Sunday, April 20, 2014
     
 
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Appeal Process Guidelines
 

What does my county appraiser do?

  • By law, your county appraiser figures the appropriate value of your property in a uniform and equal manner.
  • The county appraiser does not control the amount of your property taxes and the county does not receive more money by simply raising property values.
  • The value of property in the county is used as a means of spreading the cost of providing local services.

How does the county's appraisal affect my taxes?

  • If your property value goes up, it does not necessarily mean you will pay more taxes. Likewise, if your property value goes down or does not change, it does not automatically mean you will pay less or the same amount of taxes.

  • The money needed for local services is set and budget hearings are held in August. Increases or decreases in property values do not change the amount of tax dollars needed for local public services. These services include
    • roads
    • parks
    • fire protection
    • police protection
    • public health
    • public schools
    • etc...


When will I be notified of the value of my property?

  • The "notice of value" on your land and buildings should be mailed from the county appraiser by March 1, and by May 1 for personal property. However, if your county appraiser asks for an extension, it may be later than the above dates before you get your notice of value.  


What can I do if I believe the value of my home is too high?

 

There are two ways to challenge the value of your property:

  • You may appeal the "Notice of Value" of your property by contacting the county appraiser's office by phone or in writing within 30 days of the mailing date on the valuation notice.
  • Or, you may fill out a "Payment Under Protest" application with the county treasurer at the time you pay your taxes. If you paid all your taxes prior to December 20th then the protest can be made no later than December 20th (unless an escrow or tax service agent pays your property taxes in full, then no later than January 31st).

Important Note: 

You cannot appeal using both methods for the same property, in the same tax year. If you start to appeal your "Notice of Value", it is important that you are sure to follow through with the appeal as you will not be allowed to "Pay Under Protest" later.  Once you start the"Notice of Value" process you MUST complete it.


What steps do I take to appeal the "Notice of Value"?



  • Contact the county appraiser's office by phone or in writing for an appeal form.  The deadline to file an appeal for real property is within 30 days of the mailing date on the valuation notice or by May 15th for personal property.
     
  • The appeal form must be received or postmarked within the designated time period or the appeal will not be processed.
     
  • Upon receipt of said appeal form, the county appraiser will process and send confirmation of the time and date of the scheduled informal meeting to the property owner.
  • The county appraiser will hold an informal meeting with the property owner and notify the owner of the county's final value in writing. 
     
  • Upon completion of the informal meeting, it is often necessary & beneficial for the county appraiser to conduct a physical inspection (interior & exterior) to determine any physical or structural issues that might not be visible otherwise. 

 

Note:  Personal property informal meetings will be scheduled and conducted in a manner similar to real property appeals. However, business machinery & equipment are not valued based upon market value.  Any appeal on this type of property is based upon items such as cost, date of purchase, and if new or used at the time of purchase. 

 

 


 

What if I desagree with the county's final value?

  • If the property owner disagrees with the county's final value, the property owner may appeal to one of the following:
    • Small Claims Division.  If the property is classified as residential, or has an appraised value that is less than 2 million and is not agricultural land then the Small Claims Division is used.
    • Hearing Officer/Panel (HOP).  A hearing with the Hearing Officer/Panel is another option if the county commissioner elects to appoint hearing officers to hold hearings and issue orders.  
    • Court of Tax Appeals (COTA).  If the Hearing Officer/ Panel (HOP) is not available in your county (Morris County does not have a HOP), you may appeal directly to the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) .


If the county has a Hearing Officer/Panel (HOP), you must appeal within 18 days from the county's final value to small claims by filing with Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) or to the Hearing Officer/ Panel (HOP) by filing with the county clerk.


If the county does not have a Hearing Officer/Panel (HOP), you must appeal by filing, within 30 days from the county's final value, to small claims or Court of Appeals (COTA).
Note:  Appeal forms are provided by the county clerk.

 

 


After a Hearing Officer/Panel (HOP) hearing, you may then appeal to small claims if the property is classified as residential, or has an appraised value that is less than 2 million and is not agricultural land, by filing a written request with BOTA within 30 days on a form provided by the county clerk.

If you or the county are dissatisfied with the results of the Hearing Officer/Panel (HOP) or small claims you may appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) by filing a written request with COTA within 30 days on a form provided by the county clerk.

 

If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with COTA's decision, either party may request a rehearing or reconsideration within 15 days.

 

If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with COTA's decision on rehearing or reconsideration, either party may appeal to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

 

 

What steps do I take to file a payment under protest?

  • Timely file a written payment under protest with the county treasurer on a form provided by the treasurer.
  • The county appraiser will schedule an informal meeting with the property owner within 15 days after receiving a copy of the protest. The meeting does not have to be held within this 15 day period, just scheduled within 15 days.
  • It is important to remember that during the informal hearing, the appraiser will discuss issues relating to value only, not the amount of tax on the property.  After the informal meeting, the county appraiser will notify the property owner in writing of any change in value.                                                                                  

    Note:  
    If you disagree with the county's final value, you may appeal to one of the following by filing a written request with the Court of Tax Appeals within 30 days of the county's final value: Small Claims Division, if the property is classified as residential, or has an appraised value that is less than 2 million and is not agricultural land; or directly to the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA).

    Note:  After a small claims division appeal you may appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) by filing a written request with COTA within 30 days after notification of results of the small claim hearing. If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with COTA's decision, either party may request a rehearing or reconsideration within 15 days.

    Note:  If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with the Court of Tax Appeal's (COTA's) decision on rehearing or reconsideration, either party may appeal to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

    Can someone else attend hearings on my behalf?
  • Someone else may attend the informal meeting or Hearing Officer/Panel (HOP) hearing. However, the owner must complete a "Declaration of Representation" form provided by the county appraiser. Contact your county appraiser for more information.

  • At a small claims hearing, the owner may appear personally or be represented by an attorney, CPA, certified appraiser, member of the owner's immediate family, or authorized employee by filing a "Declaration of Representation" form with COTA.   Generally, COTA requires that the actual property owner appear at its hearing, unless you are represented by an attorney.


  

 

Important Information regarding the Notice of Value

  • You may not Appeal your Notice of Value and later start the Payment Under Protest process for the same property, in the same tax year.

  • If you start to Appeal your Notice of Value, it is important that you are sure to follow through with the Appeal as you will not be allowed to "Pay Under Protest" later.

  • Once you start the Notice of Value Appeal process you must complete it. 
    

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What should I bring to an informal meeting or a hearing?

 

  • You will want to provide documentation that supports your request for a lower value.  Note:  The appraiser's office will furnish you with a comparable sales sheet for your property upon request. (Allow several days for processing and mail time)

  • Owners who appeal successfully usually do so by finding comparable properties with lower market values or comparable properties that have recently sold for less than the value assigned to their property.

    Below are examples of documentation that may be used to support a change in market value:

    • Recent sales information about property similar in condition, quality, style, age and location to the property at issue.


    • The sales contract for the property if it was purchased recently.


    • Photos and a contract or engineering estimates of the cost to repair any structural damage if the damage was not fully considered or known to the appraiser’s office.


    • A recent appraisal report of the property at issue prepared by a professional appraiser.
       

    • A copy of a signed sales agreement on recently purchased property.  A current listing agreement for said property.
       

    • Rent income and expense information if the property at issue is an income- producing investment (ex. apartment buildings).
       

Note:  This documentation is not appropriate for agricultural land and commercial personal property appraisals because, by law, such property is not appraised at market value.


  

 

What is a Kansas Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) hearing like?


Court of Tax Appeals (COTA) members travel around the state. Both parties may present testimony and exhibits at the hearing. Generally, the property owner and the county appraiser must exchange exhibits and a list of witnesses 20 days prior to the hearing, so each side knows what to expect. COTA will provide more specific instructions and may be contacted at (785)296-2388
.