Property Tax Firm Forecasts Record Increase in Appeals as Tax Bills Arrive This Week

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"Many owners see their values continue to slide. They're telling us their frustrations with newly raised millage rates and non-ad valorem assessments," says David Walle, Senior Property Tax Advisor at EQUITAX of Alachua County.

Taxpayers get frustrated - and that's what prompts them to take action.

A north central Florida property tax firm says real estate owners and investors are not expecting what they'll find when they open their tax bills just days from now. "Taxpayers get frustrated - and that's what prompts them to take action," says Walle. "Take our county as an example. In 2007 there were only 124 appeals. But last year, there were 453 property tax appeals and this year we had close to 800." Walle works in Alachua County with EQUITAX Property Tax Advisors.

While EQUITAX’s Gainesville office successfully represented a record number of property tax appeals in 2011, David Walle cautions, “Keep in mind that we have an unintended consequence of the Save Our Homes Amendment which we the people passed in '92. It's called the recapture rule." Walle explains that homeowners watching their homestead's market value drop while the assessed value rises are feeling its impact. "There had been talk coming out of Tallahassee recently that they were going to do away with the recapture rule. But so far that's all it has been: just talk." Walle cites Florida TaxWatch's findings that Save Our Homes is not a tax limit, but a tax shift. The net effect of Save Our Homes has been a shifting of the tax burden to businesses, renters, and second homeowners. Neither Mr. Walle nor EQUITAX are affiliated with Florida TaxWatch

Walle urges real estate investors and owners to look closely at their assessed values. If those values are suspect, he suggests retaining immediately the services of a property tax advisor. "Even if it's not our organization, hire someone who will represent your interests." County appraisers value properties as of January 1st, about 60 days from now. And taxpayers who are already concerned that the current values from the county appraiser are off may hurt themselves by waiting until after the proposed values are sent in August. Walle says, "That gives your county 8 months to work on your case. But if you wait until the next (TRIM) notices come out before retaining a property tax advisor, your advisor will only have a few weeks to work on the very same case. Our number one goal is to make certain folks are assessed correctly, but saving our clients from paying more than they ought to sure does bring a smile to my face,” said Mr. Walle.

ABOUT:
EQUITAX of Alachua County is an independently owned and operated business, part of the EQUITAX, Inc. network. EQUITAX, Inc. is a national firm which has operated for 20 years in the Greater Atlanta area. EQUITAX has represented over 50,000 successful appeals during the past two decades, generating millions of tax savings for their clients. To learn more about EQUITAX Property Tax Advisors and their services, visit http://www.equitaxUSA.com/alachua-fl/ Or you may contact EQUITAX by phone at (352) 335-0829.

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