Appeal Exemption Denials / File a VAB Petition
When a person has been notified of an exemption denial by registered mail, they have until 25 days after the mailing of their TRIM notice to file an appeal with the Value Adjustment Board (VAB). There is no filing fee for applicants who have been denied a homestead exemption application unless the denial is for a late file. If the petitioner is appealing a denial of an application that was filed late (after March 1), a nominal filing fee is due.
Applicants whose exemptions have been properly denied must file their appeals within the filing period. If a properly denied applicant misses their VAB filing deadline, their only recourse is to file suit in the circuit court.
When the TRIM is mailed, this may alert a property owner that they have failed to file for exemptions. An exemption application may be submitted at that time. A petitioner who has not previously been denied by certified mail has until 25 days after the mailing date of the TRIM to file a petition with the VAB. This deadline is printed on the TRIM notice.
A petitioner is given an appointment for a VAB hearing before a Special Magistrate who is an attorney not affiliated with either the Board of County Commissioners or the Property Appraiser. This person is an independent hearing officer, hired to hear appeals of exemption denials. At the hearings of the VAB, the petitioner or their representative must appear in the manner designated on their appeal either by person or electronically at the appointed time and place, and present evidence that demonstrates that they are entitled to the denied exemption. An exemption specialist from the Property Appraiser's office is also in attendance to present the documentation and statutory references upon which the denial was based. The Special Magistrate will consider all evidence presented and make a ruling to either grant or deny the exemption. The decision of the VAB is final, unless the petitioner files suit in the circuit court within 15 days of the ruling, or the Property Appraiser files suit within the appropriate time frame.
In the case of an exemption application that is filed late, the petitioner must present evidence and documentation that demonstrates extenuating circumstances beyond his or her control that precluded the applicant from filing by the March 1 deadline.
Rules of evidence for the VAB apply to petitions for exemption denials as well as petitions for valuation issues. At least 10 calendar days before the petitioner’s scheduled hearing, they must provide a list, summary of and copies of any evidence to be presented at the hearing. In turn, the Property Appraiser must provide the same information to the petitioner no later than 5 days after receiving the petitioner’s evidence. According to VAB procedures, any such evidence not submitted by the petitioner by these deadlines cannot be presented at the hearing. A petitioner has the right to reschedule a VAB petition once with good cause, the request must be sent to the VAB in writing.