Section 194.014, Florida Statutes requires that taxpayers who file a petition from the VAB make a partial tax payment before the date of delinquency which is April 1 (For example: before April 1, 2016, for 2015 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 Value Adjustment Board Links at the bottom of the page.
Hearing dates are also noticed on the Board of County Commissioners' Meeting Agendas. For questions regarding hearing dates or times, please contact Alison Holland at 863-534-6502 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
One copy of all evidence to be considered during your VAB hearing must be submitted to the Property Appraiser at least 15 days prior to your scheduled hearing date. If you do not submit your evidence timely, your evidence may not be considered at the hearing. The Clerk's office will not forward evidence received in our office to the Property Appraiser's office.
The VAB is now accepting applications for Special Magistrates for the 2019 tax years. Applications must be received by April 30, 2019.
Click here to submit an online petition.
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.
Hearing Dates and Operating Procedures
2018 VAB Internal Operating Procedures can be downloaded below
VAB Board Members
John Hall, Chairman
Polk County Board of County Commissioners
P.O. Box 9005
Bartow, FL 33831-9005
Polk County Board of County Commissioners
P.O. Box 9005
Bartow, FL 33831-9005
Polk County School Board
P.O. Box 391
Bartow, FL 33831
5529 US 98 North
Lakeland, FL 33809
3340 South Florida Ave
Lakeland, FL 33803
- Jim Behm
- Joseph Haynes Davis
- Andrea Johnson
- Steve Nystrom
- John Robinson
- Robert Sutte
- Steven Tatro
- Shawn Wilson
- Elizabeth Young
Value Adjustment Board Links
VAB Forms: The Department of Revenue website has all of the applicable forms available. http://floridarevenue.com/dor/property/forms/index.html
Department of Revenue Uniform Policies and Procedures Manual http://floridarevenue.com/property/Documents/vabuppmanual.pdf
Other Legal Resources including Statutory Criteria and Reference Materials including Guidelines are available at the Department of Revenue Value Adjustment Board Website http://floridarevenue.com/property/Pages/VAB.aspx
Government-In-The-Sunshine Manual http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/RMAS-9GNQTW/$file/2014SunshineLawManual.pdf
Important Information About Required Payments Before The Tax Delinquency Date to Avoid Denial of Your Petition http://floridarevenue.com/property/Pages/Taxpayers.aspx
Department of Revenue's Petition Guide for Taxpayers http://floridarevenue.com/property/Pages/Taxpayers.aspx