Bresky Law recently assisted a homeowner in obtaining an adjustment of the valuation of his home from the Value Adjustment Board (“VAB”) for tax portability purposes.
The homeowner and his wife sold their waterfront home in Palm Beach County and purchased a new home. They later submitted a Petition For Adjustment with the VAB seeking to have the Property Appraiser’s valuation of their former home increased. A homeowner has an incentive to have the former home valued at a higher amount in this context because if the new residence has a higher market value than the former residence, the portability amount is determined by subtracting the assessed value of the former home from its market value.
A hearing took place at which the Property Appraiser’s Office (“PAO”) and homeowner presented evidence of sales in the area to support their positions on the valuation of the home. The PAO presented three sales in the area, two of which were waterfront properties. The homeowner presented three same-neighborhood sales from 2017, two of which were also waterfront properties. The Magistrate later issued a Recommended Decision concluding that the homeowner overcame the presumption of correctness established by the Property Appraiser’s evidence and had proven that the Property Appraiser’s valuation did not represent just value, or was arbitrary. However, the Magistrate concluded that the record established a revised value much lower than the price per square foot of even the lowest of the sales submitted by the PAO.
We assisted the homeowner in drafting a detailed letter to the PAO explaining his position and his intention to attend an upcoming VAB meeting. We noted that the Magistrate did not explain in the Recommended Decision how he arrived at the valuation, and that the valuation was inconsistent with the Magistrate’s own findings of fact as to which of the sales was most relevant. We presented various valuations based on the different sales submitted by the PAO and homeowner. We pointed out that all of these valuations were still well above the Magistrate’s valuation.
The homeowner submitted the letter and attended the VAB meeting. The VAB set a hearing before the PAO at which the homeowner explained his position. The PAO increased the valuation of the home by $84,000 over the amount the Magistrate recommended, based on the homeowner’s argument. This favorable result allowed the homeowner to save a substantial amount of money in property taxes on his new home.