VIDEO - The Appeals Process: The following video entitled Your Assessment Appeal was developed as a collaborative effort between the Board Taxpayers' Rights Advocate and the County-Assessed Properties Division. Additionally, assistance and input was provided by many of the counties. The video is divided into the following segments:
- Decline in Market Value
- Base Year Value
- Reassessment After Calamity
- Escape Assessment and Roll Changes
- Filling Out the Application
- Preparing for Your Hearing
- Your Hearing
Watch "Your Assessment Appeal" video
PREPARING FOR YOUR HEARING
When your application is formally accepted, the law requires that you be notified at least 45 days in advance of your scheduled hearing date. To prepare for the hearing, you will need to gather and assemble admissible evidence that you will bring to the hearing to support your position. For Hearing Officer hearings, you must bring three sets of the documents to be used as evidence for your hearing. For Board hearings, you must bring six sets of the documents to be used as evidence for your hearing. Without giving the Assessment Appeals Board the evidence it needs to consider your request for a reduction, your appeal will be denied.
Keep in mind that the purpose of the hearing is to resolve the dispute between you and the Assessor’s Office. While the hearings do not use the formal rules of evidence followed by courts, any evidence you present must be appropriate and meaningful in order to be admissible.
EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR OPINION OF YOUR PROPERTY VALUE
There are three basic methods used by appraisers to find value of property:
- Comparable sales of similar property approach (see below for explanation)
- Replacement cost less depreciation approach
- Income approach
In most residential appeals, the most reliable type of evidence to support your opinion of “fair market value” is the comparable sales approach.
COMPARABLE SALES APPROACH TO VALUE
(CLICK HERE FOR Residential Comparison Work Sheet )
A. What Valuation Date to Use
The value date - the date used as the basis for determining the value of your property - depends on the reason for your appeal.
- Decline in value appeals. Uses January 1 of the year in which you are applying. For example, if you filed an appeal between July 2 & September 15, 2011, January 1, 2011 would be your valuation date. Any comparable sales you present as evidence can have occurred any time before January 1, 2011, but no more than 90 days after January 1, 2011 (i.e., March 31, 2011). Similarly, if you plan to file an appeal during the July 2 - September 15 filing period in 2012, your lien date would be January 1, 2012. Any comparable sales prior to January 1, 2012 will be acceptable, but sales past March 31, 2012 will not be considered as valid evidence. The ideal time period for comparable sales is 90 days before to 90 days after the appropriate January 1st lien date.
- Change in ownership and new construction (base year value) appeals. Uses the date of the change in ownership or date of completed construction (aka the Event Date) stated on the reassessment notice. For example, when appealing a new purchase bought on December 20, you will use December 20 as your valuation date. Any comparable sales you present as evidence must have occurred on or before December 20, but no more than 90 days after December 20.
B. Source of Information
You can find comparable sales data through local real estate agents and brokers, real estate appraisers, and mortgage brokers. If you use one of these sources of data, you should ensure that they find comparable sales appropriate for the valuation date of the property you are appealing.
C. How to Evaluate Comparable Sales
“Comparable sales” are sales of other properties that are similar to yours. Three different standards are used to judge the comparability of the properties you submit as evidence.
- Are the sales "arm's-length open market" transactions? “Arm's-length open market" transaction refers to conditions surrounding the sale. Was the property exposed for sale on the open market? Was the property available for sale to anyone? Did the seller have to sell quickly? Was the property listed for sale with a Realtor? Did the buyer and seller know each other? For example, a house sold between relatives may sell for less than if it were sold to someone the seller does not know. In that situation, a sale may not be an arm’s-length transaction.
- Are the properties physically similar to your property? Elements used to measure the physical similarity include, but are not limited to, the following:
-Distance from your property
-The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
-Size/square footage of improvements
-Lot size and other attributes such as a corner lot or a view
-Miscellaneous improvements such as pools, patios, and so forth
-Quality of construction
-Property condition (excellent, good, fair, or poor)
- Are the comparable sales relevant for the valuation date of the property you are appealing? By law the Assessment Appeals Board may only consider comparable sales that have occurred no later than 90 days after the valuation date of your property that you are appealing. Comparable sales that occur well before or up to 90 days after the valuation date are acceptable, but sales closer to the valuation date will most likely be viewed by an Assessment Appeals Board as more reliable.
YOUR ASSESSMENT APPEALS HEARING
A. Notice of Hearing
After receiving your properly completed application you will be scheduled for a hearing. You or your agent will be notified of your hearing date at least 45 days in advance of your first scheduled hearing. The Assessment Appeals Board is expected to hear and decide your appeal within two years of the timely filing of an application.
B. Attending the Hearing
You, as the applicant, must personally attend the hearing or be represented by an authorized agent who is thoroughly familiar with the facts of your appeal. Failure of you or your agent to appear may result in the denial of your application.
C. Burden of Proof
The Assessor’s Office bears the burden of proof in the following situations:
- Appeals of owner-occupied, single family dwellings that qualify for a homeowners' property tax exemption
- Appeals of your property’s assessed value when the Assessor enrolled a value different from your purchase price
- Escape assessments
In all other situations, the applicant has the burden of proving that the property has not been correctly assessed.
D. Reaching A Decision
The Assessment Appeals Board will base its decision on the evidence presented by you and the Assessor at the hearing. The Board will evaluate the suitability of any approach to value and the data you or your authorized agent and the Assessor used to reach a conclusion.
E. Notice of Decision
The Appeals Board may announce its decision at your hearing, or take the matter under submission, deliberate in private, and issue its decision at a later date. If a decision is not announced at your hearing, the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board will mail a written decision to you or your agent.