By Patrick Smikle….
Property Appraiser Pedro J. Garcia is urging property owners to carefully study the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (also called the TRIM — Truth In Millage — Notice), which his office recently mailed to more than one million Miami-Dade property and business owners.
In addition to the TRIM Notice, the package each property owner should have received contains a guide to help owners better understand the document, and a message from Garcia reflecting on the change in Miami-Dade’s real estate values.
The TRIM Notice itself has valuable information about each individual property parcel, including:
• Property values calculated as of Jan. 1, 2010, the statutory assessment date, using 2009 sales and market data;
• Exemptions applied to the property;
• Taxes calculated on the basis of the taxing authorities’ proposed millage rates, and • The dates, times and venues of budget hearings which taxing authorities (such as the municipal governments) and the school board are required to hold.
The 2010 Certification of Taxable Value, which the Property Appraiser released to the taxing authorities on July 1, showed a 13.4 percent countywide decline in taxable values, with municipalities experiencing declines ranging from a low of 3.8 percent to a high of 31.2 percent.
While individual properties are likely to show similar declines in market value, depending on their location, Garcia has informed that some property owners, who have long benefited from the Save Our Homes cap on value increases for properties with Homestead Exemption, approved by Florida voters in 1994, may see a 2.7 percent increase in the property’s assessed value. This increase is mandated by Florida law, which requires raising the assessed value of homesteaded properties by three percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is lower. This only applies to homestead exempted properties with an assessed value lower than market value.
Property owners wishing to dispute their assessments have until Sept. 20 to file a petition with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). However, Garcia is encouraging property owners who have questions about their assessments or their exemptions to visit either the Downtown Miami (111 NW 1 St., Eighth Floor) or South Dade Government Center (10710 SW 211 St., Second Floor) offices of the Property Appraiser to discuss and resolve these questions in one-on-one interviews with his staff. They should bring to these interviews any documents such as appraisals, photographs and insurance claim paperwork, which may support their case for an assessment reduction.
Questions about property tax rates, budgets, budget-hearings and related issues, should be directed to the respective taxing authority listed on the TRIM Notice. Property owners can contact the Appraiser’s Office by calling 786-331-5321.