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Typically - no. The hearings are scheduled months in advance to ensure all parties have ample time to prepare. Unless there is a justifiable emergency, the Board does not reschedule for convenience or more time. The Board is reviewing all evidence submitted prior to the hearing by both parties (the petitioner and the Assessor's Office) - the hearing is only to provide any additional oral testimony and to discuss the issue. Neither party is required to attend.
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File one copy of completed petition forms to the Board. Submit separate petitions for each parcel. There is no charge for filing an appeal.
Don't miss the filing deadline! Petitions must be received by the Board on or before July 1st of the assessment year, or within 30 calendar days after the date of the value change notice (or other notice of determination) - whichever date is later (WAC 458-14-056(2)). If submitted by mail, petitions must be postmarked by the post office no later than the filing deadline (WAC 458-14-056(4)).
The assessment year is the year before the tax is due. Under very limited conditions, late petitions or appeals for previous assessment years may be accepted (WAC 458-14-056; 458-14-127).
Yes! The Assessor revalues properties each year, which means you must file a new complete petition to protect your appeal rights. It is important to keep in mind that information submitted in a previous year's appeal remains as part of the permanent record for that petition. If you feel the information is still pertinent to the current year's appeal, you may re-submit a copy of this data with your new petition.
One complete, separate petition for each parcel must include the following information:
The Board cannot consider incomplete petitions.
Remember, the issue before the Board is the market value of your property. Accordingly, you will need to furnish evidence that demonstrates that the Assessor's valuation exceeds your property's fair market value. Successful forms of evidence include:
When gathering evidence and formulating arguments, it is important to keep in mind that, by law, the Assessor is presumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on you to show that the Assessor's determination is incorrect. Evidence must be clear, cogent and convincing (WAC 458-14-046(4)).
clear, cogent and convincing
Sales of the subject property and/or comparable properties are the foundation of our State's market value standard. Accordingly, comparable sales typically provide the best indicators of market value (RCW 84.40.030). This is particularly true for residential properties.
The best comparables are sales located in your neighborhood, with similar land and improvement features, which sold closest to the valuation date at issue.
Assistance in finding comparable sales is available in the Assessor's Office, 509-754-2011, ext. 2683. Realtors and title companies may also be resources for comparable sales.
According to State law, the Assessor must base his assessed valuations as of January 1st of each assessment year. For example, if you are appealing a 2018 assessment year valuation, for taxes payable in 2019, the valuation date at issue is January 1, 2018. From a market timing standpoint, the Board gives sales occurring closest to this date most weight (WAC 458-14-087(3)).
Comparable properties do not have to exactly match your property. Look for sales that are most similar, note their differences, and identify superior and inferior property features. This comparison process should enable you to determine whether your property would sell for more than or less than the price paid for each selected sale, leading you to a market value estimate.
For the purposes of filing a complete appeal, as long as your petition includes sufficient information or statements to apprise the Board and the Assessor of the reasons why you believe the Assessor's determination is incorrect, it is not necessary to include all the evidence you intend to use at your hearing. It is required that items 1 through 5 be completed and petition signed prior to acceptance.
While it is recommended that you provide the evidence you will use as early as possible, additional evidence may be submitted up to 21 business days before your hearing (WAC 458-14-056(5)). Additional evidence must be submitted separately for each petition and each page must include the petition number on the top of the page.
The Board schedules hearings on a first come, first served basis. Accordingly, the scheduling of your hearing will depend on the volume of appeals and the timing of your petition filing. You will be notified by mail of your hearing date at least 30 business days in advance. If the date of the hearing conflicts with your schedule, we can reschedule your hearing once if you notify us within 7 business days of the mailing date on your scheduling notice. If necessary and requested, your hearing may be held telephonically.
The hearing is an informal review where property owners may represent themselves without having to pay someone to argue your case. You and the Assessor's representative will have the opportunity to give oral testimony and review your previously submitted arguments and evidence. Each party will have the opportunity to question and rebut the other party's arguments and evidence. Two or three Board Members typically preside over the hearing.
The Board typically allows up to 30 minutes for residential appeals, and 60 minutes for commercial appeals.
The timely submission of evidence by both parties is essential to the fair hearings process. WAC 458-14-066 sets forth the timing requirements for each party, stating:
Valuation information includes:
Decisions are typically mailed within two weeks of the hearing, statute allows 45 days, unless the case has some unusual complexities that need more time to consider (RCW 84.48.010) (WAC 458-14-116(3)).
Either the Appellant or the Assessor may appeal the Board's decision to the State Board of Tax Appeals. An appeal must be filed with the State Board within 30 calendar days of the mailing date of our Board's decision. Appeal forms are available at the Board of Tax Appeals website, or by phone 360-753-5446.
These forms are also available by contacting our office (WAC 458-14-170(1)).
It is important to pay your taxes by the deadline in order to avoid interest and penalties.
If the Board decreases your value, the Assessor's records will be adjusted and the Treasurer's Office will either: