The Organizational meeting of the 2013 Value Adjustment Board will be held on Wednesday May 29, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in the County Commission Boardroom, Neil Combee Administration Building, 330 West Church Street, Bartow, Florida.
Section 194.014, Florida Statutes requires that taxpayers who file a petition from the VAB make a partial tax payment before the date of deliquency which is April 1 (For example: before April 1, 2014, for 2013 taxes). If the petitioner fails to make the payment required by this subsection, the VAB is required to deny the petition. A link to the taxpayer information sheet can be found under “Important Links” on this website.
VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
The Polk County Value Adjustment Board (VAB) is established by Chapter 194, Florida Statutes, to hear appeals of the Property Appraiser’s determinations with regard to property exemptions, classifications, portability, and valuations, through petition filing and scheduled quasi-judicial hearings.
The VAB consists of two County Commissioners, one School Board Member and two Citizen Members--one Citizen Member who has homesteaded property, resides in Polk County and is appointed by the Polk County Commission, and a second Citizen Member who owns a business occupying commercial space located within the Polk County School District, appointed by the School Board. The VAB employs special magistrates who are either attorneys with property law experience or certified appraisers to hear taxpayer petitions.
Applications are filed with the Property Appraiser for exemptions, portability and classifications. Although the major categories are Homestead, Seniors Homestead, Agriculture and Non-Profit, there are many exemptions and classifications, each with specific statutory requirements. The statutory deadline for accepting petitions for exemptions, portability, and classifications is twenty-five (25) days after the mailing of TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices in mid-August by the Property Appraiser’s Office. The VAB must receive the petition by the 25th day, having it postmarked by the 25th day is not sufficient.
DENIAL OF AN EXEMPTION, PORTABILITY, OR CLASSIFICATION
If the Property Appraiser denies your application for an exemption, portability or classification, and you wish to appeal that decision to the VAB, you may file a petition with the VAB within 30 days of the Property Appraiser’s mailing of the notice of denial. These notices are usually mailed in June. The petition must be received by the VAB, not just postmarked by the 30th day. There is no fee for the appeal of the denial of a homestead exemption; however, there is a non-refundable filing fee of $15 for the appeal of all other classifications and exemptions, including portability.
Truth in Millage Notices, which are proposed tax bills and are also referred to as TRIM Notices, are mailed to all Polk County taxpayers in mid-August by the Property Appraiser. Upon receipt of this notice, any taxpayer wishing to appeal the assessed value of his/her property may file a petition with the VAB. The statutory deadline for accepting petitions for assessed value is twenty-five (25) days after the mailing of TRIM (Truth in Millage) notices in mid-August by the Property Appraiser’s Office. The VAB must receive the petition by the 25th day, having it postmarked by the 25th day is not sufficient.
INFORMAL MEETING WITH PROPERTY APPRAISER
Florida Statutes authorize a taxpayer to meet informally with the Property Appraiser, (863) 534-4777, to discuss any matter he/she disputes. If the taxpayer resolves the matter of a VAB petition with the Property Appraiser, the taxpayer must immediately notify the Value Adjustment Board that the petition is withdrawn by submitting a Withdrawal Form that is available on this website under “Forms.”
PETITIONS TO VAB
Petitions are also available online from this website under “Forms.” Completed petitions should be filed with the VAB. There is a filing fee of $15 for petitions related to a single parcel. For petitions containing contiguous parcels, the filing fee is $15 for the petition, plus $5 for each contiguous parcel. The filing fee is non-refundable and checks should be made payable to the Value Adjustment Board and paid before the petition is considered “filed.” The VAB is open Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is located in Room 342, Neil Combee Administration Building, 330 W. Church Street, Bartow. A petition may also be filed online at this website under “Online Petition,” and the fee must be paid with a credit card. The taxpayer will be charged a convenience fee of 3.5% in addition to the filing fee when using a credit card.
GOOD CAUSE HEARINGS
The Clerk may accept, but not schedule for hearing, a VAB petition filed after the statutory deadline has expired. A petition and a non-refundable $15 filing fee may be submitted to the VAB or its designee for a good cause determination if the petition is accompanied by a written explanation with proof of the extraordinary circumstances which delayed the filing. If there is a determination that the taxpayer has shown good cause for missing the deadline, a hearing will be scheduled.
All hearings are quasi-judicial, and everyone appearing before the special magistrate may be required to testify under oath. The type of appeal will determine the type of information, documents, and/or evidence that needs to be furnished before the hearing. It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to furnish whatever is needed at the required time. Evidence exchange is governed by Florida Administrative Code Rule 12D-9.020.
If someone will be representing a petitioner at the hearing, and the representative wants to receive confidential taxpayer information on the petitioned property from the Property Appraiser, the representative must have written authorization from the taxpayer. This also applies to immediate family members if their names are not included on the deed.
Please note that if the petitioner does not appear for his/her hearing, the petition will be denied.
Some waiting should be expected, so you may wish to bring a book or a magazine. For this reason, we discourage bringing children to the hearings.
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE'S PETITION GUIDE FOR TAXPAYERS