Every week, Mansion Global poses a tax question to real estate tax attorneys. Here is this week’s question.
Q: I’m buying two adjacent plots of land in Miami. I’m tearing down both houses to build a new one. Is there anything I can do to avoid paying double the taxes?
“There is no way to avoid the tax on both lots,” said Kevin Packman, partner at Holland & Knight law firm in Miami. “However, if the houses are knocked down, the value should be adjusted to account for the fact it is only land value without a home.”
If the two parcels can be combined, for which there may be zoning and other legal issues, and a new home is built, the property appraiser will determine the fair market value of both the land and the building, said Norman S. Segall, partner at Lubell Rosen law firm in Coral Gables, Florida.
A higher valuation will result in higher property taxes, “although not necessarily double the taxes on the [former] separate properties,” Mr. Segall said.
Exemptions, such as those for veterans and widows/widowers, help to reduce the home’s assessed value, Mr. Packman said. He advised checking out Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser’s web site for a full list.
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