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Miami-Dade County


It would appear that the newly minted County Tax Collector for Miami-Dade County has gone above and beyond in his efforts to win approval amongst the citizens of Miami-Dade. In a recent case filed in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade County, a class of 30,000 Miami-Dade residents are alleging they are either owed unpaid interest on refunds for overpayment of taxes or, conversely, that they were paid interest on their tax overpayments and the county has since put a lien on the title to their property in an effort to "claw back" the money. Yes, you read that right, the County Tax Collector's office has unilaterally decided to cloud the title of taxpayer's real property in an effort to recoup interest previously paid.

This issue arose as a result of a practice put in place by the Miami-Dade County Tax Collector which lasted from 2011 through mid-2014. Section 194.014, Florida Statutes, was enacted in July 2011 and changed the requirements for a hearing before the Value Adjustment Board ("VAB") to contest ad valorem taxes. This new rule required a payment of at least 75% of the tax assessed, prior to delinquency, for the VAB to review a taxpayer's petition. Basically, this pay-to-play model required taxpayers to pay 75% of their tax assessment before they were entitled to dispute the tax in front of the county's Value Adjustment Board. There are requirements in most administrative proceedings that the amount not in dispute must be paid prior to the filing of a petition. However 75% of the amount assessed is a large burden on the taxpayer. As an offset, this statute also provides; "(2) If the value adjustment board determines that a refund is due, the overpaid amount accrues interest at the rate of 12 percent per year…until a refund is paid.[1]"

From the time this piece of legislation was enacted until 2014, when the current County Tax Collector was appointed to office, the position of the County Tax Collector's office in Miami Dade County was to pay interest to all taxpayer who filed VAB petitions and were awarded refunds. This position was regardless of whether the refunds were a result of a VAB hearing or whether the refunds were granted prior to hearing such as through a Petition Withdrawal Agreement. This alludes to the notion that the VAB has "determined the refund is due" whether or not there was a formal hearing.

The current County Tax Collector took a different approach. Not only does the office now take the stance that, absent a hearing, the VAB has not "determined" the refund, but they have gone a step further. The complaint in William Island Ventures, et al. v. Marcus L. Saiz de la Hora,2015-CA-6907 (Fla. 11th Cir. 2015) alleges the office has started trying to get "clawbacks" from Taxpayers who received interest payments during the period of 2011 to 2014. The method of collecting these is to put a lien on the title of properties associated with interest previously paid by the County. These liens are not for tax currently due, but solely for interest paid by the tax collector and collected by the property owner. The taxpayers, by and through their complaint, allege:

The Tax Collector has no authority to lien for interest. The Tax Collector is attempting to collect the interest in the same manner as he collects taxes. However, there is no statutory authority to such actions. The interest the tax collector seeks to recapture is not equivalent to ad valorem taxes and cannot by collected in the same way.

This complaint was filed on March 24, 2015. The County has 20 days to file an answer either admitting or denying that these allegations are true. In either event, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez is likely not too thrilled with his appointment's recent press.

At the Law Office of the Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A., our primary practice area is Florida taxes. We represent taxpayers and business owners from the entire state of Florida, from Department of Revenue to County Property Appraisers and Tax Collectors. Call our offices today for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION to confidentially discuss how we can help put this nightmare behind you.

Miami Tax Attorney; Miami Property Tax; Miami Property Tax; Amanda Levine

About the author: Ms. Levine is an associate attorney with the Law Offices of Moffa, Sutton, & Donnini, P.A. Her primary practice area is Florida tax controversy, with focus on real property issues. Ms. Levine received a B.S. in Accounting from University of Central Florida. She spent several years working in public accounting before attending Nova Southeastern University Law School. She received her Juris Doctorate in 2014. During her time at Nova Law, Ms. Levine was the Executive Justice of Academics for the Moot Court Honor Society, as well as the Finance Chair. She was awarded by the National Order of the Barrister, a national honor society which encourages oral advocacy and brief writing skills.


Section 194.011 Florida Statutes – Assessment notice; objections to assessment of property taxes

Section 194.014 Florida Statutes – Administrative Review of Property Tax

Section 197.333 Florida Statutes - When Taxes are due; delinquent

Williams Island Ventures, LLC et al vs. Marcus L Saiz de La Mora – Case number 2015-CA-6907 (Fla. 11th Cir. 2015).


Florida Homestead Tax Exemption Case – Mary Jane, published March 15, 2015, by Amanda Levine, Esq.

Florida Commercial Property Owners Get Blindsided By Sales Tax, published Dec 31, 2011, by James Sutton, Esq.

Florida DOR vs. Seminole Tribe – Indians Win Sales Tax Case, published September 22, 2014 by Jerry Donnini, Esq.


[1] This interest was capped at 100% of the value of the property, presumably to prevent people from overpaying huge sums in an effort to get the best return on investment one could find in 2011.

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