Property Assessment Appeal
The assessor’s office defends values or appraisals using current sales information of comparable properties and making adjustments for dissimilar characteristics between the subject and sales. This process demonstrates that the subject property is valued according to market sales.
As a property owner, nobody is more knowledgeable about your property than you. The purpose of the assessment notice is to notify you of the information the county has about your property. If changes need to be made to the assessment, you must contact the Assessor’s office before the deadline printed on the notice. Although this notice is not a bill, nor does it inform you of what your bill will be, it is very important that you read it carefully. By the time you receive the bill, it will be too late to make changes to the assessment.
To achieve a meaningful and productive appeal, the property owner should supply evidence that establishes error in the appraisal of the property. It is important to employ comparables from the same location as the subject and to consider age, type and condition. Sales occurring this year will be considered for next year’s assessment. It is essential to understand the definition of typical when supplying information to the assessor. When several comparable properties sell, the assessor applies the average or typical values gathered from such data in determining the assessment instead of picking the highest or lowest values.
Often, people enter the assessor’s office wanting to protest property taxes rather than appeal their property appraisal. There are methods available to protest taxes. Property taxes are created by spending incurred by schools, local government and other taxing districts. Concerned taxpayers should protest spending by attending the annual budget hearings of each taxing district affecting their pocketbook. Budget hearings are open to the public and offer invitation to anyone with comments. Make personal contact with elected officials who authorize and control spending (i.e.; school board members, mayors, city councilmen, county commissioners). Voicing concern with elected officials will influence spending and the efficiency of the departments they direct.
The Appeals Process – Step-By-Step
There is only one time of year assessed values can be appealed. This is when the assessment notice is mailed out. The majority of property is assessed on the regular (1st) roll and those assessment notices are mailed out no later than the 1st Monday of June each year. When you receive your assessment notice, read it for instructions about deadlines and filing procedures. See the Explanation of the Assessment Notice to further understand how to read it.
The first step in an appeal is an informal meeting with the county appraiser assigned to your area. Sometimes this informal review is handled by telephone.
Preparation for the Appeal
Prepare for the meeting with the appraiser. Find the parcel number on your assessment notice on the right hand side of the upper portion of the notice. Use this number to obtain a copy of your property record from the Assessor’s office. Review the facts on the property record. Is the architectural style correctly listed? If not, a recent photo of your home will help correct the information. Check the living area of your home, the size of your lot, the number of bathrooms, the presence or absence of a garage or finished basement, the year built, the construction materials, the condition, and so on.
Gather as much information as you can on similar properties in your neighborhood especially those that have recently sold. The appraiser assigned to your area will be able to supply you with information for sales of like property if you ask. You may wish to use the public computers located in the Assessor’s office. Compare the features of these properties to the features of yours. A difference in features may result in a difference in values. If your property has not been inspected by the appraiser in recent years you may need to make an appointment for the appraiser to do so.
The Informal Review Meeting
The purpose of the informal review should be to:
· Verify the information on your property record form.
· To make sure you understand how your value was established.
· To discover if the value is fair compared with the values of similar properties in your neighborhood.
· To find out if you qualify for any exemptions.
· To be sure you understand how to file a formal appeal, if you still desire to.
Most disputes are a result of misinformation on one side or the other and are resolved in this meeting.
The county appraiser you meet with will review your property record with you and give you information about comparable properties. Present any information you have gathered at this time. Please view the Assessors’ Office as an ally, not an adversary. The staff has been trained to be helpful, calm, and polite.
If you are not satisfied with the results of your informal review, you still have options. The next step is a formal appeal before the board of equalization. To be scheduled for an appearance before the board of equalization you must file an appeal in writing on the Protest form provided by the Assessor’s office. See the PDF Document below. This form may also be obtained from the appraiser you had your informal review with. See Idaho Code 63-501A. Your appeal is more likely to be successful if you present evidence that comparable properties in the same neighborhood as your property have sold for less than your assessment in the previous year (sales occurring after January 1st of the current year are not admissible).
Comparable properties will have the same or similar: attributes, building size, year built, lot size, bedroom and bathroom count, and be in the same or similar condition as your home. Copies of property records on your comparables with sales prices are your best defense and are available in the Assessor’s office. Note any differences between your property and the comparables and point out these differences. An appraisal of your own property, presenting the value as of January 1st of that year, may also be good evidence.
The Board of Equalization consisting of the County Commissioners will be interested only in the fairness and accuracy of the value placed on your property, not whether you can afford to pay your tax or whether taxes are too high. There are other avenues to address those issues. See Idaho Code 63-502 . If you disagree with the local board’s decision, additional levels of appeals are available with the State Board of Tax Appeals and subsequently in District Court. Information about these procedures is available from the Commissioner’s office. See Idaho Code 63-511. Any other questions please contact the Assessor’s office.