Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Want to appeal your property assessment?
Special Magistrate Fred Rossiter will show you how

Introduction: No Representation Without Taxation – It's Florida Tax Time Again

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – On August 15, 2013, County Property Appraisers in all 67 counties across Florida will begin mailing Truth In Millage (TRIM) Notices to Florida's 7+ million property owners. Mailing of the TRIM Notice starts the clock ticking on a narrow 25 day window in which property owners may file a petition to appeal their property assessment. If you decide to appeal you must file a petition with your county Value Adjustment Board. Then you will be scheduled for a hearing before a Special Magistrate.

The Observer is presenting this series by Special Magistrate Fred Rossiter who believes that appealing your property taxes has never been a fair fight.

It's Never Been a Fair Fight

At the beginning of every hearing the Property Appraiser establishes his Presumption of Correctness. From that point on Florida law says he's right and you, the Petitioner, are wrong.  Fred says, "The deck is stacked against you from the start."

Over 7 in every 10 Petitioners, who challenge their assessments in Florida lose their appeals. The weakness in Florida's petitioning process is that the average Petitioner is ill prepared to effectively argue his case. The Petitioner does not understand what the law requires of him, he does not understand the valuation process, and he does not have the skill set, the training or the tools to effectively argue his case. It's a mismatch.

After serving as a Special Magistrate for the past six years, Fred Rossiter concluded that with a little education, some training, and the right tools you could do a whole lot better.

Fred developed an online seminar to help all Florida property owners appeal their assessments. After he mailed a link to his bosses in Lee County, where he was serving as a Value Adjustment Board Special Magistrate, he was fired.

This series will introduce you to Special Magistrate, Fred Rossiter, the author of the series; give you an overview of the Florida property tax system; help you decide if you really need to appeal; and if you do, show you how through the eyes of someone who is an expert.

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