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House passes bill to aid in assessment challenges

A bill that would shift part of the burden from taxpayer to the local property appraiser when the two are at odds, overwhelmingly passed the Florida House on Monday.

Under the proposal by Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, R-Miami, if a property owner disputes the assessed value of his or her property, the property appraiser would need to prove that the office followed all state laws and professional standards when assessing a property -- a burden that currently falls on the taxpayer.

If the property appraiser meets that standard, the assessment is then presumed to be correct, the burden then shifts back to the property owner to show that the assessment exceeds the value of the property or is out of line with similar properties nearby.

“During difficult economic times, it’s vital that we use every opportunity available to us to provide fairness and relief to Florida taxpayers,” Lopez-Cantera said in a written statement.  “The current property appraisal system is weighted heavily in the favor of government at the expense of taxpayers, and it needs to change.”

The House bill cleared that chamber 110-3. Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, is sponsoring a similar proposal in the Senate.

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