How To Appeal Your Property Taxes
- By Rebekah Markillie
- December 6, 2018
Are your property taxes too high?
Here’s what you need to know about the appeal process with some important links.
First of all, the Board of Property Tax Appeals (BoPTA) cannot set the amount of tax that you owe – they can only change the valuations on which taxes are based or remove penalty fees.
There are only 3 circumstances under which the county will accept an appeal for property taxes:
1. Property Value is incorrect: you believe the county's assessment of your Real Market Value or Assessed Value is too high.
2. Exception Event: your taxes increased due to improvements made to your home (e.g. a remodel or addition) and you believe the assessor overvalued those improvements or that the improvements were not done.
3. Penalty: If you were assessed a penalty fee for filing your property taxes late and you want to appeal that fee.
The BoPTA will not consider these other factors when reviewing petitions:
- Financial hardship of the petitioner
- A sharp increase in value in a single year
- Lack of normal property maintenance as a reason for appeal (however, severely deferred maintenance and structural problems are considered)
- Testimony on tax rates or the fairness of the tax system
1 & 2: Property Value Appeals or Exemption Events
To appeal your property valuation, you must pay a $30 filing fee and submit this Board of Property Tax Appeals Real Property Petition to the BoPTA by DECEMBER 31. The last page of the petition gives you the opportunity to include evidence of your assertion that your property was overvalued.
Typically, comparing the value of your house to that of your neighbor’s, or comparing the taxes you pay to the taxes your neighbor pays isn’t considered satisfactory evidence by the appeals board.
Your best chance at a successful appeal will include strong evidence that the value of your home on January 1st of the assessment year was lower than what the assessor concluded. Strong evidence includes:
- Proof of an open-market sale of your property that occurred close to January 1st of the assessment year
- A professional appraisal dated close to January 1st of the assessment year
- Proof that your property has been listed for sale on the open market for a reasonable period of time at a price below the real market value listed on the tax roll.
- A list of properties similar to yours in size, amenities, and neighborhood that have sold close to January 1st of the assessment year. (The county provides this Comparable Sales Grid as an example)
If you are appealing an Exception Event you may choose to include:
- Proof of the cost of new professional construction that occurred close to January 1 of the assessment year
- Proof of the cost to repair your property, including written estimates of the cost of the repairs
3. Penalty Fee
The board can waive all or part of a penalty imposed for the late filing of a property return. To appeal a Penalty Fee you must pay a $30 filing fee and submit this Board of Property Tax Appeals Petition for Waiver of Late Filing Penalty to the BoPTA by DECEMBER 31.
The board will only waive fees if you can prove there was good and sufficient cause for the late filing. The county defines "good and sufficient cause" to include "an extraordinary circumstance beyond the control of the taxpayer, or the taxpayer's agent or representative." These circumstances include:
- Illness, absence, or disability which substantially impairs your ability to file on time
- Reasonable reliance on misinformation provided by county assessment and taxation staff or Department of Revenue personnel
Once you submit your petition and pay the fee, the board will consider your appeal at a hearing. Hearings are scheduled from the first Monday in February through April 15th. You have the option to attend the hearing and present your case, or you can decline and the board will make its decision based on the written evidence you submit.
Typical residential hearings last 10 minutes and are recorded. If you choose to present evidence in person you will only have 10 minutes to speak. The board's decision will be decided the day of the hearing between 2pm and 4pm. You can attend this portion of the hearing if you choose. Regardless of your attendance, a written Board Order stating the decision will be mailed to you in 8-10 business days.