Section 194.034, Florida Statutes 2003
194.034 Hearing procedures; rules.--
(1)(a) Petitioners before the board may be represented by an attorney or agent and present testimony and other evidence. The property appraiser or his or her authorized representatives may be represented by an attorney in defending the property appraiser's assessment or opposing an exemption and may present testimony and other evidence. The property appraiser, each petitioner, and all witnesses shall be required, upon the request of either party, to testify under oath as administered by the chairperson of the board. Hearings shall be conducted in the manner prescribed by rules of the department, which rules shall include the right of cross-examination of any witness.
(b) Nothing herein shall preclude an aggrieved taxpayer from contesting his or her assessment in the manner provided by s. 194.171, whether or not he or she has initiated an action pursuant to s. 194.011.
(c) The rules shall provide that no evidence shall be considered by the board except when presented during the time scheduled for the petitioner's hearing or at a time when the petitioner has been given reasonable notice; that a verbatim record of the proceedings shall be made, and proof of any documentary evidence presented shall be preserved and made available to the Department of Revenue, if requested; and that further judicial proceedings shall be as provided in s. 194.036.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, no petitioner may present for consideration, nor may a board or special master accept for consideration, testimony or other evidentiary materials that were requested of the petitioner in writing by the property appraiser of which the petitioner had knowledge and denied to the property appraiser.
(e) Chapter 120 does not apply to hearings of the value adjustment board.
(f) An assessment may not be contested until a return required by s. 193.052 has been filed.
(2) In each case, except when a complaint is withdrawn by the petitioner or is acknowledged as correct by the property appraiser, the value adjustment board shall render a written decision. All such decisions shall be issued within 20 calendar days of the last day the board is in session under s. 194.032. The decision of the board shall contain findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall include reasons for upholding or overturning the determination of the property appraiser. When a special master has been appointed, the recommendations of the special master shall be considered by the board. The clerk, upon issuance of the decisions, shall, on a form provided by the Department of Revenue, notify by first-class mail each taxpayer, the property appraiser, and the department of the decision of the board.
(3) Appearance before an advisory board or agency created by the county may not be required as a prerequisite condition to appearing before the value adjustment board.
(4) A condominium homeowners' association may appear before the board to present testimony and evidence regarding the assessment of condominium units which the association represents. Such testimony and evidence shall be considered by the board with respect to hearing petitions filed by individual condominium unit owners, unless the owner requests otherwise.
(5) For the purposes of review of a petition, the board may consider assessments among comparable properties within homogeneous areas or neighborhoods.
(6) For purposes of hearing joint petitions filed pursuant to s. 194.011(3)(e), each included parcel shall be considered by the board as a separate petition. Such separate petitions shall be heard consecutively by the board. If a special master is appointed, such separate petitions shall all be assigned to the same special master.
History.--s. 21, ch. 83-204; s. 12, ch. 83-216; s. 3, ch. 86-175; s. 147, ch. 91-112; s. 2, ch. 92-32; s. 980, ch. 95-147.