if not a year or more. You can see that the average price before the "boom" market was around $340,000. With increased costs of living outracing increases in real wages, it is natural to assume this price trend decline will continue.
The information on the left is from his 2007 market value as reported in the Public Records of Leon County at $509,690, with a Taxable Value of $463,567. If one were to apply the 12% decline in the Golden Eagle Plantation to his home, the results on the right would be found.
My recommendation to my client is to take this information to the Leon County Property Appraiser's office. I would start with a phone call and then go in person if the call did not work out. While I do not have a personal experience with their office, everything that I have ever heard is that they work hard and try to be fair.
The Leon County Property Appraiser's office has published this video on property taxes and it does a great job of explaining how they do it and how to contact them in the case of a dispute such as we have analyzed here.
If this has been helpful or if you have additional information that will enhance the topic, please comment below and share your experience with the rest of our readers.

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Discussion

#1 By Bert Hartsfield at 7/11/2017 3:44 AM

Under the Save Our Homes provision, the Department of Revenue together with the Governor and Cabinet require all Property Appraisers to raise the assessed value of homesteaded properties by 3% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less – essentially “recapturing” the assessed value savings resulting from the value being capped. This requirement, outlined in Chapter 12D-8.0062(5) of the Florida Administrative Code, is mandatory including when the market value of a homestead property has decreased. The only exception is when the assessed value reaches market value – assessed value cannot exceed market value.



Please refer to the TRIM brochure which was included in the mailing of the notices, and feel free to contact my office if you have any questions.



Bert

(850) 488-6102

#2 By Joe Manausa at 7/11/2017 3:44 AM

Thanks for the reply Bert. What if the homeowner can demonstrate that last year's assessment exceeds current market value? Would the assessment be reduced to market value or stay at last year's assessment?

#3 By NM at 7/11/2017 3:44 AM

We own three houses in THE HIGHLANDS (Off Kerry Forrest) The appraisal went up $5000 on each of them. If anything it should have stayed the same as last year. One is my residence and the taxes went down $200 The other two are rentals and the taxes went up $200 for each of them. Thank you again for your research!!! NM

#4 By Bert Hartsfield at 7/11/2017 3:44 AM

Joe, I welcome all property owners to call or come in regarding any questions or concerns they have with their property, and we stand ready to make any corrections where needed. Please feel free to call or come in and I’ll be glad to discuss all of these issues with you.



Thanks,



Bert

(850) 488-6102

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Joe Manausa Real Estate
1934 Dellwood Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 366-8917