Property Tax Information

County assessors throughout Arizona are mailing annual notices of tax valuation to all property owners over the next two months. You should examine yours carefully to make sure the assessment is accurate. If you are not happy with the value, you have a limited time to appeal. You must file the appeal within 60 days after the card was mailed. Having your property value reexamined could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year.

There are two methods of appeal: administrative or judicial. Under the administrative process, a property owner may appeal the “Full Cash Value” or legal classification through the county assessor where the property is located. This process is simple, but hiring a legal advocate can ease the anxiety of challenging the government. The first step is to file a petition with the county assessor. The filing deadline is printed on the “Notice of Value” card you will receive in the mail shortly. The second step is to request a meeting with the assessor’s office or submit written evidence that supports a 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.

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

This year examining your property-tax valuation is especially important under a new Arizona law effective on 01/01/12. With the next mailing of valuation notices to property owners, there will be an affidavit attached requiring property owners to (i) attest that they or a family member are occupying the property as their primary residence and (ii) return the affidavit to the county.  If the affidavit is not filed within 60 days, the property will be classified as a rental property and the property taxes could increase. This procedure will be repeated every other even-numbered year.

When a property is used as a rental, the county requires that this be reported as such so that the property can be reclassified and taxed at the proper rate.  This isn’t new. But, many property owners either do not know this or choose to ignore it. The new law and affidavit process, however, sets the property owner up for not only the tax increase but fines and possible legal action for not reporting properly.

So, please be alert to this change and the notice so you won’t get hit with an unexpected tax increase by ignoring the affidavit or not fighting an unfair value or classification. Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat, PLLC is ready to help.

Written by Attorney David B. Goldstein,

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