Appealing Property Value Could Save Big Bucks

County assessors throughout Arizona are mailing annual notices of property tax valuation to all property owners, and you should look at yours carefully to make sure the assessment is accurate. In my experience, having your property value reexamined could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year.

For example, last year the Santa Cruz County Assessor valued the property of one of my client’s at $243,000. We appealed through the administrative process. After presenting evidence of the lower value of the property, the appraiser agreed to reduce the “Full Cash Value” to $184,000, saving my client over a thousand dollars that tax year.

There are two methods of appeal: administrative or judicial. Through the administrative process, a property owner may appeal the “Full Cash Value” or legal classification directly through the county assessor where the property is located. This process is relatively simple, but hiring a legal advocate can ease the anxiety associated with going against the government.

The first step of the administrative process is to file a petition with the county assessor. The filing deadline is printed on the “Notice of Value” card. Each property owner must file their appeal within 60 days after the card was mailed.

The second step is to request a meeting with the assessor’s office or submit written evidence that supports the lower value of the property. This evidence generally comes in the form of a professional appraisal on the property. The assessor must consider, decide, and answer all requests on or before August 15. If the property owner and the county reach an agreement, no further appeal is permitted.

Property owners who don’t agree with the assessor’s decision may file petitions with the board of equalization for that county. Various deadlines and steps are involved, and one more appeal option via the tax court is available if the property owner still isn’t satisfied.

If property owners wish to forego the administrative process, they can go directly to the judicial process, filing a petition with the tax court.

Article published in the April 2011 Scottsdale Airpark News

Written by Attorney John Lohr, Jr.,

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