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©2007 Bradford County Department of Information Technology | 945 North Temple Ave. | Starke, FL 32091 | 904-966-6280

 

BRADFORD COUNTY VALUE ADJUSTMENT BOARD

All meetings and or hearings of the Value Adjustment Board are held in the County Commission Chambers located in the North Wing of the Bradford County Courthouse, 945 N. Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida

Organizational Meeting: Monday September 8, 2014 @ 3:00 p.m.
Deadline to File Petitions: Tuesday September 9, 2014
Last Day to Request Alternate Hearing Date:         

Friday October 3, 2014

   
HEARINGS:  

Thursday, October 9, 2014 @ 9:30 a.m.

 
  Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 9:30 a.m. (alternate day)
 

 

 

This information is intended as a brief and incomplete quick reference guide to the purpose and general procedure for the Value Adjustment Board.  For the official, in depth rules and procedures, one should only rely upon the State Department of Revenue (DOR) Uniform Procedures for Value Adjustment Boards provided by the Department of Revenue as found on their website: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/vab and listed on the Clerk’s website:  www.bradfordcountyfl.gov/clerkindex.html.  Any conflict or doubt between this quick reference and the DOR Uniform Procedures should be resolved with reliance upon the official DOR Uniform Procedures.
If you disagree with the property appraiser’s assessment on your property, or were denied an exemption or classification you believe was in error, you have the right to discuss the issue with your property appraiser and to file an appeal to the Bradford County Value Adjustment Board (VAB).  You can do either or both at the same time.
The Value Adjustment Board consists of two members of the Bradford County Board of County Commissioners, two citizen members, and one member of the Bradford County School Board.
The Clerk of Courts is the Clerk to the VAB. The VAB as a panel considers and renders a decision on all appeal petitions relating to property assessments, classifications and exemptions. The VAB has no jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates established by taxing authorities. The VAB's one and only function is to hear evidence as to whether or not properties, petitioned for their consideration, are appraised at their fair market value and determine if an agricultural classification or exemption should be approved. The VAB cannot change an appraised value for any other reason, such as inability to pay.

The VAB is independent of the property appraiser and in fact, the property appraiser must present their evidence, as does the petitioner.
The Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) govern Florida VABs. Florida VABs are required to follow the Uniform Rules contained in the FAC, which can be found at http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/vab. VABs may have additional internal operating procedures, not rules, which do not conflict with, change, suspend, or negate the rules adopted in this chapter, the Florida Statutes, or case law. FAC12D-9.005(2)(a) and (b).

Petition Forms and Information
DR486 - Petition to the VAB - Request for Hearing
DR486PORT - Petition for Transfer of Homestead Assessment Difference
Petition Withdrawal Request

Local Contact Information
Bradford County Clerk of Courts
Attn:  Marlene Stafford, VAB Clerk
945 N. Temple Avenue
P.O. Drawer B
Starke, FL  32091
Phone: 904.966.2270

When and How to File your VAB Petition
VAB petitions may be found at the Property Appraiser's Office, the VAB Clerk's Office, the VAB Clerk's website at www.bradfordcountyfl.gov/clerkindex.html  or at the Florida Department of Revenue website at http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/forms/index.html#11.  See (FAC)12D-9.015.

Timely Filing of Petitions:

  1. Petitions must be received by the filing deadline. The filing date is the date the petition is received by the VAB Clerk (documented on the petition form).  Filing is further defined in FAC12D-9.016. Petitions mailed prior to the filing deadline, but not received in the Clerk's office until after the deadline are untimely.
  2. The VAB may not extend the time for filing petitions but may consider a late-filed petition when "the petitioner has demonstrated good cause justifying consideration." FAC12D-9.015(11). Petitioners must attach to the petition, a statement of the reasons for the late filing and any documents supporting the statement.  The Board, by good cause hearing, shall determine whether the petition has demonstrated good cause justifying consideration of the late-filed petition.  (FAC 12D-9.015(11)(d).
  3. The Clerk shall schedule together on one Notice, a hearing for the good cause determination and a hearing on the petition.  The decision regarding good cause for late filing must be made before the petition is heard.

Incomplete Petitions:
The FAC defines a completed petition as one that provides the required elements displayed above the sworn statement and is accompanied by a filing fee. If an incomplete petition is received either because there are missing elements or the fee is unpaid, the clerk shall notify the petitioner and give the petitioner an opportunity to complete the petition or pay the fee within ten (10) calendar days. (FAC 12D9-015(9)).  In the case of incomplete late-filed petitions, the petitioner must agree to waive notice periods to meet the scheduled hearing date; however, the Clerk will make every effort to notify the petitioner in a timely manner.

Fees Charged to File Your Petition

  1. No filing fee shall be required with respect to an appeal from the disapproval of a timely filed application for homestead exemption or from the denial of a homestead tax deferral.
  2. All other petitions, including late-filed homestead exemption petitions, must be filed with a NON-REFUNDABLE $15 filing fee. Cash, money orders, checks (made payable to the Clerk of Court).
  3. Joint petitions -The Property Appraiser shall determine whether the parcels meet the requirements for filing of a single joint petition.
    1. Owners of "contiguous, undeveloped parcels" may file a single joint petition if the Property Appraiser determines such parcels are substantially similar in nature.
    2. A single filing fee for joint petitions should be charged. The fee will not exceed $5 per parcel but will be no less than $15 per petition, and is to be proportionately paid by affected parcel owners.

After You File Your Petition
You will receive a Notice of Hearing from the Clerk's Office with the date, time and location of your hearing at least 25 days before your hearing date. You will receive a copy of the property record card from the property appraiser, if you checked the appropriate box on your petition form. The property appraiser has a website where you can search for records on your property http://www.bradfordappraiser.com/.  You also may go to the property appraiser’s office and ask for a copy.

Hearing Before Value Adjustment Board
Hearings before the VAB do not require an attorney or agent.  You may represent yourself or ask a family member or a friend.  Depending on the complexity or value of your property, you may want a licensed professional, such as a tax representative or attorney to represent you.  If someone other than a licensed professional represents you, you must sign the petition yourself or provide written authorization for your agent.

All hearings are held in the County Commission Chambers located in the Bradford County Courthouse, North Wing, 945 N. Temple Avenue, Starke, Florida  32091.  All  rooms  are  ADA  compliant,  but for any questions or special
needs, contact the VAB Clerk at 904.966.2270.


What happens at the hearing?
The Bradford County Value Adjustment Board Hearing Procedures are in accordance with Chapter 12D-9 of the Florida Administrative Code and F.S. 194.

  1. Petitions are heard in the order scheduled by the Clerk.
  2. The property appraiser is called to present testimony and evidence to support his/her determination of just value, classified use value, tax exemption, property classification, or “portability” assessment difference, or deferral or penalties.
  3. The petitioner is called to present testimony and evidence to support his/her petition, to rebut the testimony given by the property appraiser and to cross-examine the property appraiser, and witnesses, if any.
  4. The property appraiser is awarded time for rebuttal and cross-examination of the petitioner and witnesses, if any.
  5. At the conclusion of the presentation of the evidence and taking of testimony on a petition, the Board deliberates.  After completing its deliberation on a particular petition, the Board shall, by motion, second and vote, render its decision either to uphold or overturn the determination of the property appraiser.
  6. The Board shall have the authority to ask questions, at any time, of the petitioner, property appraiser, witnesses, Board Attorney or staff.
  7. The property appraiser, each petitioner, and all witnesses shall be required, upon the request of either party, to testify under oath as administered by the chairperson of the Board.
  8. All evidence must be submitted in accordance with Uniform Rules of Procedure.
  9. F.S. 194.034(2) In each case, except if the complaint is withdrawn by the petitioner or if the complaint is acknowledged as correct by the property appraiser, the value adjustment board shall render a written decision.  All such decisions shall be issued within 20 calendar days after the last day the board is in session under s. 194.032.  The decision of the board must contain findings of fact and conclusions of law and must include reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the property appraiser.  The Clerk, upon issuance of a decision, shall, on a form provided by the Department of Revenue, notify by first-class mail each taxpayer and the property appraiser of the decision of the board.  If request by the Department of Revenue, the clerk shall provide to the department a copy of the decision or information relating to the tax impact of the findings and results of the board as described in F.S. 194.037 in the manner and form requested.

 

How do I prepare for a hearing?
Arrive at the hearing equipped with all necessary information about the property: location, construction quality, features of the property, vicinity to surrounding landmarks, etc. and comparable sales for the year leading up to or around the date of assessment. Be aware that the Board has no knowledge of your property, so pictures and descriptions may be critical to understanding your situation. Some  individuals  with  high-value  property  may  wish  to  have  their   property
independently appraised.

Decide what evidence you will present, such as witnesses and be ready to give your own testimony. Be sure your witnesses know when and where the hearing is. Make enough copies of the written evidence you wish to present (you will need six copies in addition to your own to use at the hearing).  Evidence becomes part of the record and will not be returned.

At least fifteen (15)  days before the hearing, you shall provide the property appraiser with a list and summary of evidence, accompanied by copies of documentation, to be presented at the hearing.  Even if you do not comply, you may still present evidence and the board may accept such evidence for consideration.  However, if the property appraiser asks in writing for specific evidence before the hearing in connection with your petition, and you have the evidence and knowingly refuse to provide it to the property appraiser a reasonable time before the hearing, the evidence cannot be presented, nor accepted for consideration by the board.
You may ask in writing for the property appraiser to give you a list and summary of the evidence that he/she will present at the hearing.  If you did not provide your information at least 15 days before the hearing, the property appraiser does not have to provide this information to you.  If you ask for an exchange of evidence, the property appraiser must provide his/her evidence to you at least seven days before the hearing.  If the property appraiser does not provide the information at least seven days before the hearing, you can reschedule your hearing
These requirements are more specifically described in subsection (8) of FAC 12D-9.020.

You may want to contact the Property Appraiser's Office for an informal meeting to see if an agreement can be reached with regard to the property. The property appraiser is required to meet with property owners if requested by the property owner. Although you are not required to meet with the property appraiser, such a meeting   can   be   helpful   in   deciding   what    evidence   you   need   in case
an agreement cannot be reached.

Withdrawal of Your Petition
Petitioners may withdraw their petitions at any time. Petitions that are withdrawn are required to be reported to the VAB Clerk. To properly capture withdrawals petitioners will be asked to complete form DR-485WI found here: http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/forms/2010/dr485wi.pdf.  You may mail the withdrawal form to the VAB Clerk, P.O. Drawer B, Starke, Florida 32091; or email a copy to the VAB Clerk at: marlene_stafford@bradfordcountyfl.gov