Taxpayer Successfully Challenged Ada County Idaho Assessment On Her Own
Thank you to the Idaho Statesman for the original news story – linked here.
The assessor had used sales data from other homes in her area to calculate the value of her home. But the homeowner’s home backed up to a busy road, making it more difficult for any sellers to sell the property at a value near the assessed value.
The homeowner quickly gathered a list of sales prices for other properties – what agents call comparables – and appealed her assessment with confidence that she would get at least some relief because of the road frontage.
The assessor agreed to come to inspect her home. As she pointed out the noisy traffic and parts of her home that were not updated, the county dropped her assessed value by $96,000 when it saved her nearly $900 in taxes.
When homeowners decide whether to appeal, the two biggest things they should consider are how unique their home’s features might make it less valuable and if there needs updating.
A home’s worth can be affected by the features of its surrounding area, like traffic noise. If an assessor uses a renovated or landscaped home’s sale price to calculate the value for an unrenovated one nearby, it could skew their assessment.
How To Appeal Property Taxes Without A Lawyer
1. Get a Real Estate Agent to Help
Real estate agents are the best people to turn to for homeowners to find a comparable home. If all else fails, they can call another agent located nearby and ask them for help! Agents will use information that isn’t available publicly, which only makes sense because there’s no reason why you should have access if not an agent or experienced with real estate transactions.
2. Talk to the County or Municipal Assessor
An important aspect of property assessment appeals is ensuring that both parties have exchanged information through emails, letters sent by post office first class mail (or overnight if necessary), etc. This way, there’s no room left for confusion during any future interactions between the two parties about the basis for the valuation and appeal.
3. File the Appeal
If the discussion with the assessor doesn’t resolve the valuation discrepancy, file the appeal following your local guidelines. Please note that many localities have strict and short timelines for appeals – and that information will be available from the assessor’s office or on the county website.
4. Prepare for and Attend the Appeals Hearing
If the assessor still doesn’t adjust the valuation following the filing, you will generally move to an appeals hearing.
The value of your home will be determined at a hearing where you have just a few minutes to make a case. Bring as much information with you, including comparable sales and photos of the areas of your home that need updating. The Assessor’s Office staff members will then present why they believe the assessment is correct; the hearing board may deliberate on their final decision.
5. Follow On Appeals
Depending on the jurisdiction, if you disagree with the hearing board’s determination, you may appeal their decision by filing a lawsuit in state court or filing another appeal to a state or county appeals board. Each jurisdiction is different, but the information should be available on the county website.