Tax attorneys say every home over-assessed

Miami /
Aug.August 10, 2009 03:05 PM

South Florida property tax attorney Seth Lubin gets calls daily from distressed New Yorkers looking to appeal the property taxes on their South Florida vacation homes.  
 
“They have a good reason to be complaining,” he said.
 
Though property values have plummeted, snowbirds likely won’t see the tax reductions they hoped for. 
 
At the same time, full-time Florida residents legally protected from rising tax rates by Save Our Homes, a 1995 property tax limitation, are sill seeing their taxes increase. This is because local lawmakers are voting for higher millage rates — the tax rate per $1,000 of property values — to counteract the low market values.
 
Lubin of the Weston law firm Lubin & Lockwood, P.A., says a survey by the national taxpayers union shows some properties may be over-assessed by as much as 60 percent of their “true” value. That’s because county tax appraisers often base their assessments on historical values rather than reflecting current, post-real estate boom economic conditions. South Florida is no exception.
 
“They don’t have the manpower to put every house under a microscope,” says Jacob Sharff, co-owner of Real Estate Property Tax Fighters, a company specializing in residential property tax appeals in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. “Everybody’s home is over-assessed. It’s just amazing how flawed a system it is. Market value is based on last year, and prices have fallen so it’s really worth less.”
 
Sharff, who started his company with his partner in 2008, said there were almost 100,000 appeals in Miami-Dade County last year. 
 
Although Dade County was hit with a 28.4 percent decline in market value in 2008, its total taxable value dropped only 13 percent. Broward County’s Home Value Index declined 24.2 percent, yet taxable value fell by only 10.7 percent. These numbers are slightly worse than the average market value decline in Florida last year, which was 23.3 percent.
 
Even those who haven’t seen their taxes increase by more than 3 percent during the boom years could soon see a noticeable hike. In past years, year-round Florida residents benefited from Save Our Homes, a state provision designed to limit the amount property taxes increase. However, it doesn’t protect these residents from adjusting millage rates when property values are low. 
 
High property tax rates could pose an issue for retirees who have a fixed monthly budget.
 
“The people with Save Our Homes are going to see prices go up,” said Jack McCabe, CEO of Deerfield Beach-based McCabe Research and Consulting. Though it seems local lawmakers are raising taxes and insurance rates at the worst possible economic time, some real estate analysts don’t believe it will drastically affect home sales one way or the other.
 
“Property taxes were an issue in the last few years because combined with insurance it was like a second mortgage,” said McCabe. “Now it’s not so much an issue.”


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
South Florida’s residential markets bounced back in the third quarter

South Florida’s residential sales rise in Q3, led by surge in Palm Beach County

South Florida’s residential sales rise in Q3, led by surge in Palm Beach County
Renderings of the project (Courtesy of Pinnacle)

Pinnacle scores $31M for senior affordable housing development

Pinnacle scores $31M for senior affordable housing development
From left: The Bristol in West Palm Beach; 6431 Pine Tree Drive Circle, Miami Beach; 2325 Desota Drive, Fort Lauderdale; and 12520 Seminole Beach Road, North Palm Beach (Realtor, iStock)

South Florida signed resi contracts up in September: Elliman

South Florida signed resi contracts up in September: Elliman
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (Credit: Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

Miami-Dade police said pre-Covid evictions could resume. Then came mayor’s stop order

Miami-Dade police said pre-Covid evictions could resume. Then came mayor’s stop order
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

DeSantis moves Miami-Dade, Broward counties into phase two

DeSantis moves Miami-Dade, Broward counties into phase two
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez (Credit: Jason Koerner/Getty Images)

Miami-Dade mayor: Bars and nightclubs won’t reopen until there’s a vaccine

Miami-Dade mayor: Bars and nightclubs won’t reopen until there’s a vaccine
While newly signed contracts for both single-family homes and condos rose on an annual basis, month-over-month contracts fell compared to July

New signed resi contracts rose in August in South Florida

New signed resi contracts rose in August in South Florida
Photo illustration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez (Getty, iStock)

Restaurants can reopen their dining rooms in Miami-Dade starting next week

Restaurants can reopen their dining rooms in Miami-Dade starting next week
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...