Florida Senate - 2014 SB 1598
By Senator Abruzzo
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to value adjustment boards; amending
3 s. 192.001, F.S.; providing and revising definitions;
4 amending s. 192.0105, F.S.; adding and revising rights
5 to the Florida Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights relating to
6 the administrative review of property assessment
7 determinations; amending s. 193.461, F.S.; revising
8 procedures for filing a late application to classify
9 land as agricultural and for challenging the denial of
10 a late application; amending s. 194.011, F.S.;
11 providing that a person who has assumed responsibility
12 for the tax payment on property is considered the
13 taxpayer for the purposes of receiving the tax
14 assessment notice; providing that a taxpayer is not
15 required to have a professionally prepared appraisal
16 report at an informal conference to consider a
17 taxpayer’s objection to the assessment; requiring the
18 board to report the number of petitions filed with the
19 board which challenge assessments; providing that
20 individual unit owners may withdraw their parcel of
21 property from a joint petition brought by their
22 association at any time; requiring that certain
23 documentation be included in an evidence list provided
24 to a taxpayer who petitions a value adjustment board;
25 specifying the information that must be provided to
26 the petitioner before the hearing before the board;
27 requiring the department to adopt rules to establish a
28 transparent, fair, and uniform value adjustment board
29 process; providing for the publication of board
30 procedures on a website; providing duties of value
31 adjustment board members; amending s. 194.013, F.S.;
32 conforming provisions to changes made by the act;
33 providing that the filing fee of a successful
34 petitioner shall be refunded; amending s. 194.014,
35 F.S.; requiring the board to report the total number
36 of petitions denied for failure to partially pay ad
37 valorem taxes pending resolution of an assessment
38 challenge; authorizing a court to level a penalty
39 against the board for failing to pay interest on a
40 refund of taxes paid; amending s. 194.015, F.S.;
41 providing that board members, special magistrates, and
42 staff are public officers subject to ch. 112, F.S.,
43 and the Commission on Ethics; amending s. 194.032,
44 F.S.; revising provisions relating to board hearing
45 timetables; specifying that parties to a hearing may
46 not be denied a sufficient and reasonable amount of
47 time to present their case; amending s. 194.034, F.S.;
48 revising procedures relating to hearing procedures;
49 deleting a provision prohibiting a petitioner from
50 presenting evidence that the petitioner denied to the
51 property appraiser; providing that a property
52 appraiser’s request for information during the tax
53 roll development process is not considered information
54 that may be denied by a taxpayer as evidence for a
55 hearing; amending s. 194.035; F.S.; providing that
56 special magistrates may be compensated only by an
57 hourly wage; providing that a licensed special
58 magistrate is subject to discipline under his or her
59 professional license for actions performed as a
60 special magistrate; making technical corrections;
61 providing applicability; providing an effective date.
63 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
65 Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section
66 192.001, Florida Statutes, is amended, and subsections (20) and
67 (21) are added to that section, to read:
68 192.001 Definitions.—All definitions set out in chapters 1
69 and 200 that are applicable to this chapter are included herein.
70 In addition, the following definitions shall apply in the
71 imposition of ad valorem taxes:
72 (2) “Assessed value of property” means an annual
73 determination of:
74 (a) The just or
f air market value of an item or property;
75 (b) The value of property as limited by Art. VII of the
76 State Constitution; or
77 (c) The value of property in a classified use or at a
78 fractional value if the property is assessed solely on the basis
79 of character or use or at a specified percentage of its value
80 under Art. VII of the State Constitution.
81 (20) “Fair market value” means the amount that a willing
82 purchaser would pay a willing seller in an arm’s length
83 transaction. The term does not include adjustments made to the
84 recorded selling price or fair market value in determining the
85 assessed value of the property.
86 (21) “Just value” means the amount that a willing purchaser
87 would pay a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction after
88 proper consideration of the relevant statutory factors and
89 including adjustments made to the recorded selling price or fair
90 market value in determining the assessed value of the property.
91 The term “market value” may be used interchangeably with “just
93 Section 2. Subsection (2) of section 192.0105, Florida
94 Statutes, is amended to read:
95 192.0105 Taxpayer rights.—There is created a Florida
96 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights for property taxes and assessments to
97 guarantee that the rights, privacy, and property of the
98 taxpayers of this state are adequately safeguarded and protected
99 during tax levy, assessment, collection, and enforcement
100 processes administered under the revenue laws of this state. The
101 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights compiles, in one document, brief but
102 comprehensive statements that summarize the rights and
103 obligations of the property appraisers, tax collectors, clerks
104 of the court, local governing boards, the Department of Revenue,
105 and taxpayers. Additional rights afforded to payors of taxes and
106 assessments imposed under the revenue laws of this state are
107 provided in s. 213.015. The rights afforded taxpayers to assure
108 that their privacy and property are safeguarded and protected
109 during tax levy, assessment, and collection are available only
110 insofar as they are implemented in other parts of the Florida
111 Statutes or rules of the Department of Revenue. The rights so
112 guaranteed to state taxpayers in the Florida Statutes and the
113 departmental rules include:
114 (2) THE RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.—
115 (a) The right to a just value definition in close
116 conformity with the applicable provisions of the State
117 Constitution and the laws of this state applied consistently in
118 both assessment development by the property appraiser and
119 assessment review by the value adjustment board and the courts
120 of this state (see ss. 192.001, 194.011, and 194.301).
121 (b) (a) The right to an informal conference with the
122 property appraiser to present facts the taxpayer considers to
123 support changing the assessment and to have the property
124 appraiser present facts supportive of the assessment upon proper
125 request of any taxpayer who objects to the assessment placed on
126 his or her property (see s. 194.011(2)).
127 (c) (b) The right to petition the value adjustment board
128 over objections to assessments, denial of exemption, denial of
129 agricultural classification, denial of historic classification,
130 denial of high-water recharge classification, disapproval of tax
131 deferral, and any penalties on deferred taxes imposed for
132 incorrect information willfully filed. Payment of estimated
133 taxes does not preclude the right of the taxpayer to challenge
134 his or her assessment (see ss. 194.011(3), 196.011(6) and
135 (9)(a), 196.151, 196.193(1)(c) and (5), 193.461(2), 193.503(7),
136 193.625(2), 197.2425, 197.301(2), and 197.2301(11)).
137 (d) (c) The right to file a petition for exemption or
138 agricultural classification with the value adjustment board when
139 an application deadline is missed, upon demonstration of
140 particular extenuating circumstances for filing late (see ss.
141 193.461(3)(a) and 196.011(1), (7), (8), and (9)(e)).
142 (e) (d) The right to prior notice of the value adjustment
143 board’s hearing date, the right to the hearing at the scheduled
144 time, and the right to have the hearing rescheduled if the
145 hearing is not commenced within a reasonable time, not to exceed
146 2 hours, after the scheduled time (see s. 194.032(2)).
147 (f) (e) The right to notice of date of certification of tax
148 rolls and receipt of property record card if requested (see ss.
149 193.122(2) and (3) and 194.032(2)).
150 (g) The right to an administrative review before a special
151 magistrate or other person designated to hear petitions
152 contesting assessments placed on property who has passed an
153 examination demonstrating competency in subjects covered in an
154 annual training developed by the department in an open, public,
155 and transparent process (see ss. 194.011, 194.015, and 194.035).
156 (h) (f) The right, in value adjustment board proceedings, to
157 have all evidence, including rebuttal evidence, presented and
158 considered at a public hearing at the scheduled time, to be
159 represented by an attorney or agent, to have witnesses sworn and
160 cross-examined, and to examine property appraisers or evaluators
161 employed by the board who present testimony (see ss.
162 194.034(1) (a) and (c) and (4), and 194.065(4) 194.035(2)).
163 (i) The right to an assessment review by a value adjustment
164 board applying the same statutory criteria and appraisal
165 practices lawfully applied by the property appraiser in
166 developing the original assessment (see ss. 194.011 and
168 (j) (g) The right to be sent a timely written decision by a
169 the value adjustment board containing findings of fact and
170 conclusions of law logically connected to the findings of fact
171 that identifies each statutory criterion applicable to the
172 assessment determination under administrative review and
173 transparently states, based on the admitted evidence, the
174 actions taken by the property appraiser in determining the
175 assessment (see ss. 194.011, 194.034, 194.301, and 194.3015).
176 and reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of
177 the property appraiser, and
178 (k) The right to advertised notice of all board actions,
179 including appropriate narrative and column descriptions, in
180 brief and nontechnical language (see s. ss. 194.034(2) and
182 (l) (h) The right at a public hearing on non-ad valorem
183 assessments or municipal special assessments to provide written
184 objections and to provide testimony to the local governing board
185 (see ss. 197.3632(4)(c) and 170.08).
186 (m) The right to a transparent, fair, and uniform value
187 adjustment board process (see ss. 194.011 and 194.301).
188 (n) (i) The right to bring action in circuit court to
189 contest a tax assessment or appeal value adjustment board
190 decisions to disapprove exemption or deny tax deferral (see ss.
191 194.036(1)(c) and (2), 194.171, 196.151, and 197.2425).
192 Section 3. Paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of section
193 193.461, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
194 193.461 Agricultural lands; classification and assessment;
195 mandated eradication or quarantine program.—
196 (3)(a) No Lands may not shall be classified as agricultural
197 lands unless a return is filed on or before March 1 of each
198 year. The property appraiser, Before so classifying such lands,
199 the property appraiser may require the taxpayer or the
200 taxpayer’s representative to furnish the property appraiser such
201 information as may reasonably be required to establish that such
202 lands were actually used for a bona fide agricultural purpose.
203 Failure to make timely application by March 1 constitutes shall
204 constitute a waiver for 1 year of the privilege herein granted
205 for agricultural assessment. However: ,
206 1. An applicant who is qualified to receive an agricultural
207 classification but who fails to file an application by March 1
208 may file an application for the classification with the property
209 appraiser on or before the 25th day following the mailing by the
210 property appraiser of the notices required under s. 194.011(1).
211 Upon receipt of sufficient evidence that demonstrates that the
212 applicant was unable to apply for the classification in a timely
213 manner or otherwise demonstrates extenuating circumstances, the
214 property appraiser may grant the classification. If the
215 applicant fails to produce sufficient evidence to warrant
216 granting the application as judged by the property appraiser,
217 the applicant and may file, pursuant to s. 194.011(3), file a
218 petition with the value adjustment board requesting that the
219 classification be granted. The petition may be filed at any time
220 during the taxable yea r on or before the 25th day following the
221 mailing of the notice by the property appraiser as provided in
222 s. 194.011(1). Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 194.013, the
223 applicant must pay a nonrefundable fee of $15 upon filing the
224 petition. Upon reviewing the petition, if the person is
225 qualified to receive the classification and demonstrates
226 particular extenuating circumstances as judged by the property
227 appraiser or the value adjustment board to warrant granting the
228 classification, the property appraiser or the value adjustment
229 board may grant the classification.
230 2. The owner of land that was classified agricultural in
231 the previous year and whose ownership or use has not changed may
232 reapply on a short form as provided by the department. The
233 lessee of property may make original application or reapply
234 using the short form if the lease, or an affidavit executed by
235 the owner, provides that the lessee is empowered to make
236 application for the agricultural classification on behalf of the
237 owner and a copy of the lease or affidavit accompanies the
239 3. A county may, at the request of the property appraiser
240 and by a majority vote of its governing body, waive the
241 requirement that an annual application or statement be made for
242 classification of property within the county after an initial
243 application is made and the classification granted by the
244 property appraiser. Such waiver may be revoked by a majority
245 vote of the governing body of the county.
246 Section 4. Section 194.011, Florida Statutes, is amended to
248 194.011 Assessment notice; objections to assessments.—
249 (1) Each taxpayer whose property is subject to real or
250 tangible personal ad valorem taxes shall be notified by the
251 property appraiser of the assessment of each taxable item of
252 such property, as provided in s. 200.069. For the purposes of
253 this section, a person who, pursuant to a contract, is
254 responsible for the entire tax payment on a property and has the
255 written consent of the property owner is considered the
257 (2) A Any taxpayer who objects to the assessment placed on
258 any property taxable to him or her, including the assessment of
259 homestead property at less than just value under s. 193.155(8),
260 may request that the property appraiser to informally confer
261 with him or her the taxpayer.
262 (a) Upon receiving the request, the property appraiser, or
263 a member of his or her staff, shall confer with the taxpayer
264 regarding the correctness of the assessment. At the this
265 informal conference, the taxpayer shall present those facts
266 considered by the taxpayer considers to be supportive of the
267 taxpayer’s claim for a change in the assessment of the property
268 appraiser. The property appraiser or his or her representative
269 at this conference shall present those facts considered by the
270 property appraiser considers to be supportive of the correctness
271 of the assessment. However, participation in the informal
272 conference is not nothing herein shall be construed to be a
273 prerequisite to administrative or judicial review of property
275 (b) A taxpayer is not required to provide a professionally
276 prepared appraisal report in an informal conference or
277 administrative hearing.
278 (3) A petition to the value adjustment board must be in
279 substantially the form prescribed by the department.
280 Notwithstanding s. 195.022, a county officer may not refuse to
281 accept a department form provided by the department for this
282 purpose if the taxpayer chooses to use it. A petition to the
283 value adjustment board must shall describe the property by
284 parcel number and shall be filed as follows:
285 (a) The property appraiser shall have available and shall
286 distribute forms prescribed by the department of Revenue on
287 which the petition shall be made. The Such petition shall be
288 sworn to by the petitioner or his or her state-licensed agent.
289 (b) The completed petition shall be filed with the clerk of
290 the value adjustment board of the county, who shall acknowledge
291 receipt thereof and promptly furnish a copy thereof to the
292 property appraiser.
293 (c) The petition must shall state the approximate amount of
294 time anticipat ed by the taxpayer anticipates he or she will need
295 to present and argue his or her petition before the board.
296 (d) If the issue involves valuation, the petition may be
297 filed , as to valuation issues, at any time during the taxable
298 year on or before the 25th day following the mailing of the
299 notice by the property appraiser as provided in subsection (1).
300 If the issue involves With respect to an issue involving the
301 denial of an exemption, an agricultural or high-water recharge
302 classification application, an application for classification as
303 historic property used for commercial or certain nonprofit
304 purposes, or a deferral, the petition must be filed at any time
305 during the taxable year on or before the 30th day following the
306 mailing of the notice by the property appraiser under s.
307 193.461, s. 193.503, s. 193.625, s. 196.173, or s. 196.193 or
308 notice by the tax collector under s. 197.2425. Within 35 days
309 following the mailing of the assessment notice as provided in
310 subsection (1), the value adjustment board shall report to the
311 department, property appraiser, tax collector, and governing
312 body of the county, on a form prescribed by the department, the
313 total number of timely filed petitions filed with the board,
314 distinguishing between petitions relating to value, exemptions,
315 and classifications.
316 (e) A condominium association, cooperative association, or
317 any homeowners’ association, as defined in s. 723.075, which has
318 the with approval of its board of administration or directors,
319 may file with the value adjustment board a single joint petition
320 on behalf of any association members who own parcels of property
321 which the property appraiser determines are substantially
322 similar with respect to location, proximity to amenities, number
323 of rooms, living area, and condition. The condominium
324 association, cooperative association, or homeowners’ association
325 as defined in s. 723.075 shall provide the unit owners with
326 notice of its intent to petition the value adjustment board.
327 Individual unit owners may withdraw their parcel of property
328 from the joint petition brought by their association at any time
329 by filing a withdrawal form, as prescribed by the department,
330 with the clerk and shall provide at least 20 days for a unit
331 owner to elect, in writing, that his or her unit not be included
332 in the petition.
333 (f) An owner of contiguous, undeveloped parcels may file
334 with the value adjustment board a single joint petition if the
335 property appraiser determines such parcels are substantially
336 similar in nature.
337 (g) The individual, agent, or legal entity that signs the
338 petition becomes an agent of the taxpayer for the purpose of
339 serving process to obtain personal jurisdiction over the
340 taxpayer for the entire value adjustment board proceedings,
341 including any appeals of a board decision by the property
342 appraiser pursuant to s. 194.036.
343 (4)(a) At least 15 days before the hearing the petitioner
344 shall provide to the property appraiser a list of evidence to be
345 presented at the hearing, together with copies of all
346 documentation to be considered by the value adjustment board and
347 a summary of evidence to be presented by witnesses.
348 (b) At least No later than 7 days before the hearing, if
349 the petitioner has provided the information required under
350 paragraph (a), and if requested in writing by the petitioner,
351 the property appraiser shall provide to the petitioner a list of
352 evidence to be presented at the hearing, together with copies of
353 all documentation to be considered by the value adjustment board
354 and a summary of evidence to be presented by witnesses. The
355 evidence list must contain the property record card for the
356 property that is the subject of the petition as well as the
357 property record card for any comparable property listed as
358 evidence. If the petition challenges the assessed value of the
359 property, the evidence list must also include a copy of the form
360 signed by the property appraiser documenting adjustments made to
361 the recorded selling price or fair market value of the property
362 pursuant to those factors described in s. 193.011(8) card if
363 provided by the clerk. Failure of the property appraiser to
364 timely comply with the requirements of this paragraph shall
365 result in a rescheduling of the hearing.
366 (c) At least 3 days before the hearing, if the property
367 appraiser has provided the information required under paragraph
368 (b), and if requested in writing by the property appraiser, the
369 petitioner shall provide to the property appraiser a list of
370 rebuttal evidence to be presented at the hearing, copies of all
371 documentation to be considered by the value adjustment board,
372 and a summary of evidence to be presented by witnesses.
373 (d) Failure by either party to timely comply with this
374 requirement shall result in the exclusion of that party’s
375 evidence from consideration by the value adjustment board.
376 (e) All evidence that is confidential under current law
377 remains confidential until it is submitted to the value
378 adjustment board for consideration and admission into the
379 record, unless used for impeachment purposes.
380 (f) A property appraiser’s request for information during
381 the tax roll development process is not considered a request for
382 information to be used in the challenge of a proposed
383 assessment, and the taxpayer’s failure to provide such
384 information is not grounds for the exclusion of evidence.
385 (5)(a) The department shall by rule prescribe rules to
386 establish a transparent, fair, and uniform value adjustment
387 board process. Such rules must include:
388 1. Uniform procedures for hearings before the value
389 adjustment board, including which include requiring:
390 1. procedures for the exchange of information and evidence
391 by the property appraiser and the petitioner consistent with s.
393 2. That The value adjustment board and the property
394 appraiser shall make hold an organizational meeting for the
395 purpose of making these procedures available to petitioners. A
396 website link satisfies this requirement.
397 2. Duties and responsibilities of the members of a value
398 adjustment board relating to:
399 a. The oversight of the clerk of the value adjustment
400 board, special magistrates, and value adjustment board
402 b. The consideration of special magistrate recommendations,
403 value adjustment board attorney recommendations, and appellate
404 decisions rendered by a circuit court pursuant to s. 194.036.
405 3. Minimum qualifications for special magistrates and value
406 adjustment board attorneys consistent with ss. 194.015 and
408 4. Minimum written contract requirements for special
409 magistrates and value adjustment board attorneys specifying the
410 duties of the position, standards of conduct, and performance
412 5. Requirements for written decisions rendered by a value
413 adjustment board consistent with s. 194.034.
414 6. Mandatory training requirements for special magistrates
415 and value adjustment board attorneys consistent with ss. 194.015
416 and 194.035 and any other training requirements deemed necessary
417 by the department.
418 7. Any rules that the department deems necessary to provide
419 effective oversight of the value adjustment board process and to
420 ensure compliance with all applicable laws and rules.
421 (b) The department shall develop a uniform policies and
422 procedures manual that shall be used by value adjustment boards,
423 board special magistrates, and taxpayers in proceedings before
424 the board value adjustment boards. The manual must, at a
425 minimum, sh all be made available , at a minimum, on the
426 department’s website and on the existing websites of the
427 property appraiser, boards, and the clerks of circuit courts.
428 (6) The following provisions apply to petitions to the
429 value adjustment board concerning the assessment of homestead
430 property at less than just value under s. 193.155(8):
431 (a) If the taxpayer does not agree with the amount of the
432 assessment limitation difference for which the taxpayer
433 qualifies as stated by the property appraiser in the county
434 where the previous homestead property was located, or if the
435 property appraiser in that county has not stated that the
436 taxpayer qualifies to transfer any assessment limitation
437 difference, upon the taxpayer filing a petition to the value
438 adjustment board in the county where the new homestead property
439 is located, the value adjustment board in that county shall,
440 upon receiving the appeal, send a notice to the value adjustment
441 board in the county where the previous homestead was located,
442 which shall reconvene if it has already adjourned.
443 (b) Such notice operates as a petition in, and creates an
444 appeal to, the value adjustment board in the county where the
445 previous homestead was located for of all issues surrounding the
446 previous assessment differential for the taxpayer involved.
447 However, the taxpayer may not petition to have the just,
448 assessed, or taxable value of the previous homestead changed.
449 (c) The value adjustment board in the county where the
450 previous homestead was located shall set the petition for
451 hearing and notify the taxpayer, the property appraiser in the
452 county where the previous homestead was located, the property
453 appraiser in the county where the new homestead is located, and
454 the value adjustment board in that county, and shall hear the
455 appeal. Such appeal shall be heard by a an attorney special
456 magistrate who is licensed to practice law if the value
457 adjustment board in the county where the previous homestead was
458 located uses special magistrates. The taxpayer may attend such
459 hearing and may present evidence , but need not do so. The value
460 adjustment board in the county where the previous homestead was
461 located shall issue a decision and send a copy of the decision
462 to all affected parties simultaneously the value adjustment
463 board in the county where the new homestead is located.
464 (d) In hearing the appeal in the county where the new
465 homestead is located, that value adjustment board shall consider
466 the decision of the value adjustment board in the county where
467 the previous homestead was located on the issues pertaining to
468 the previous homestead and on the amount of any assessment
469 reduction for which the taxpayer qualifies. The value adjustment
470 board in the county where the new homestead is located may not
471 hold its hearing until it has received the decision from the
472 value adjustment board in the county where the previous
473 homestead was located.
474 (e) In any circuit court proceeding to review the decision
475 of the value adjustment board in the county where the new
476 homestead is located, the court may also review the decision of
477 the value adjustment board in the county where the previous
478 homestead was located.
479 Section 5. Section 194.013, Florida Statutes, is amended to
481 194.013 Filing fees for petitions; disposition; waiver.—
482 (1) If so required by resolution of the value adjustment
483 board, A petition filed pursuant to s. 194.011 or s.
484 193.461(3)(a) must shall be accompanied by a filing fee to be
485 paid to the clerk of the value adjustment board in an amount
486 determined by the board not to exceed $15 for each separate
487 parcel of property, real or personal, covered by the petition
488 and subject to appeal. However, a no such filing fee is not may
489 be required for with respect to an appeal from the disapproval
490 of homestead exemption under s. 196.151 or from the denial of
491 tax deferral under s. 197.2425. Only a single filing fee shall
492 be charged for under this section as to any particular parcel of
493 property despite the existence of multiple issues and hearings
494 pertaining to such parcel. For joint petitions filed pursuant to
495 s. 194.011(3)(e) or (f), a single filing fee shall be charged.
496 Such fee shall be calculated as the cost of the value adjustment
497 board special magistrate for the time involved in hearing the
498 joint petition and may shall not exceed $5 per parcel. The Said
499 fee shall is to be proportionately paid by affected parcel
501 (2) The value adjustment board shall waive the filing fee
502 for with respect to a petition filed by a taxpayer who
503 demonstrates at the time of filing, by an appropriate
504 certificate or other documentation issued by the Department of
505 Children and Families Family Services and su bmitted with the
506 petition, that he or she the petitioner is then an eligible
507 recipient of temporary assistance under chapter 414.
508 (3) All filing fees imposed under this section shall be
509 paid to the clerk of the value adjustment board at the time of
510 filing. If such fees are not paid at that time, the petition
511 shall be deemed invalid and shall be rejected. If the taxpayer
512 or the taxpayer’s representative successfully petitions the
513 board, the filing fee shall be refunded.
514 (4) All filing fees collected by the clerk shall be
515 allocated and used utilized to defray, to the extent possible,
516 the costs incurred in connection with the administration and
517 operation of the value adjustment board.
518 Section 6. Paragraph (d) is added to subsection (1) of
519 section 194.014, Florida Statutes, and subsection (2) of that
520 section, is amended to read:
521 194.014 Partial payment of ad valorem taxes; proceedings
522 before value adjustment board.—
524 (d) The value adjustment board shall report annually, by
525 April 25, on a form prescribed by the department, to the
526 department, the property appraiser, and the governing body of
527 the county the total number of petitions denied for failure to
528 make the payment required under this subsection.
529 (2) If the value adjustment board determines that the
530 petitioner owes ad valorem taxes in excess of the amount paid,
531 the unpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12 percent per
532 year from the date the taxes became delinquent pursuant to s.
533 197.333 until the unpaid amount is paid. If the value adjustment
534 board determines that a refund is due, the overpaid amount
535 accrues interest at the rate of 12 percent per year from the
536 date the taxes became delinquent pursuant to s. 197.333 until a
537 refund is paid. Interest does not accrue on amounts paid in
538 excess of 100 percent of the current taxes due as provided on
539 the tax notice issued pursuant to s. 197.322. If the interest
540 owed on a refund is improperly withheld, the taxpayer may seek a
541 judgment and if the court finds the taxpayer is owed interest,
542 the court shall levy a penalty payable to the taxpayer equal to
543 100 percent of the amount of interest owed to the taxpayer.
544 Section 7. Section 194.015, Florida Statutes, is amended to
546 194.015 Value adjustment board.— There is hereby created A
547 value adjustment board is established in for each county, which
548 shall consist of two members elected from of the governing body
549 of the county as elected from the membership of the board of
550 said governing body, one of whom shall be elected chairperson; ,
551 and one member of the school board as elected from the
552 membership of the school board; , and two citizen members, one of
553 whom shall be appointed by the governing body of the county and
554 must own homestead property within the county, and one of whom
555 must be appointed by the school board and must own a business
556 occupying commercial space located within the school district. A
557 citizen member may not be a member or an employee of a any
558 taxing authority, and may not be a person who represents
559 property owners in an any administrative or judicial review of
560 property taxes. The members of the board may be temporarily
561 replaced by other members of the respective boards upon on
562 appointment by their respective chairpersons.
563 (1) Value adjustment board members, special magistrates,
564 and staff are public officers for the purposes of chapter 112
565 and are subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission on Ethics.
566 (2) Any three members shall constitute a quorum of the
567 board, except that each quorum must include at least one member
568 of the said governing board of the county, at least one member
569 of the school board, and at least one citizen member. and no
570 meeting of The board may not meet in the absence of shall take
571 place unless a quorum is present.
572 (3) Members of the board may receive such per diem
573 compensation as provided under s. 112.061 is allowed by law for
574 state employees if both bodies elect to allow such compensation.
575 (4) The clerk of the governing body of the county shall be
576 the clerk of the value adjustment board.
577 (5) The board shall appoint private counsel who has
578 practiced law for more than over 5 years and who shall receive
579 such compensation as may be established by the board. The
580 private counsel may not represent the property appraiser, the
581 tax collector, any taxing authority, or any property owner in an
582 any administrative or judicial review of property taxes. No
583 meeting of The board may not meet shall take place unless
584 counsel to the board is present.
585 (6) Two-fifths of the expenses of the value adjustment
586 board shall be borne by the district school board and three
587 fifths by the district county commission.
588 Section 8. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 194.032,
589 Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
590 194.032 Hearing purposes; timetable.—
591 (1) (a) Upon approval of all or any part of the assessment
592 rolls by the department, the value adjustment board may convene
593 hearings and shall meet within not earlier than 30 days and not
594 later than 60 days after the mailing of the notice provided in
595 s. 194.011(1) ; however, no board hearing shall be held before
596 approval of all or any part of the assessment rolls by the
597 Department of Revenue.
598 (a) The board shall meet for the following purposes:
599 1. Hearing petitions relating to assessments filed pursuant
600 to s. 194.011(3).
601 2. Hearing complaints relating to homestead exemptions as
602 provided for under s. 196.151.
603 3. Hearing appeals from exemptions denied, or disputes
604 arising from exemptions granted, upon the filing of exemption
605 applications under s. 196.011.
606 4. Hearing appeals concerning ad valorem tax deferrals and
608 (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a), The
609 value adjustment board may meet before department prior to the
610 approval of the assessment rolls by the department of Revenue,
611 but not earlier than July 1, to hear appeals pertaining to the
612 denial by the property appraiser of exemptions, agricultural and
613 high-water recharge classifications, classifications as historic
614 property used for commercial or certain nonprofit purposes, and
615 deferrals under subparagraphs (a)2., 3., and 4. In such event,
616 However, the board may not certify any assessments under s.
617 193.122 until the department of Revenue has approved the
618 assessments in accordance with s. 193.1142 and all hearings have
619 been held with respect to the particular parcel under appeal.
620 (c) In no event may A hearing may not be held pursuant to
621 this subsection relative to valuation issues before prior to
622 completion of the hearings required under s. 200.065(2)(c) are
624 (2)(a) The clerk of the governing body of the county shall
625 prepare a schedule of appearances before the value adjustment
626 board based on petitions timely filed with the clerk him or her.
627 The clerk shall notify each petitioner of the scheduled time of
628 his or her appearance at least 25 calendar days before the day
629 of the scheduled appearance. The notice must indicate whether
630 the petition has been scheduled to be heard at a particular time
631 or during a block of time, which must be clearly specified in
632 the notice. If the petition has been scheduled to be heard
633 within a block of time, the beginning and ending of that block
634 of time must be indicated on the notice ; however, as provided in
635 paragraph (b), a petitioner may not be required to wait for more
636 than a reasonable time, not to exceed 2 hours, after the
637 beginning of the block of tim e . If the petitioner checked the
638 appropriate box on the petition form to request a copy of the
639 property record card containing relevant information used in
640 computing the current assessment, the property appraiser must
641 provide the copy to the petitioner upon receipt of the petition
642 from the clerk regardless of whether the petitioner initiates
643 evidence exchange, unless the property record card is available
644 online from the property appraiser. Upon receipt of the notice,
645 the petitioner may reschedule the hearing once a single time by
646 submitting to the clerk a written request to reschedule , at
647 least 5 calendar days before the day of the originally scheduled
649 (b) A petitioner may not be required to wait for more than
650 a reasonable time, not to exceed 2 hours, after the scheduled
651 time for the hearing to commence. If the hearing is not
652 commenced within 2 hours that time, the petitioner may inform
653 the clerk chairperson of the meeting that he or she intends to
654 leave. If the petitioner leaves, the clerk shall reschedule the
655 hearing, and the rescheduling is not considered to be a request
656 to reschedule as provided in paragraph (a).
657 (c) Neither party may be denied sufficient time to present
658 and defend its case; however, the board or a special magistrate
659 may determine the reasonableness of a party’s request for time.
660 (d) (c) If the board fails Failure on three occasions with
661 respect to any single tax year to convene at the scheduled time,
662 of meetings of the board is grounds for removal from office by
663 the Governor may remove the members of the board from office for
664 neglect of duties.
665 Section 9. Section 194.034, Florida Statutes, is amended to
667 194.034 Hearing procedures; rules.—
668 (1) (a) Petitioners before the value adjustment board may be
669 represented by an attorney or agent and present testimony and
670 other evidence. The property appraiser or his or her authorized
671 representatives may be represented by an attorney in defending
672 the property appraiser’s assessment or opposing an exemption and
673 may present testimony and other evidence. The property appraiser
674 or his or her authorized representative, each petitioner, and
675 all witnesses are shall be required, upon the request of either
676 party, to testify under oath as administered by the special
677 magistrate or chairperson of the board. Hearings shall be
678 conducted in the manner prescribed by rules of the department,
679 which must rules shall include the introduction of rebuttal
680 evidence and the right of cross-examination of a any witness.
681 (a) (b) Nothing herein shall preclude An aggrieved taxpayer
682 may contest from contesting his or her assessment in the manner
683 provided under by s. 194.171, regardless of whether or not he or
684 she has initiated an action pursuant to s. 194.011.
685 (b) (c) The rules must shall provide that no evidence may
686 not shall be considered by the board except when presented
687 during the time scheduled for the petitioner’s hearing or at a
688 time when the petitioner has been given reasonable notice; that
689 a verbatim record of the proceedings shall be made, and proof of
690 any documentary evidence presented shall be preserved and made
691 available to the department of Revenue, if requested; and that
692 further judicial proceedings shall be as provided in s. 194.036.
693 (d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, no
694 petitioner may present for consideration, nor may a board or
695 special magistrate accept for consideration, testimony or other
696 evidentiary materials that were requested of the petitioner in
697 writing by the property appraiser of which the petitioner had
698 knowledge and denied to the property appraiser.
699 (c) (e) Chapter 120 does not apply to hearings of the value
700 adjustment board.
701 (d) (f) An assessment may not be contested until a return
702 required under by s. 193.052 has been filed.
703 (e) A property appraiser’s request for information during
704 the tax roll development process is not considered a request for
705 information to be used for the defense of a proposed assessment
706 and may not be the basis for excluding a taxpayer’s evidence in
707 a board hearing.
708 (2) Unless In each case, except if the complaint is
709 withdrawn by the petitioner or if the complaint is acknowledged
710 as correct by the property appraiser, the value adjustment board
711 shall render a written decision in each case. All such decisions
712 shall be issued within 30 business 20 calendar days after the
713 hearing last day the board is in session under s. 194.032. The
714 decision of the board must contain findings of fact and
715 conclusions of law and must include reasons for upholding or
716 overturning the determination of the property appraiser. If a
717 special magistrate has been appointed, the recommendations of
718 the special magistrate shall be considered by the board. The
719 clerk, upon issuance of a decision, shall, on a form provided by
720 the department of Revenue, simultaneously notify each taxpayer
721 and the property appraiser of the decision of the board. This
722 notification shall be by first-class mail or by electronic means
723 if selected by the taxpayer on the originally filed petition. If
724 requested by the Department of Revenue, the clerk shall provide
725 to the department a copy of the decision or information relating
726 to the tax impact of the findings and results of the board as
727 described in s. 194.037 in the manner and form requested.
728 (3) Appearance before an advisory board or agency created
729 by the county may not be required as a prerequisite condition to
730 appearing before the value adjustment board.
731 (4) A condominium homeowners’ association may appear before
732 the board to present testimony and evidence regarding the
733 assessment of condominium units that which the association
734 represents. Such testimony and evidence shall be considered by
735 the board with respect to hearing petitions filed by individual
736 condominium unit owners, unless the owner requests otherwise.
737 (5) For the purposes of reviewing review of a petition, the
738 board may consider assessments among comparable properties
739 within the same county homogeneous areas or neighborhoods.
740 (6) For purposes of hearing joint petitions filed pursuant
741 to s. 194.011(3)(e), each included parcel shall be considered by
742 the board as a separate petition. Such separate petitions shall
743 be heard consecutively by the board and, . if a special
744 magistrate is appointed, such separate petitions shall all be
745 assigned to the same special magistrate.
746 Section 10. Section 194.035, Florida Statutes, is amended
747 to read:
748 194.035 Special magistrates; property evaluators.—
749 (1) Special magistrates shall be appointed for the purposes
750 of taking testimony and making recommendations to the value
751 adjustment board. The board may act upon such recommendations
752 without further hearing. Special magistrates shall accurately
753 and completely preserve all testimony and, in making
754 recommendations to the board, shall include proposed findings of
755 fact, conclusions of law, and reasons for upholding or
756 overturning the determination of the property appraiser.
757 (a) In counties having a population of more than 75,000,
758 the board shall appoint the special magistrates f or the purpose
759 of taking testimony and making recommendations to the board,
760 which recommendations the board may act upon without further
761 hearing. These special magistrates may not be elected or
762 appointed officials or employees of the county but shall be
763 selected from a list of those qualified individuals who are
764 willing to serve as special magistrates. Employees and elected
765 or appointed officials of a taxing jurisdiction or of the state
766 may not serve as special magistrates. The clerk of the board
767 shall annually notify such individuals or their professional
768 associations to make known to them that opportunities to serve
769 as special magistrates exist.
770 (b) The Department of Revenue shall provide a list of
771 qualified special magistrates to a any county with a population
772 of 75,000 or less. Subject to appropriation, the department
773 shall reimburse such counties for compensation paid to the
774 special magistrate with a population of 75,000 or less for
775 payments made to special magistrates appointed for the purpose
776 of taking testimony and making recommendations to the value
777 adjustment board pursuant to this section. The department shall
778 establish a reasonable range for payments per case to special
779 magistrates based on such payments in other counties. Requests
780 for reimbursement of payments exceeding outside this range must
781 shall be justified by the county. If the total of all requests
782 for reimbursement in any year exceeds the amount available
783 pursuant to this section, payments to all counties shall be
784 prorated accordingly. If a county having a population less than
785 75,000 does not appoint a special magistrate to hear each
786 petition, the person or persons designated to hear petitions
787 before the value adjustment board or the attorney appointed to
788 advise the value adjustment board shall attend the training
789 provided pursuant to subsection (5) (3), regardless of whether
790 the person would otherwise be required to attend, but is not
791 shall not be required to pay the tuition fee specified in
792 subsection (3).
793 (c) The expense of hearings before magistrates and
794 compensation for special magistrates not reimbursed by the
795 department shall be borne three-fifths by the board of county
796 commissioners and two-fifths by the district school board.
797 Special magistrates may be compensated only by an hourly wage,
798 and not by a lump sum or a fee-for-service payment.
799 (2) A person who has 3 years of relevant experience and who
800 has completed the training provided by the department under
801 subsection (5) may be appointed as a special magistrate.
803 (a) A special magistrate appointed to hear issues of
804 exemptions and classifications must shall be a member of The
805 Florida Bar with at least no less than 5 years’ experience in
806 the area of ad valorem taxation.
807 (b) A special magistrate appointed to hear issues regarding
808 the valuation of real estate must shall be a state-certified
809 state certified real estate appraiser with at least not less
810 than 5 years’ experience in real property valuation.
811 (c) A special magistrate appointed to hear issues regarding
812 the valuation of tangible personal property must shall be a
813 designated member of a nationally recognized appraiser’s
814 organization with at least not less than 5 years’ experience in
815 tangible personal property valuation. A special magistrate need
816 not be a resident of the county in which he or she serves.
817 (3) Special magistrates shall be selected from a list of
818 qualified individuals who are willing to serve as special
819 magistrates. A special magistrate need not be a resident of the
820 county in which he or she serves. Employees and elected or
821 appointed officials of the county, a taxing district of the
822 county, or the state may not serve as special magistrates. A
823 special magistrate may not represent a person before the value
824 adjustment board in any tax year during which he or she has
825 served that board as a special magistrate. The clerk of the
826 board shall annually notify such individuals or the respective
827 professional associations of the opportunities to serve as a
828 special magistrate.
829 (a) Before appointing a special magistrate, the a value
830 adjustment board shall verify the special magistrate’s
831 qualifications. The value adjustment board shall ensure that the
832 selection of special magistrates is based solely upon the
833 experience and qualifications of the special magistrate and is
834 not influenced by the property appraiser.
835 (b) A special magistrate who is a licensed professional and
836 who uses that license as a means to obtain the position of
837 special magistrate is subject to discipline under his or her
838 professional license for actions undertaken as a special
839 magistrate relevant to that license. The special magistrate
840 shall accurately and completely preserve all testimony and, in
841 making recommendations to the value adjustment board, shall
842 include proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and
843 reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the
844 property appraiser. The expense of hearings before magistrates
845 and any compensation of special magistrates shall be borne
846 three-fifths by the board of county commissioners and two-fifths
847 by the school board.
848 (4) (2) The value adjustment board of each county may employ
849 qualified property appraisers or evaluators to appear before the
850 value adjustment board at a that meeting of the board which is
851 held for the purpose of hearing complaints. Such property
852 appraisers or evaluators shall present testimony as to the just
853 value of any property for which the value of which is contested
854 before the board and shall submit to examination by the board,
855 the taxpayer, and the property appraiser.
856 (5) (3) The department shall provide and conduct training
857 for special magistrates at least once each state fiscal year in
858 at least five locations throughout the state. Such training must
859 shall emphasize the department’s standard measures of value,
860 including the guidelines for real and tangible personal
861 property. Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person who has 3
862 years of relevant experience and who has completed the training
863 provided by the department under this subsection may be
864 appointed as a special magistrate. The training must shall be
865 open to the public. The department shall charge tuition fees to
866 attendees any person attending this training in an amount
867 sufficient to fund the department’s costs to conduct all aspects
868 of the training. The department shall deposit the fees collected
869 into the Certification Program Trust Fund pursuant to s.
871 Section 11. This act applies to tax years beginning on or
872 after January 1, 2015.
873 Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2014.