by Ken Zdrok, Esq.July 3, 2024

What Is a TRIM Notice and Why Does It Matter?

In 1980, Florida passed a law called the Truth in Millage (TRIM) Act. This law was designed to inform taxpayers how much they pay in property taxes, how much they are currently being assessed on their property and to which governmental entity they are paying their taxes. Every county is required to issue a TRIM notice in the same format annually to each property owner. The TRIM notice shows last year’s and current year’s values. Taxpayers are provided with information on their tax burden under both the previous year’s tax rates and the proposed current tax rates if approved by each taxing jurisdiction.

These TRIM notices are issued in mid to late August. Taxpayers who wish to challenge their values need to be prepared to file a protest with the local Value Adjustment Board (VAB) within 25 days of the mailing of the TRIM notice. If a timely protest is not made, the assessor’s value cannot be challenged.

Once a timely protest is lodged, the formal review process will begin. The taxpayer will receive notice of the hearing 25 days prior to the hearing itself. Fifteen days before the hearing, the taxpayer must provide the assessor with the evidence they intend to use to support their value conclusion. At the seven-day mark, the assessor will provide their evidence to the taxpayer in the same manner. In most counties, VABs (Value Adjustment Boards) appoint a special master, usually a certified general appraiser. The special master will hear the evidence and issue a written judgment regarding the value.

It’s possible to negotiate with the assessor’s office throughout the appeal process. While not mandatory, this informal contact with government officials is often the best way to secure a reduction in property value. Taxpayers with strong evidence of a reduction should present this evidence to the assessor as soon as possible after receiving a TRIM notice.

Given that Florida has some of the highest property tax rates in the country, a reduced assessment can make a significant impact on improving cash flows. Reach out to McGuire Sponsel’s Property Tax Services team with questions about Florida’s appeal process and timeline.

As Principal for McGuire Sponsel’s Property Tax practice, Ken Zdrok manages real property assessment review and appeals, personal property assessment review and appeals, pre-acquisition advising, and acquisition price allocation consulting.

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