Can I appeal a Tax Assessment?

If you own property and you don’t agree with the assessed property value which was used in determining your tax bill, you can always challenge the assessment. But before you lodge the appeal with the Appeals Assessment Board, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with the tax assessor and if in case there were errors during the assessment, you may not have to go on with the appeal since the errors can always be corrected. But if discussing your concerns with the assessor yields no fruits, you can then go ahead with the appeal.

Filing the Appeal

The first step in appealing a tax assessment is to file appeal with your local Assessment Appeals Board. This entails filing an Assessment Appeal Application Form within the required filing period. Be sure to be as detailed as possible by giving all the necessary details about you as well as the property whose assessment you are contesting.

Exchange Information with the Assessor

Irrespective of the assessed value of your property, you are free to request for an “exchange of information” with the assessor at any time, but more than thirty days prior to the date of your hearing. When you exchange information, you and the assessor exchange the type of information you will be presenting before the appeals board during the hearing.

If in the event that you exchange information and you come to an agreement with the assessor to terminate the appeal, you are allowed to withdraw your application anytime before the hearing date. You must however, have a written agreement, also known as a “stipulation” and this must be submitted to the Assessment Appeals Board through the assessor’s office.

Hearing Notifications

In the absence of a withdrawal or a stipulation, the Assessment Appeals Board will notify you of the hearing date at least 45 days prior to the hearing. The board must decide all tax appeals within a period of two years and once the date of your hearing has been set, you may reschedule the date for expedited hearing or you can postpone it to a future date, but this has to be done 21 days before the initially set date for hearing.

At the hearing

The hearing is primarily to resolve the disputed assessment value between you and your assessor. The Assessment Appeals Board will expect you to present appropriate and meaningful evidence to support your claims. Example of such evidence may include sales of other properties similar to yours in the same neighborhood. Your assessor will also be given a chance to give evidence to support his position and the figure he arrived at during the assessment.

The Appeals Board will then consider all the evidence submitted by you and your assessor then make a ruling on whether to uphold, decrease or increase the assessment. The ruling may be made at the hearing or the board may decide to give a decision later on, should it need to deliberate in private. If the decision is not announced during the hearing, then the Clerk of the Board will send you a written decision by mail.

Further Appeal

Though the decision made by the Assessment Appeals Board is final, you have the right to file an action in a superior court if you are dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeals Board.