Miami-Dade property appraiser: Florida should change rule that contributes to tax-collection delays

08/04/2014 5:24 PM

08/04/2014 7:01 PM

The Miami-Dade property appraiser filed legal action against the state of Florida on Monday over an obscure administrative rule the county says has contributed to mucking up crucial tax collections for local governments.

At issue is the way property owners can go about appealing their tax assessments before the Value Adjustment Board, an agency whose work is being scrutinized by the Miami-Dade inspector general.

Florida law allows owners to reschedule an appeal “a single time.” But rules written by the state Department of Revenue in 2009 say the hearing can be rescheduled once and then again and again, indefinitely, if the petitioner shows “good cause.” Among valid reasons: illness, a death in the family, a delay in the hearing or “other reasons beyond” the petitioner’s control.

Those repeated delays go beyond what state law allows, the office of acting Property Appraiser Lazaro Solis argued in its legal petition to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. And the delays waste the property appraiser’s resources and ability to certify the final tax rolls that are local governments’ lifeblood, he said.

“It’s killing us,” he said.

In 2012, about 28 percent of value-adjustment 73,800 appeals were rescheduled at least twice.

The 2012 tax rolls were certified nearly 18 months late.

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