Q: Can you give an update on TRIM notices?
A: Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices, including the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, were mailed out in mid-August. They can also be viewed on our website. If homeowners have any questions about their TRIM notice, to include valuation or exemptions, I encourage them to call our office to discuss.
Q: What happens if a homeowner disagrees with your office’s valuation or application of exemptions?
A: We understand that from time to time, we won’t agree, but we always try to move towards the taxpayer if legal and possible. If necessary, Florida provides an excellent avenue to settle any differences we are unable to resolve with homeowners: the Value Adjustment Board is an independent entity that does not work for our office or for the county.
Q: How does a homeowner go about the process of disputing?
A: If we can’t come to an agreement, we actually encourage taxpayers to go to the Value Adjustment Board. The deadline for appeals to this board is Sept. 8. Homeowners can visit the St. Johns County Clerk of Courts website (www.stjohnsclerk.com) and click on the “VAB” tab. It costs $15 to file a petition and a hearing will be scheduled sometime September through December, at the taxpayer’s convenience. Hearings can be in person or remotely, over the telephone.
If the disagreement with our office is over exemptions, it is a statutory matter and the hearing will be before an independent magistrate who is an attorney. If the disagreement is over valuation, the independent magistrate will be an MAI appraiser. Prior to the hearing, our office will submit to the taxpayer all of our documentation and evidence. At the hearing, the taxpayer will submit his/her evidence and then the magistrate will make a decision.
Q: What happens if the taxpayer disagrees with the magistrate’s decision?
A: At that point, the taxpayer may appeal to the Full Value Adjustment Board, which is made up of two County Commissioners, one member of the School Board and two independent citizens who are appointed. If this Full Value Adjustment Board believes that the magistrate has erred, they will send the case back for the magistrate to change the decision.
I would like to emphasize that this is a fully independent process and the Property Appraiser’s office is not favored in any way. It is not adversarial at all; it is just a third party making a decision.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Our office is located at 4030 Lewis Speedway Ste. 203, (904) 827-5500. It is open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Also, readers can email me at Eddie@sjcpa.us or call me at (904) 827-5500.