Appealing your home assessments is a daunting process, but in the end it may definitely be well worth your time and effort. During the first quarter of every year the tax assessment notice will arrive for you to review. To ensure you and the county are on the same page, obtaining a copy of your county record for review would be in your best interest; at times errors may occur in data or physical characteristics of your home which may result in over-assessment. If at this point, you do not agree with the property valuation there are several steps to appeal available to you:
1. Calling the Assessor’s Office and discuss your concerns with a deputy assessor responsible for valuing your property is one approach. Discuss the reasons why you believe your property value is less than what is indicated on the statement. The deputy assessor may then explain how the property value and classification were determined at that point. If questions are unanswered and you still believe the property is over-assessed, one would then advance to the next step available to appeal the property value.
2. Informal conference.
If after the conversation with the assessor’s office you still feel as-if the property is over-assessed an informal conference takes place. Here the County employees meet with tax payer to review the concerns of the assessed value, but may or may not change in value.
Evidence you could bring:
*a recent appraisal of the home. This may aid the county employees with a more in-depth look at the property, as well as what other comparable properties are selling for in the area.
3. Board of Equalization
The appeal forms can typically be printed from the county website, and must be filed with county by the 3rd Monday in July. Tax payers meet with county employees, if they cannot come to terms, a hearing officer will be available that is not associated with the county to render a value decision; typically a 3rd party appraiser hired by the board.
Evidence you could bring:
*full property appraisal
*if you recently bought property (last three years) a copy of your sales contract and closing statement.
*any evidence of problems with condition of property, like photos or bids from contractors.
*other properties selling in your area
4. State Tax Commission
If you’re still not pleased with the value you received from the board, you can then file an appeal with the State Tax Commission. At this point, the State will send a state attorney to be the hearing officer, and normally REQUIRES an appraisal from an independent-fee appraiser. If you file with the State Tax Commission, you must pay taxes under protest. This requires you to mail a letter with your payment stating assessments are being paid under protest, pending the State Tax Commission hearing.
Yes, this all may sound cumbersome, but as I stated earlier in the end it could be well worth your effort to make sure you are paying your fair share to the community, not unjustly more. Obtaining an appraisal for the purpose of an appeal in a ‘down market’ or a ‘recovering market’ could possibly give you and the county a better idea of how the market is reacting to available real estate. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee the county will lower your taxes and the original assessed value may stand as-is. Fortunately, there is a chance that if you have your ducks in a row it might save you some of your hard-earned dough, so give it a shot!