The Typical Appeal Process for Property Taxes

May 3, 2019

Property owners, a duly authorized agent of a property owner, or those with a substantial interest in a property (such as a long-term lessee) have the right to appeal an assessment.

The process is typically three levels:

  1. First Level – the assessor assigned to a property will discuss the basis of the assessment and attempt resolution
  2. Second Level – Commission or other administration level + property owner seeking resolution
  3. Third Level – Initial Court level, such as Superior Court in the District of Columbia

Property tax in the United States (Wikipedia):

Most local governments in the United States impose a property tax as a principal source of revenue. This tax may be imposed on real estate or personal property. The tax is nearly always computed as the fair market value of the property times an assessment ratio times a tax rate, and is generally an obligation of the owner of the property. Values are determined by local officials, and may be disputed by property owners. For the taxing authority, one advantage of the property tax over the sales tax or income tax is that the revenue always equals the tax levy, unlike the other taxes. The property tax typically produces the required revenue for municipalities’ tax levies. A disadvantage to the taxpayer is that the tax liability is fixed, while the taxpayer’s income is not.

The tax is administered at the local government level. Many states impose limits on how local jurisdictions may tax property. Because many properties are subject to tax by more than one local jurisdiction, some states provide a method by which values are made uniform among such jurisdictions.

Property tax is rarely self-computed by the owner. The tax becomes a legally enforceable obligation attaching to the property at a specific date. Most states impose taxes resembling property tax on vehicles registered in the state, and some states tax some other types of business property.