Petrogram - Winter 2011 - (Page 20)
Work SMART, Win BIG on
Blake H. Gaylord, Gaylord, Merlin, Ludovici and Diaz
he concept of working smart is not novel in the context of the retail petroleum business, but when it comes to property taxes it is often overlooked. Many business owners treat property taxes as a necessary expense and pay little attention to them outside of cutting substantial checks when the taxes are due. After the expense is paid, the issue of property taxes goes dormant for many property owners until the next year. However, working smart throughout the year on property taxes can pay big dividends if property owners follow three simple rules. to most owners. The TPP exemption allows an owner to claim a $25,000 exemption from ad valorem taxation for each tangible property tax return. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, at a typical retail petroleum station this would include tanks, piping, canopies and anything else other than real estate that has value by itself. TPP is self-reported and property appraisers rely on the property owner’s information heavily in the TPP assessment process. It is good idea to periodically review the items being claimed on your TPP form, their values and whether you receive the exemption for each site in a given county. Millage) notices when they come in each August. Or, if they do review the notices, they fail to do so in enough time to do anything about it. If you wait to review the TRIM notice until the time comes to pay your taxes, you may have already missed the boat on correcting any issues. If you’ve followed the first rule, and you know what you have, then you are ahead of the game for the third rule. Compare your idea of value with last year’s TRIM notice, even if it is too late to do anything about it this year. If you notice a discrepancy, then contact someone to help you get ready to challenge your assessment for the next year. As with every other aspect of a retail petroleum business, working smart can mean winning big. Property taxes are no different. Owners will do well to not only understand their rights related to property taxes, but to treat them as the significant cost item that they are each year. Many, if not most, properties are fairly assessed through the hard work of Florida’s property appraisers. However, for property owners who fi nd themselves with over assessed properties or lost exemptions, following three simple rules can make a big difference. ❍ Blake H. Gaylord is an attorney with the law firm of Gaylord, Merlin, Ludovici and Diaz. His practice focuses on eminent domain and property tax matters.
1: Know what you have The first rule seems simple, but it is critically important. Most property tax disputes fall into two categories: disputes over value or disputes over exemptions. The most important part of determining whether your property is overassessed is having a rough idea of what it is worth. There are a number of ways to accomplish this without paying for a full appraisal, and most property tax professionals are more than happy to help you with this at no charge. A surprising number of property owners ignore this simple rule to their peril. It is also important to know whether you qualify for any exemptions and, if so, whether those are being applied correctly or at all. In the retail petroleum industry, the Tangible Personal Property (TPP) would be a common exemption available
2: Get organized A surprising amount of property owners do not organize their property tax information in a way that allows them to identify the problems mentioned above. Burying your property tax information deep in a bookkeeper’s cabinet once year is not enough. By keeping your property tax information organized, you will be able to readily compare the assessed value from year to year in order to understand whether you have a property tax issue or not. This information is usually available through your local property appraiser’s website. This leads to the final rule: 3: Plan ahead Many property owners do not take time to review their TRIM (Truth in
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petrogram - Winter 2011
FPMA Salutes Its Patron Members
Insurance Issues: Fire Prevention
Advertisers’ Centerspead Marketplace
Regulatory and Legislative Update and Trends
Enviro Corner: Strategic Planning
Remember that Old Out-of-Date Word: Eligibility?
Out & About the Industry
Work Smart, Win Big on Property Taxes
Barrister’s Counsel 2012 – The Redistricting Session:
Index of Advertisers/Advertiser.com
Petrogram - Winter 2011
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