Appeal Process

The appeal process basic steps are outlined later in this article. But first there is some background questions and information you should know.

The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Is my assessment correct?” Your opportunity to review the assessed value is when you receive the Reassessment Notice usually in the month of August. You will have thirty days from the date the township assessments are published in the paper to file an appeal.

The assessor is mandated by law to assess property equitably at thirty-three and one-third percent (.3333) of "Market Value".

The assessor cannot just simply give anyone a lower assessment just because a person wants to pay less real estate taxes. Even if the assessor under assesses the value of the whole township, it does not mean you will pay less taxes, because there is a direct relationship between the assessed value and the tax levy and the tax rate. Please read topic "Relationship of Tax Rate, Tax Levy, and Assessment" to get a more detailed explanation.

Your real estate property is entitled to an assessment based on "Market Value". Your real estate property is also entitled to an equitable assessment.

Your basis for appeal is either the assessment is not according to "Market Value," or it is not an equitable assessment compared to very similar properties.

The burden of proof in the appeal process is on the property owner so be prepared to prove the basis of the appeal.

Market Value Appeal:

The most supportable evidence of "Market Value" is a recent arms-length transaction that meets all the criteria of the definition of a "Market Value" sale. An arms-length transaction is one not influenced by any undue circumstances such as foreclosure, between related parties, etc. A recent sale is considered to be one year or less.

The next most supportable evidence of "Market Value" is a recent appraisal by a state certified independent fee appraiser for the purpose of establishing "Market Value." This type of appraisal should use comparable properties very similar to the subject property and preferable within one square mile of the subject when possible. A state certified appraiser is bound by law to give you a unbiased appraisal. A recent appraisal is considered to be one year or less.

Note: Independent Fee Appraisers are listed in the yellow pages. A typical residential property appraisal will cost approximately $250 during the 1990's. To determine the cost benefit of this option, calculate how much your property is over assessed. Example: In your opinion, your property is over assessed by $4,000 of assessed value. The current tax rate in your area is seven percent. 4000 x .07 = $280 tax dollars. If you win your case with this method, your net savings is $30.

Assessment Equity Appeal:

This means excluding land differences your property's improvements/buildings should be assessed equitably with others of the same value. Or your improvements/buildings should be assessed equitably with others that are very similar in age, building style (1-sty, 2-sty, etc.), construction quality (even the same model home will vary in price from quality upgrades), size (gross living area (GLA expressed in square feet)), condition, and other auxiliary structures such as deck, patio, detached garage, pole buildings etc.

Note: Equity arguments regarding buildings are compared by dividing the building assessment component by the gross living area. If you have chosen very good comparable properties and your building assessed value is more than a $1.00 per square foot difference, you should have a good chance at winning your appeal. Only three comparable properties are necessary to prove an equity argument. Do not choose comparable properties that have partial assessments. This occurs if the on completion date of new improvement/building is after January 1, of the current assessment year. If an equity problem exist you have the best chance at winning your appeal by selecting the most comparable properties to the subject property. If you simply choose properties with lower assessments that are not truly comparable, your evidence will not have much credence.

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