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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Hillsborough Property Appraiser candidate seeks extension for assessment appeals due to phone outage



The phones are ringing again at the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser's office after a three-day outage of its land-line system.

The outage came at a bad time. The Property Appraiser's office had mailed out TRIM -- or Truth in Millage -- notices to property owners telling them their valuations, exemptions and likely tax bills based on rates set by local governments. Wednesday is the deadline to submit an appeal if a property owner disagrees with an assessment or exemption determination.

Democratic candidate for property appraiser, former state Rep. Bob Henriquez, held a news conference Tuesday calling on authorities to extend the deadline given their lack of access to the appraiser's office in recent weeks.

"The office has been closed for the (Republican National Convention) and a hurricane," Henriquez said. Now this.

"While satellite offices were open, for a lot of citizens, if downtown is closed, the office is closed," Henriquez said.

Henriquez submitted a letter to the county's Value Adjustment Board asking it to consider the limited access some residents have had to the office in considering late appeals. He also sent a letter to the Department of Revenue asking it to consider a blanket extension of time for appeals. A spokeswoman for the department said it has no authority to issue an extension. The deadline for appeals is 25 days after TRIM notices are mailed.

Citizens with concerns about their tax assessments can ask for an extension of time to file a petition challenging it. A special magistrate who makes recommendations on appeals to the county's Value Adjustment Board can take into account extenuating circumstances in considering an extension request. Those who feel they have been thwarted in their efforts to resolve their assessment with the Property Appraiser's office are urged to be as specific as possible in describing why they deserve an extension.


[Last modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 3:51pm]


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