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Appeals and Board of Equalization

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Appeals and Board of Equalization

THREE STEPS IN THE APPEAL PROCESS
    1. Appeal to the Office of Real Estate Valuation
    2. Appeal to the Board of Equalization
    3. File suit in Circuit Court

PROCEDURES AND DEADLINES
    When you receive your assessment notice, read it for instructions about deadlines and filing procedures. If they are not clear, call the Office of Real Estate Valuation for information. Be sure you understand and follow instructions. A missed deadline or incorrect filing can cause an appeal to be dismissed.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ASSESSMENT IS CORRECT?
    You should first attempt to decide for yourself what your property is worth by looking at area sales, contacting appraisers, and comparing assessments of similar homes. Sales and assessment information is available in the Office of Real Estate Valuation and open to the public for review during regular office hours. Some information is also available by using the Data and Searches page.

WHAT IF I DON'T AGREE WITH MY ASSESSMENT?
    Talk with an appraiser from our office. During this informal session, you can learn how your assessment was made, what factors were considered, and what type of records are kept regarding your property. After this review, if you still think the assessment is incorrect, the next step is to file a formal appeal with our office. Your appeal can be printed here (using Adobe Acrobat). Once this form is printed and completed, it must be received (with all supplemental documentation) by the Office of Real Estate Valuation on or before February 3, 2014. Once you have printed the form, if you wish to return to this page, just click the "X" button at the right side of the tool bar near the top of the page. Forms are also available in the Office of Real Estate Valuation and at your branch library or fire-EMS station.

    Your appeal will be assigned to an appraiser from our office. To properly review the assessment, the appraiser will need to go through your property. During the inspection, you can provide any information you feel will be helpful in reviewing the assessment. After the review, you will receive written notification of the decision.

WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR AN APPEAL?
    An assessment appeal is not a complaint about higher taxes. It is an attempt to prove your property's estimated market value is either inaccurate or unfair. You may appeal if you can prove at least one of three things:

    1. Items affecting value are incorrect on your property record. Examples: You have one bath, not two. You have a carport, not a garage. Your home has 1,600, not 2,000 square feet.

    2. The estimated market value is too high. You have evidence similar properties have sold for less than the estimated market value of your property.

    3. The estimated market value of your property is accurate, but inequitable, because it is higher than the estimated value of similar properties.

WHAT IS THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION?
    The Board of Equalization is a three member citizen panel, appointed by the Circuit Court each March 1. If you do not agree with the appeal decision by the Office of Real Estate Valuation, it is the Board's duty to hear evidence by the taxpayer and the assessor before deciding if the assessment is correct. Your appeal to the Board must be in written form. It can be printed here (using Adobe Acrobat), and to return to this page once you have printed the form, just click the "X" button on the right side of the toolbar near the top of the page. You may pick one up at the Office of Real Estate Valuation, though the Board of Equalization is independent from the Office of Real Estate Valuation and establishes its own procedures and deadlines.

WHAT EVIDENCE DO I NEED TO PRESENT THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION?
    State law puts the burden of proof on the property owner to show the assessment is incorrect. Keep in mind your evidence must be strong enough to prove the assessor's value is incorrect. Simply stating property taxes are too high is not relevant testimony. You should establish in your own mind what you think your property is worth. The best evidence for this figure would be recent sales prices for properties similar to yours. The closer in proximity and similarity, the better the evidence. Another type of evidence is oral or written testimony from a witness who has made a recent appraisal of your property. A third form of evidence would be identification of properties similar to yours, but with dissimilar assessments.

DOES THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION HAVE THE FINAL SAY?
    No. If you don't agree with the decision rendered by the Board of Equalization, you may file suit in the Circuit Court. This will usually involve you hiring an attorney to represent your appeal.