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Property Tax Appeals Process Need Improvement, IG Finds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015)

    Delays caused by poor scheduling and under-staffing contribute to long delays in the Miami-Dade property tax appeals system, according to a new report by the county's inspector general.

    The report makes 16 recommendations on how to correct the deficiencies.

    So many property owners have appealed since 2008, the system is two years behind.

    "The problem was there was a two-year delay in the certification of tax rolls. That was causing a delay in funding to the school district," said Mary Cagle, the inspector general.

    Both the schools and the county don't know exactly how much tax revenue they have to spend until the appeals process is complete.

    Property appraiser Pedro Garcia blames, in part, agents for taxpayers who obtain repeatedly reschedule hearings before the Value Adjustment Board, which decides if the assessed value is accurate.

    Garcia calls it an abuse of the system.

    "When you have the reschedules and the Department of Revenue allows them to reschedule for one reason and then for different reason, that's also a tremendous delay," Garcia said.

    While Cagle's review found serious problems with scheduling, she did not find any evidence of criminal behavior.

    And, she says, she already sees government moving in the right direction.

    "They are staffing up," Cagle said. "So I think the recommendations have been embraced and I really expect to see a change. I think the process is going to become more efficient."

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