Property Tax Grievance Guidelines vary widely by State and sometimes even by municipalities within a state. A successful real estate tax appeal in most areas of the country is based upon first establishing the market value of your property. In order to reduce your property taxes you must prove that the value of your property is less than the valuation assigned by your assessing district (according to state law in most states, the assessment is deemed to be correct, and the burden of proof, falls on the petitioner-homeowner to prove otherwise). A recent bonafide arms length sale of the subject property is the best evidence. If the property was not recently purchased, or the purchase was not at arms length (as in an inter-family sale, foreclosure or other sale made under conditions of distress), an appraisal by a state certified appraiser is the next best type of evidence, which is typically used to prove value of your home throughout the process.
Excerpts from the Florida Statutes:
194.011 Assessment Notice; Objections to Assessments
(1) Each taxpayer whose property is subject to real or tangible personal ad valorem taxes shall be notified of the assessment of each taxable item of such property, as provided in s. 200.069.
(2) Any taxpayer who objects to the assessment placed on any property taxable to him may request the property appraiser to informally confer with the taxpayer. Upon receiving the request, the property appraiser, or a member of his staff, shall confer with the taxpayer regarding the correctness of the assessment. At this informal conference, the taxpayer shall present those facts considered by the taxpayer to be supportive of the taxpayer’s claim for a change in the assessment of the property appraiser. The property appraiser or his representative at this conference shall present those facts considered by the property appraiser to be supportive of the correctness of the assessment. However, noting herein shall be construed to be a prerequisite to administrative or judicial review of property assessments.
(3) A petition to the Value Adjustment Board shall describe the property by parcel number and shall be filed as follows:
(a) The property appraiser shall have available and shall distribute forms prescribed by the Department of Revenue on which the petition shall be made. Such petition shall be sworn to by the petitioner.
(b) The completed petition shall be filed with the clerk of the Value Adjustment Board of the county, who shall acknowledge receipt thereof and promptly furnish a copy thereof to the property appraiser.
(c) The petition shall state the approximate time anticipate by the taxpayer to present and argue his petition before the board.
(d) The petition may be filed, as to valuation issues, at any time during the taxable year on or before the 25th day following the mailing of notice by the property appraiser as provided in subsection (1). With respect to an issue involving the denial of an exemption, an agricultural classification application, or a deferral, the petition shall be filed at any time during the taxable year on or before the 30th day following the mailing of the notice by the property appraiser under s. 193.461 or s.196.193 or notice by the tax collector under s.197.253.
(e) A condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners’ association as defined in s.723.075, with approval of its board of administration or directors, may file with the Value Adjustment Board a single joint petition on behalf of any association members who parcels of property which the property appraiser determines are substantially similar with respect to location, proximity to amenities, number of rooms, living area, and condition. The condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners’ association as defined in s.723.075 shall provide the unit owners with notice of its intent to petition the Value Adjustment Board and shall provide at least 20 days for a unit owner to elect, in writing, that his unit not be included in the petition.
(f) An owner of contiguous, undeveloped parcels may file with the Value Adjustment Board a single joint petition if the property appraiser determines such parcels are substantially similar in nature.
(g) The individual, agent, or legal entity that signs the petition becomes an agent of the taxpayer for the purpose of serving process to obtain personal jurisdiction over the taxpayer for the entire Value Adjustment Board proceedings, including any appeals of a board decision by the property appraiser pursuant to s.194.036.