In Florida, petitions to the county value adjustment board must be filed no later than 25 days after the Property Appraiser mails the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes (or TRIM notice, as it is often called). If a taxpayer misses that deadline, their VAB petition will only be considered if they can demonstrate that the late filing was due to “good cause.”
The Florida courts have not had much opportunity to consider what constitutes good cause for filing a late VAB petition. However, in one case, the appellate court held that the fact that a non-profit corporation had difficulty assembling its directors to approve the filing of the VAB petition was not such an extraordinary circumstance that would justify filing a VAB petition after the statutory deadline.
In its training for the 2009 VAB Special Magistrates, the Florida Department of Revenue explains the meaning of “good cause” as follows:
“Good cause” means the showing of extraordinary circumstances. While this is not a compete list, some examples of circumstances that may affect the taxpayer’s ability to file on time are: (a) personal, family, or business crisis or emergency or emergency at a critical time or for an extended period of time; and (b) physical or mental illness, infirmity, or disability.
When a taxpayer files an untimely VAB petition, they must attach an explanation of their reasons for filing the petition late. Those reasons are then considered by the VAB or its designee. In some counties, the question will be referred to a Special Magistrate for a hearing. If the Special Magistrate finds good cause, then a later hearing will be scheduled on petition itself. Other counties allow the attorney for the VAB to make the good cause determinations.
The Department of Revenue’s training materials also provide that the VAB should consider whether the delay will affect the performance of its function in the property tax process. Thus, a petition received a few days after the deadline is probably much more likely to be considered than a petition received months into the VAB hearing process.