As a property owner, no one 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 your tax bill, it will be too late to make changes to the assessment.
What are the grounds for an appeal?
There are provisions in Idaho Code to appeal only assessments. Taxes can not be appealed. An assessment appeal is an attempt to prove that your property’s estimated market value is either inaccurate or unfair. It is not a complaint about higher taxes.
You may appeal when you can prove at least one of the following:
- Items that affect value are incorrect on your property record. (You have one bath, not two. You have a carport not a garage. Your home has 1,600, not 2,000 square feet.)
- The estimated market value is too high. You have evidence that similar properties have sold for less than the assessed value of your property prior to January 1st of the current year.
NOTE: You will not win an appeal because you think your taxes are too high. This is an issue you must take up with the elected officials who determine budgets. However, you may be eligible for tax relief or exemptions. Information about these exemptions can be found HERE.
The Appeals Process – Step-By-Step
There is only one time of the year that assessed values can be appealed. This is when the assessment notice is mailed out. The majority of property is on the regular roll and those assessments are mailed out at the beginning of June each year. When you receive your assessment notice, read it for instructions about deadlines and filing procedures. If they are not clear, contact the Assessor’s office for information. Be sure you understand and follow the instructions. A missed deadline or incorrect filing can cause an appeal to be dismissed.
The first step in an appeal is an informal meeting with a Deputy Assessor (generally the county appraiser assigned to your area). Sometimes this informal review is handled by telephone or email.
Prepare for the meeting. Obtain a copy of your property record from the Assessor’s office by referencing the Parcel Number, which is located in the upper right hand corner on your assessment notice. 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. Remember, only arms length transactions that were completed prior to January 1st of the current year can be used. Use the Assessor’s maps to review comparable property record forms, which should also show their appraised values. Compare the features of these properties to the features of yours. A difference in features may result in a difference in values.
The purpose of the informal review (which is not yet an appeal)— should be (1) to verify the information on your property record form, (2) to make sure you understand how your value was estimated, (3) to discover if the value is fair compared with the values of similar properties in your neighborhood, (4) to find out if you qualify for any exemptions, and (5) to be sure you understand how to file a formal appeal, if you still want to. Most disputes are a result of misinformation on one side or the other and are resolved in this meeting.
The person conducting the meeting will review your property record with you and give you information about comparable properties. Present any information you have gathered at this time.
The person conducting the meeting may not commit to a change in value at this meeting, even though you may have uncovered an error or the assessment appears to be inequitable. The decision about a value change may have to be made by someone else and communicated to you in writing. Most often a corrected assessment notice can be mailed within 2 or 3 days.
View the Assessors’ office as an ally, not an adversary. Staff of the office have been trained to be helpful, calm, and polite but they are only human. If you can be calm and polite, they can more easily concentrate on giving you the information that you need.
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 a form provided by the Assessor’s office. This form can be found on our website under “FORMS” or you may request an appeal packet from the Assessor’s office. 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. 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 will be interested only in the fairness and accuracy of the value placed on your property, not whether you can afford to pay your taxes. See Idaho Code 63-502
Chief Deputy Assessor
Dept of Motor Vehicles
475 E Deinhard Ln. Ste 106
Phone: (208) 634-8102
Fax: (208) 485-7558
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 4:30pm