In the middle of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been hit with financial distress due to job losses and other loss of income. Despite extensions made for income tax and other official payments, property taxes for your Florida county are still due this year. However, there are options you can take to help lessen the impact that property taxes have on the bottom line of your household or businesses’ accounts. We talk to real estate attorney Nima Ajabshir, the Managing Partner at South Florida Law, PLLC about the details.
Interviewer: Let’s start with the basics. Are 2019 Property Taxes due on time this year? Has there been an extension?
Nima Ajabshir, Esq: Yes, there was an extension but it was only for two weeks. Governor DeSantis extended the deadline from March 31st to April 15th. So 2019 property taxes are due this week! It’s important to pay them on time to avoid penalties and late fees.
Interviewer: What can people expect this summer with their 2020 property taxes?
NA: From what we can see, the process will be the same as in previous years. We are not expecting any procedural or deadline changes with respect to when and how people receive their property tax documentation. If you are a resident anywhere in Florida, you can expect a TRIM notice from your county sometime before the middle of August. TRIM stands for Truth-in-Millage, a term used throughout the State of Florida since 1980. The TRIM notice will state your property’s ad valorem tax liability. That’s the amount that you owe based on the county’s assumption of the value of your property.
Interviewer: So what can people do if they are experiencing financial hardships due to the Coronavirus shut down and its effects?
NA: First and foremost it’s important that individuals and businesses take advantage of the economic aid package that resulted from the Families First and CARE Acts. The Payroll Protection Program and other opportunities for debt-based and grant-based relief are listed as links on the South Florida Law Coronavirus Resources page. People should work closely with their accountants and bankers to ensure that they submit timely applications and gain access to the funds they need and to which they have a right.
Secondly, commercial and residential property owners have a right to appeal their property taxes. We encourage anyone in Florida who suspects that their property tax is too high to file an appeal with their county. At South Florida Law, we facilitate that process by making appeals on behalf of Florida property owners every year.
Interviewer: How do you file appeal?
NA: Appeals can be filed directly with your county and must be submitted before the deadline in mid-September. The exact date varies by county. The easiest and way to file an appeal is to use an experienced real estate lawyer to make the appeal on your behalf. We make the process simple for Florida residents at South Florida Law. Simply fill out our property tax appeal form online, upload your TRIM notice and we will contact you with the next step in the process.
The most important thing for property owners to remember is the deadline. Property tax appeals must be made before the mid-September deadline without exception.
Interviewer: How likely is it that your property tax will get reduced on appeal?
“We make the [property tax appeal] process simple for Florida residents at South Florida Law.”
NA: Property tax appeals are each filed separately and judged on a case by case basis. Our firm argues every property tax appeal separately, providing the necessary evidence required for each county’s valuation board to consider a reduction. Sometimes the recent sale values of adjacent or nearby properties can serve as proof that a property may be overvalued. In the summer of 2020, economic conditions may drive down the value of some properties in the South Florida area – but we may have to wait until after the COVID-19 Shutdown to know for sure.
Interviewer: How much does it cost to file an appeal with South Florida Law?
NA: Property tax appeals are charged largely on a contingency fee basis. That means that you only pay us if you win your appeal. The amount we take is a portion of the savings that you make from the appeal.
Interviewer: Great. So, what’s the first step?
NA: Upload your TRIM notice with your contact details via our webform to start the property tax appeal process. Be sure to do so as soon as possible after receiving it in the mail. We’ll contact you to take it from there.