VAB Frequently Asked Questions
The Orange County BCC holds budget public hearings in September of each year. If you would like to voice your concerns regarding proposed millage rates, this is your opportunity.
This year’s BCC budget public hearings will be held on September 07, 2017 and September 21, 2017 at 5:01 p.m. These public hearings will be held in the Orange County Administration Center Building located at 201 S Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, Florida.
If you have questions regarding lost or denied exemptions/classifications or valuation assessments, contact the Property Appraiser’s Office (PAO) at (407) 836-5044. The VAB Clerk can assist you only with those questions regarding the process for appealing determinations by the Property Appraiser (denied exemptions/classifications, late filings for exemptions/classifications, and assessments).
Pursuant to Section 194.011(2), Florida Statutes, upon receiving the request, the Property Appraiser, or a member of his staff, shall confer with the taxpayer regarding the correctness of the assessment. You can schedule a meeting with a representative of the Property Appraiser by contacting the PAO at (407) 836-5044
Whether or not you choose to meet with the Property Appraiser’s staff to discuss the assessed value of your property, you may file a petition with the VAB as follows:
Online: http://vab.occompt.com/2017/ Only petitions for single parcels may be filed online. Those with contiguous parcels must be filed by mail or in person. (Refer to Section 1.D. Single-Joint Petitions Contiguous Parcels, Local Administrative Procedures.)
U.S. Mail: Orange County Value Adjustment Board, P.O. Box 38, Orlando, FL 32802-0038
Courier Service: Orange County Value Adjustment Board, Orange County Administration Center Building, 201 S. Rosalind Avenue, 4th Floor, Orlando, FL 32801
In Person: Orange County Value Adjustment Board, Orange County Administration Center Building, 201 S Rosalind Avenue, Fourth Floor, Orlando, Florida.
Note: The VAB does not accept petitions received either by email or fax.
Fully complete the petition and return the form to the VAB Clerk with the filing fee, if applicable. A receipt with your petition number will be returned to you for your records.
Filing fee is $15 per parcel. If properties are determined to be contiguous by the PAO, then a contiguous parcel determination must be provided by the PAO and must be submitted with the filing fee of $15 for the first parcel and $5 for each contiguous parcel. Checks are made payable to Orange County BCC. For information regarding confirmation of contiguous parcels from the PAO, call (407) 836-5044.
The VAB was created by State law to provide citizens a forum to address complaints regarding the following:
– The Property Appraiser’s assessment of property
– The Property Appraiser’s denial of an exemption or classification
– The Tax Collector’s denial of a tax deferral
Pursuant to Section 194.015, Florida Statutes, the VAB is comprised of two members of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners and one Orange County School Board member and two citizen members. The members for the current year are:
– Commissioner Bryan Nelson
– Commissioner Emily Bonilla
– County Citizen Member David Robinson
– School Board Member Joie Cadle
– School Board Citizen Member Lou Nimkoff
– Commissioner Betsy VanderLey
– Commissioner Victoria Siplin
– County Citizen Member Robert Caldwell
– School Board Member Nancy Robbinson
– School Board Citizen Member Heather Traynham
Pursuant to Section 194.035(1), Florida Statutes, State law also enables the VAB to appoint Special Magistrates for the purpose of taking testimony and making recommendations to the Board, which recommendations the Board may act upon without further hearing.
Pursuant to Section 194.011(3)(d), Florida Statutes, the filing deadline for petitions appealing an exemption (homestead, wholly exempt) or agricultural classification denial is 30 days from the date of the denial notice sent by the PAO.
The filing deadline for petitions related to valuation issues is no later than 5:00 p.m. (11:59 p.m. if filed online) on the 25th day following the mailing of the Truth in Millage (TRIM) Notice by the PAO.
This year’s filing deadline for petitions related to valuation issues is anticipated to be September 18, 2017. Please be sure to monitor the VAB webpage for updates (select “VAB” tab at www.occompt.com).
If you miss the petition filing deadline, you may still file a petition. However, you must show good cause explaining the reasons for the late filing. Submit your petition, as soon as possible, with a letter addressed to the VAB explaining the reason(s) for filing late. Be as detailed as possible in the letter. You must pay the required petition filing fee. The VAB, or designee, will review the reason(s) for missing the petition filing deadline. You will be notified of the outcome.
One petition must be filed for each parcel or tangible personal property (TPP) account number being petitioned unless the properties meet the criteria for a single, joint petition defined as follows:
– An owner of contiguous, undeveloped parcels of land may file a single joint petition with the VAB if the Property Appraiser determines such parcels are substantially similar in nature.
– Pursuant to Section 194.011(3)(e), Florida Statutes, a condominium association, cooperative association, or any homeowners’ association as defined in Section 723.075, Florida Statutes, with approval of its board of administration or directors, may file with the Value Adjustment Board a single joint petition on behalf of any association members who own parcels of property which the Property Appraiser determines are substantially similar with respect to location, proximity to amenities, number of rooms, living area and condition. The condominium association, cooperative association, or homeowners’ association as defined in Section 723.075, Florida Statutes, shall provide the unit owners with notice of its intent to petition the Value Adjustment Board and shall provide at least 20 days for a unit owner to elect, in writing, that his or her unit not be included in the petition.
For additional filing instructions pertaining to contiguous parcels, please email the VAB Clerk at email@example.com.
The VAB Clerk will schedule a hearing for each petition filed. You will be notified of the date, time, and location of your hearing at least twenty-five (25) days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The VAB Clerk will provide you with a hearing notice by either email or US Postal Service depending upon which method you selected when filing your petition. VAB hearings generally begin in early October and continue until all petitions have been considered pursuant to Section 194.032(3), Florida Statutes.
Pursuant to Section 194.032(2), Florida Statutes, you are permitted to reschedule your hearing date a single time for good cause by submitting a written request to reschedule to the VAB Clerk. As defined in Section 194.032(2)(a), Florida Statutes, “the term “good cause” means circumstances beyond the control of the person seeking to reschedule the hearing which reasonably prevent the party from having adequate representation at the hearing.” You may submit your request by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by US mail at Orange County Value Adjustment Board, PO Box 38, Orlando, FL 32802-0038 or by fax at (407) 836-5382.
If the VAB Clerk reschedules your hearing, the Clerk will notify you of the rescheduled date and time at least fifteen (15) calendar days before the hearing date, unless this notice is waived by both parties.
If an incomplete petition is received, the VAB Clerk will send a notice to the petitioner. The petitioner will have ten (10) calendar days from the date the notification is sent to submit a complete petition. Incomplete petitions will not be scheduled for a hearing until all issues have been resolved. Petitioners who have not resolved incomplete petitions within ten (10) calendar days from the date the notification is sent, and after the filing deadline, will receive a final Clerk’s Notice indicating the petition will not move forward to hearing. The petitioner may re-file for good cause.
A petitioner may withdraw his or her petition at any time before a final decision has been rendered by completing form DR-485WI/Withdrawal of Petition and submitting it to the VAB Clerk by mail, fax, or email (see section on how to contact VAB Clerk). The form can be accessed on the Florida Department of Revenue’s website (http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/vab).
If you are unable to attend the scheduled hearing, there are two options available to you:
Telephonic Hearings – A request to participate in a telephonic hearing must be received by the VAB Clerk no later two (2) full work days prior to the schedule hearing date. The request must be submitted in writing to: Orange County Value Adjustment Board, PO Box 38, Orlando, FL 32802-0038; by email at email@example.com; or by fax at (407) 836-5382. By requesting a telephonic hearing, the petitioner agrees to the following procedures set forth below.
a. All parties and witnesses shall be available at the scheduled hearing time.
b. Parties shall identify themselves upon speaking to ensure that all parties recognize who is addressing the Special Magistrate at all times.
d. Florida Statutes and the Florida Administrative Code provide specific guidelines for the exchange of evidence between the petitioner and the Property Appraiser’s Office. Guidelines are available by visiting www.occompt.com or by contacting the VAB Clerk.
Will Not Attend Hearings – A petitioner may indicate on the petition form, or forward a written notification to the VAB Clerk, that he or she does not wish to be present and argue the petition before the Special Magistrate, but would like to have evidence considered without an appearance.
a. If the petitioner has indicated that he or she will not attend, the VAB Clerk will schedule the hearing accordingly. In the event the petitioner has simultaneously requested a time allotment on the petition, the VAB Clerk will contact the petitioner via Clerk’s Notice to clarify whether or not they will be attending the hearing. If, within ten (10) calendar days from the date notification is mailed, the petitioner has not responded, the hearing will be scheduled as a Will Not Attend hearing, and will not be shown as a No Show on the hearing date.
When a petitioner does not appear by the commencement of a scheduled hearing before the Special Magistrate and the petitioner has not indicated a desire to have their petition heard without their attendance and a good cause request is not pending, the Special Magistrate will not commence or proceed with the hearing and will produce a recommended decision that the petition be denied. The recommendation will contain a finding of fact that the petitioner did not appear at the hearing and did not state good cause, and a conclusion of law that the relief is denied and the decision is being issued in order that any right the petitioner may have to bring an action in circuit court is not impaired.
Petitioners are not required to attend the VAB meeting where the final decisions will be made, however all meetings are open to the public. The VAB allows opportunity for public comment during the meeting but taxpayers are not required to make public comment. For more information, please contact the VAB Clerk.
Yes, someone may represent you at the hearing; however, the representative must provide a letter of authorization or power of attorney to the VAB Clerk prior to the start of the hearing. The property owner of record must sign the authorization letter. Without an authorization letter or power of attorney, your failure to appear for the hearing will be considered a “no show.”
You should arrive at the hearing site at least fifteen (15) minutes prior to your scheduled hearing time. The VAB Clerk will attempt to schedule hearings at reasonable intervals; however, unforeseen circumstances occasionally occur and hearings last longer than anticipated. If your hearing is delayed, please be patient.
Your hearing will be conducted by a Special Magistrate who will consider the evidence presented, make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and recommend to the VAB that your assessment either be lowered, remain the same, or be remanded to the Property Appraiser for further review. You may request that everyone present be sworn in.
Pursuant to Section 193.011, Florida Statutes and Section 194.301, Florida Statutes, the Property Appraiser is presumed by law to have correctly assessed your property. By petitioning the Property Appraiser’s denial of an exemption, classification, or contesting the assessment of your property, and to be entitled to a revised assessment, you will be required to present evidence that is more convincing than the Property Appraiser’s assessment.
At the close of your hearing, the Special Magistrate will take all evidence and testimony presented under advisement. Once a recommendation has been completed by the Special Magistrate, you, the petitioner, can view the recommendation online. The VAB Clerk will provide you with a copy of the recommendation by either email or US Postal Service depending upon which method you selected when filing your petition.
Special Magistrates are hired by the VAB to take testimony and make recommendations to the VAB only; final decisions are made by the VAB at its final meeting usually held in March or April of the following year. Written notification of the VAB’s final decision will be mailed or emailed to the petitioner within twenty (20) days of its final meeting.
The VAB meets between August and September each year to complete the first certification of the tax roll. This action allows the Tax Collector to begin collecting taxes on November 1 each year.
The VAB meets again after all VAB hearings have been conducted to consider all Special Magistrates’ recommendations and to certify the final tax roll, which includes all changes approved by the VAB.
A petitioner before the VAB who challenges the assessed value of property must pay all of the non-ad valorem assessments and make a partial payment of at least seventy-five (75) percent of the ad valorem taxes, less the applicable discount under Section 197.162, Florida Statutes before the taxes become delinquent.
A petitioner before the VAB who challenges the denial of a classification or exemption, or the assessment based on an argument that the property was not substantially complete as of January 1, must pay all of the non-ad valorem assessments and the amount of the tax which the taxpayer admits in good faith to be owing, less the applicable discount under Section 197.162, Florida Statutes before the taxes become delinquent.
Pursuant to Chapter 194 Part II, Florida Statutes, in the event you disagree with a decision of the VAB, you may file an action in Circuit Court. Such actions are considered de novo, or original actions, rather than an appeal of the VAB decision. Petitioners should seek legal counsel for more information and the time frames for doing so.