FAQ’s: Hendry County Value Adjustment Board (VAB)
NOTICE OF MEETING:
The Hendry County Value Adjustment Board will hold its final public meeting on Friday, January 11, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. in the Hendry County Commission Chambers on the first floor of the Hendry County Courthouse Administration Building, 25 E. Hickpochee Avenue, LaBelle, Florida, for the purpose of making final decisions based upon evaluations of the findings and recommendations of the duly appointed Special Magistrates on petitions duly filed with the 2018 Value Adjustment Board regarding 2018 property tax assessments, exemptions, deferrals, classifications and transfers of homestead assessment difference and to certify the 2018 tax roll. The VAB may consider other items as may be appropriate or timely. This meeting is open to the public and interested citizens are invited to attend.
Note: It is the property owner’s responsibility to be fully informed of all the Florida laws and regulations of their local county’s rules governing the Value Adjustment Board (VAB) process. As laws, rules and procedures may change from time to time, it is recommended that you thoroughly review all web sites, statutes and rules to verify their current status and for more complete information pertinent to this process.
FloridaAdministrative Code 12D-9
FloridaAdministrative Code 12D-10
FloridaAdministrative Code 12D-16
Value Adjustment Board Forms
Additional VAB Resources:
Q What is the VAB?
A The VAB is a Board that consists of two county commissioners, one school board member, one homeowner appointed by the county commission and one business owner appointed by the school board. The Clerk of the Circuit Court shall be the clerk to the value adjustment board.
Q How is my property assessed?:
A Properties are assessed by the Property Appraiser. For questions regarding property assessments and valuations, contact the Property Appraiser at (863) 675-5270.
Q Where can I find the VAB Rules for Hendry County?
A Hendry County follows the uniform rules of procedure for all Value Adjustment Boards in the State of Florida, which can be found in the following link:
Q Are there any local VAB policies or local VAB procedures for Hendry County?
A Yes. On March 11, 2011, the Hendry County Value Adjustment Board adopted Guidelines for Public Comment at VAB Meetings, which can be found in the following link:
Q Who do I call for Information?
A For questions about:
(1) Property Taxes - Call the Hendry County Tax Collector at (863) 675-5284
(2) Property assessments and values, homestead exemptions, property classifications - Call the Hendry County Property Appraiser at (863) 675-5270.
(3) Filed petition, hearing date, reschedule, Special Magistrate recommendations and/or final decision information - Call the Clerk of the Hendry County Value Adjustment Board at (863) 675-5216.
Q Can I resolve my property assessment issues without having to file an appeal with the VAB?
A You may request an informal conference with the Hendry County Property Appraiser’s office representative by calling (863) 675-5270. If you are not satisfied with the conference or have a difference of opinion regarding the market and/or assessed value of your property, then you may file a petition with the VAB and/or you may file a civil action in the Circuit Court.
** PLEASE NOTE: A taxpayer does not need to have an informal conference with the Property Appraiser’s office before filing a petition with the VAB or before filing suit in the Circuit Court.
HOW TO FILE A PETITION WITH THE VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD
Q Where can I obtain a petition form to file my appeal?
A You may obtain a Petition from the Hendry County Property Appraiser’s office or download the appropriate form from the internet.
All Forms may also be found on the website in the following link:
Q Where do I file my Petition form once it is completed?
A The Petition may be brought in person to the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office, Hendry County Courthouse, 25 East Hickpochee, Administration Wing, Room 226, LaBelle, Florida 33935, or mailed to:
Value Adjustment Board Clerk
P. O. Box 1760
LaBelle, Florida 33975
Before mailing, verify that all appropriate information, signature and payment have been provided. There is a $15.00 filing fee for all petitions that must be paid. Make checks payable to: Clerk of Circuit Court. These fees are non-refundable.
You may also fax your petition and then call to give your credit card information over the phone.
The fax number is: 863-675-5238
Q Can I petition multiple properties on one Petition?
A An owner of contiguous, undeveloped parcels, or a petition for contiguous and similar condominium units, may file a single joint petition with the Value Adjustment Board if the property appraiser determines such parcels or units are substantially similar in nature. The fee for a petition of this nature is $15.00 plus $5.00 per parcel. These fees are non-refundable.
Q What information is needed to complete the petition form?
A 1. Petitioner name and mailing address for mailing of all hearing notices, correspondence, Special Magistrate recommendations and records of decision notices. If the address changes, the VAB clerk must be immediately notified in writing of the change of address. Notating and verifying accurate information in this area is critical to ensure timely delivery of notices, especially with out of state or out of country addresses.
2. Daytime telephone number. If applicable, also provide your FAX number, e-mail address and cell phone number. Often this information is critical in contacting a petitioner about incomplete petitions. If the VAB Clerk is unable to contact you via these references, it may result in your petition being rejected and returned.
3. All information required on each DOR form submitted by a petitioner.
4. List of dates not available to attend hearing. This will avoid any unnecessary rescheduling. The VAB Clerk will try to accommodate most requests; however the VAB Clerk cannot guarantee that all personal schedules can be accommodated.
5. Written Authorization. If an agent, licensed or unlicensed, is filing the petition on behalf of the property owner, written authorization must be provided to the VAB Clerk at the time of filing any petition.
6. An estimation of time needed by the petitioner for hearing presentation may also be supplied to the VAB Clerk, but this information is not required.
Note: If information requested is not pertinent or is unknown by the petitioner, this should be noted on the petition. Some petition information may be provided by the Property Appraiser.
Q What is the deadline for filing a petition?
A Market and/or Assessed Value petitions filings begin on January 1 and end 25 days after the mailing of the “Notice of Proposed Property Taxes” (also known as the Truth in Millage “TRIM” notice).
Denials of homestead, wholly exempt and agricultural classification filings can be submitted July 1 through July 31. Late filing for homestead, agriculture and other classification and exemption filings begin March 2 and end 25 days after the mailing of the TRIM notice. The deadline and other important information are noted on the TRIM notice.
Any petitions received by the VAB Clerk after the deadline will be subject to a good cause review and determination, and must be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee and a good cause statement.
CHARGES AND FEES
Q What payment methods are accepted by the VAB?
A When payments are made in person, they can be made by check, cash, money order and the Clerk’s office will accept Visa or MasterCard. (Please note, there is a service fee when using a credit card that is charged to the customer). When payments are mailed, the petition must be accompanied by either a check or money order made payable to: Clerk of Circuit Court.
Q How do I withdraw a petition?
A You must submit your written withdrawal by submitting a completedForm DR-485WI - Withdrawal of Petition to the following address:
Value Adjustment Board Clerk
P. O. Box 1760
LaBelle, Florida 33975
Q What type of evidence would I be required to submit to support my petition?
A Please review the Florida Department of Revenue Website and Florida Statutes Sections 193 through 196 for evidence and evidence exchange information.
Note: the Clerk is not responsible for providing information of this type as these are legal matters and each petition may vary in required evidence criteria.
Q When should I submit my evidence?
A All evidence should be submitted as soon as possible. If the petitioner desires to enter into an evidence exchange with the property appraiser, evidence must be submitted no later than fifteen (15) calendar days before your scheduled hearing day as required by the statutory deadline, and the petitioner must specifically request, in writing, that the property appraiser supply his evidence to the petitioner. Specific information about the exchange of evidence requirements between the Property Appraiser and the petitioner is available online at Florida Statutes, Section 194.011 and Department of Revenue Rules 12D-9 and 12D-10.
Q Where do I submit my evidence during the evidence exchange process?
A All evidence must be submitted to the Property Appraiser’s main office at the following address:
Hendry County Property Appraiser
25 East Hickpochee Ave.
LaBelle, Florida 33935 or
Hendry County Property Appraiser
P. O. Box 1840
When submitting your evidence to the Property Appraiser, please provide two copies. Do not submit evidence to the VAB Clerk.
Q Where will my VAB hearing be held?
A VAB hearings are held at the following address, unless otherwise expressly stated:
Hendry County Commissioner’s Board Room
AdministrationBuilding, First Floor
25 East Hickpochee Ave.
Q What is the Hendry County VAB’s current hearing schedule?
A See Quick Links at top left.
Q When will I receive notice of the VAB hearing?
A After the filing deadline, the VAB Clerk will schedule hearings for all timely filed petitions. You will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of your hearing at least 25 days prior to your scheduled hearing date.
Q What can I expect at the hearing?
A The hearings are held before a Special Magistrate whose role is to render an impartial recommendation to the Value Adjustment Board. Special Magistrates are professional certified appraisers and attorneys. Special Magistrates are appointed by the VAB and report directly to the VAB, not the Property Appraiser’s Office.
All VAB hearings are open to the public. The average hearing can last from 15 to 30 minutes. However, hearings can sometimes last longer than anticipated, so please be patient. You may wish to bring a magazine, book, newspaper or other reading material to occupy your time while you wait.
Q Who will be in attendance at my hearing?
A A qualified VAB appointed Appraiser Special Magistrate or Attorney Special Magistrate, as applicable for your type of petition, will preside over and conduct the hearing, hear testimony and review evidence presented, and will issue a recommendation to the VAB containing findings of fact and conclusions of law.
The Property Appraiser and/or a Property Appraiser representative will also be present to uphold the assessment values and present supporting evidence. The petitioner and/or representative or agent is should attend to present supporting evidence or should indicate to the Clerk that the petitioner, representative or agent wishes to have all evidence considered in their absence. Anyone, other than an attorney or a licensed taxpayer representative, who is representing the petitioner, must present a written, signed and notarized letter of authorization from the petitioner at the time the petition is filed.
All petition hearings are open to the public and may be occasionally attended by others interested in observing the VAB process.
Q How can I obtain a copy of the transcript of my hearing?
A Hearings are recorded by the VAB Clerk on audio CDs. A copy of a CD ($5.00 each) may be obtained by calling the VAB Clerk at (863) 675-5216. Make checks payable to the Hendry County Board of County Commissioners.
RESCHEDULING/FAILURE TO APPEAR AT HEARING
Q Can I reschedule my hearing?
A You may reschedule your hearing date, without a showing of good cause, one time by written request to the VAB no less than 5 calendar days before your scheduled hearing date. If not properly notified in time and manner specified, the VAB Clerk may deny a request for reschedule, unless good cause can be shown.
Q What if I cannot attend my scheduled hearing?
A Failure of the petitioner to appear at the scheduled hearing will result in the petitioner being listed as a “no show” and the petition will be denied. A petition may be considered by the Value Adjustment Board in the petitioner’s absence if the petitioner indicates to the Clerk that the petitioner, representative or agent wishes to have all evidence considered in their absence. Additionally, a hearing may be rescheduled if a petitioner is able to show good cause for any such “no show”.
HEARING RESULTS/ADJUSTED TAX ROLLS
Q How will I be notified of the outcome of the hearing?
A The VAB Clerk will mail a copy of the Special Magistrate’s recommendation to each petitioner, once a recommendation is issued by the assigned Special Magistrate. The VAB Clerk will notify each petitioner, by mail, with a written “Record Decision” within twenty (20) calendar days of the last day the VAB is in session.
Q When does the VAB certify the tax roll?
A After all the hearings have been conducted and the VAB meets to consider the recommendations of the Special Magistrates.
Q If my VAB hearing is still pending when the tax bill comes out, should I still pay my taxes or wait?
A If your taxes are due and you have filed a petition with the VAB that is pending a hearing, please contact the Tax Collector’s office at (863) 675-5284 for further information.
PROPERTY TAX REFUNDS
Q How long do I have to wait for a refund on my property taxes?
A Tax refunds are normally issued after the final certification of the adjusted tax roll. For additional information, please contact the Tax Collector’s office at (863) 675-5284.
Q How do I appeal a decision once the VAB has made a final decision?
A A petitioner may file an action in Circuit Court within sixty (60) days from the date the assessment being contested is certified for collection, or after sixty (60) days from the date a decision is rendered by the VAB if a petition contesting the assessment had not received final action by the VAB prior to extension of the roll.
** PLEASE NOTE: A taxpayer does not need to have an informal conference with the Property Appraiser’s office before filing suit in the Circuit Court. A taxpayer does not need to file petition with the VAB before filing suit in the Circuit Court.