Preparing for a Property Valuation Appeal
What Can I do if I Believe the Value of my Property is Too High
You have two opportunities to appeal the value of your property:
Appealing Your Notice of Value
Appeal the "Notice of Value" for your property that you receive in the spring by contacting the county appraiser's office within 30 days from the date the notice was mailed.
Once you appeal your notice of value, be certain that you pursue it to your satisfaction. You will not be allowed to pay under protest later for the same property and tax year.
A declaration of representation may be required for your hearing. The appraiser's office can either mail you a copy, or you may print and mail one in; here.
Appealing by Payment Under Protest
Complete and file a payment under protest form with the county treasurer at the time you pay your taxes. Whether you pay half or all of your taxes, you must file this form by December 20. If your taxes are paid by escrow, then you have until Jan 30.
What Information From the County Appraiser's Office Should I Request & Review in Advance?
Ask your county appraiser for a copy of the property record card (PRC) on your property. This card will show the information the county has about your home - the number of bedrooms, baths, square footage, etc. Review it and make sure the information is accurate.
The county can also provide you with a comparable sales sheet (comp sheet). This report will list the data on your property and the data and sale price of up to 5 homes the county considers similar to yours. Drive by those homes and make sure they are in fact similar to yours. If not, take pictures of them to your meeting or hearing to show how they differ.
If you are aware of recent sales of homes in your neighborhood that are similar to yours and have sold in the last 5 years, request and review the PRC and comparable sales sheet for those properties as well. Take pictures of these homes with you to your meeting or hearing to show how they are similar
What Facts Should I Bring to a Meeting or Hearing?
The county's value is not presumed to be correct; the county must show how they determined the value of your property. However, don't take it for granted that you will win your appeal because the county must support its value. Be ready to show why your value is more accurate. You will want to provide information that supports your request for a lower value. Some examples are:
- Recent sale information about property similar in condition, quality, style, age and location. The appraiser's office will provide you with a comparable sale sheet for your home or similar homes upon request. Allow several days for processing and mail time.
- A sale contract for your property if it was purchased within the last two to three years. If any repairs were made, please provide any photos and contract / engineering estimates of the cost to repair and structural damage the county did not fully consider.
- A recent appraisal report for your property prepared by a fee appraiser.
- Rent income and expense information if the property is an income-producing investment (example, apartment building).
What Can I Expect During an Informal Meeting With the County Appraiser?
During the informal meeting, the appraiser will show how the appraised value was determined for your property. Review the record (PRC) to be sure all the information (age, style, and size) is correct. The appraiser also will provide you recent sales information used to value your property (Comp Sheet). Make certain all properties used to value your property are similar.
What is a COTA Small Claims Division Hearing?
- The Small Claims hearing officer is appointed by CODA, rather than by the county.
- The hearings are held in the county where the property is located, or an adjacent county. The hearing must be scheduled within 60 days after the appeal is filed in the small claims division and decided within 30 days after the hearing.
- You and the county appraiser each have the opportunity to present documentation that supports your opinions of value.
- The meeting is informal; no records of the proceedings are kept. All copies of documentation are generally returned to you before you leave the meeting.
Can Another Person Attend Hearings on my Behalf?
At a hearing, the owner of the property under appeal may appear personally or be represented by an attorney. In addition, the owner may be represented by a certified public accountant, certified appraiser, a member of the owner's immediate family, tax representative or an authorized employee by filling a "Declaration of Representation" form with the appraiser's office.
If I Bought This Property Last Year, Shouldn't the Value be the Same as What I Paid For it?
Your property will not necessarily be valued at the recent purchase price. One sale by itself does not determine market value, although it is generally given a great deal of weight. The county appraiser must first determine whether the sale price reflects the market. That is, whether the sale price is the result of an arm's length transaction, between a knowledgeable, willing seller and a buyer. The sale is then considered along with sales of similar properties.
Market conditions sometimes change between the time a property is purchased and its appraisal date (each January 1)
The County Must Satisfy Certain Burdens of Proof on Appeal
COTA's Small Claims Division
The county's value is not presumed to be correct; the county must prove it is.
Board of Tax Appeals
The county must show that the value of residential or commercial property is correct. However, if commercial real property is leased, the owner must provide income/expense information (up to 3 years) or the county's value is presumed to be correct.
Increased in Value
If real property increases in value for the prior year, the county must review the record of the property's last physical inspection and have documentation supporting the increase. If the value increases following a year when the value was reduced by appeal, the county appraiser must also show substantial and compelling reason for increasing the value.