Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Here's another installment of our latest feature on this blog: Celebrity Property Tax Assessments. Today's celebrity is one of South Florida's favoritae sons, the Miami Heat's starting forward Udonis Haslem. Click here to see the property tax assessment on Udonis's Brickell Avenue-area condominium apartment.

Daniel A. Weiss is a former Attorney Special Magistrate for the Miami-Dade County Value Adjustment Board. Mr. Weiss now represents commercial, institutional charitable, commercial, high-end residential, agricultural and municipal taxpayers at VAB proceedings throughout the State of Florida. Mr. Weiss handles both valuation and legal claims.

Mr. Weiss has over 25 years property tax experience. Mr. Weiss represented the Miami-Dade County taxing authorities in litigation and appeals between 1981 and 1995 as a Miami-Dade Assistant County Attorney and has since represented taxpayers in property tax matters.

In Florida Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite” issue, July 2004, Mr. Weiss was selected by his peers as one of the top 30 government lawyers in the State of Florida.

For more information click here


Florida Lawyers Property Tax Appeals
Florida Lawyers Property Tax Appeals is the blog of Daniel A. Weiss, former Attorney Special Magistrate for the Miami-Dade County Value Adjustment Board, who now represents commercial, institutional charitable and agricultural taxpayers, as well as municipalities, on both valuation and legal issues, in administrative, trial and appeals court proceedings throughout the State of Florida. This blog will discuss matters of interest to Florida real and tangible personal property taxpayers.
Sunday, November 27, 2005

Want to appeal your property taxes in Miami--or anywhere in Miami-Dade County or Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe or anywhere in South Florida and get a 50% or more assessment reduction?

Of course! Who wouldn't?

For faithful readers of this blog, you know we've tantalized you before with anecdotal great results we've obtained in property tax appeals. In each instance we identified the legal or appraisal theory on which we premised our evidence.

Now, though, for the first time in print, we're going to talk about a couple of unifying principles.

First off, don't expect any parcel of improved, i.e., developed, property to be reduced more than 50%. That would mean that the county property appraiser had prepared an assessment more than double the market value of the property--an unusual circumstance indeed.

Now that we've stated this as a general rule, be aware that, as with any general rule, there may be an exception here and there. The exception to the no-50%-or-more reduction-for-improved-property will usually be a specialty property, or one with a legal exemption or exception--such as a property assessed with a building that was not sustantially complete as of the January 1 tax assessment date.

Another exception is Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)property. Take, for example, the assessment of Meridian West, a brand, spanking new Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) apartment complex built and operated by the well-reputed Carlisle Group, sepcialists in LIHTC affordable housing. After Meridian West was welcomed with great fanfare by local elected officials to Stock Island in Key West, the complex was socked with its first full-value assessment--OVER $15,000,000! After preliminary negotaitions and exchange of written materials, the Carlisle Group obtained a reduction to $9,967,111.

Finally, after submittal of 90 pages of evidence, including actual income, income analyses, Appraisal Journal literature, argument of the special statutes applied by the Legislature solely to LIHTC properties, undersigned counsel obtained a reduction to $6,300,000. This was actually significantly higher than the assessment requested by the taxpayer but still represents a 58% reduction from the preliminary assessment of over $15 million.

So, with the exception of properties accorded special treatment under the taxing statutes, including exempt, agricultural, LIHTC, or not substantially complete property, what category of properties is most likely to be capable of garnering a 50% or more reduction?

The answer is...drum roll, please...vacant land! This is a little surprising, since many tax appeal represdentatives do not like to appeal vacant land, evidently on the theory that it is so easy fpr the county property appraiser to match "comps," i.e., comparable sale properties, and thereby prove value.

But we have not invariably found this to be the case. As is our custom in all the tasks we undertake as legal counsel for our clients, we pride ourselves in "drilling down" below the surface and uncovering--or creating (i.e, identifying, researching and formulating)new issues.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Otherwise stated, results are what count. So try these two 2005 property tax reductions on for size.

a. vacant land reduced from $8,351,900 to $2,032,541, a reduction of 75%; and

b. vacant land reduced from $10,982,075 to $2,475,000, a reduction of 77%.

To see these two reductions and accompanying findings by the special magistrate, click here. Then proceed on the same Miami-Dade County Value Adjustment Board website to find the results for agenda item 04-20856.

So what are the top 2 secrets to reducing a Miami property assessment--or Miami-Dade County, Broward, Palm Beach, Monroe or other South Florida assessment by 50% or more?

1. choose a vacant parcel with unusual characteristics--former rockmining site, inside the lakebelt district, outside the urban development boundary (UDB), land agriculturallyzoned or planned or zoned GU (interim use), part-water, part-land, etc.

2. choose a property tax representative who is willing to explore new horizons to see what you and he or she can accomplish together.


So if you want a free consultation to discuss whether your Miami property might qualify for a 50% or more reduction in assessment, click here