LEGISLATIVE PRESS RELEASE: Representative Peter Nehr Brings Fairness to Value Adjustment Boards

May 2, 2008

TALLAHASSEE – Legislation reforming the unfair practices of taxing property based on “highest and best use” won unanimous approval from both the Florida House of Representatives and Florida Senate.  House Bill (HB) 909, sponsored by Representative Peter Nehr (R-Tarpon Springs), also makes the composition of Value Adjustment Boards (VABs) friendlier to taxpayers.

“This bill finally brings some common sense to the practice of assessing property in our state,” said Representative Peter Nehr. “This is an important step in the right direction that will bring fairness to value adjustment boards and create new protections so that Florida taxpayers do not pay any more taxes than what is fair.  This bill also includes language that restricts the ‘highest and best use’ practice of assessing property.  Reforming the practice of the highest and best use method will help every small business owner in our state by making sure property appraisers assess real estate based on its current use, instead of its best potential use.  I feel today the Florida Legislature has fixed a longstanding problem that will positively affect every property owner  in our state and increase the viability of our small businesses.”

HB 909 also requires the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop a uniform policies and procedures manual to be used by all VABs.   It also changes the composition of the VAB by requiring that property taxpayers be allowed to serve as members of the board.

Additionally, recommendations of the VAB will need to be in writing and include proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the property appraiser.

The bill will become effective September 1 when signed by Governor Crist.