Common Mistakes When Appealing Property Tax Assessments

Posted by Anne Sheehan on Aug 15, 2018

During our recent webinar on CFO.com, Paying More than You Should in Commercial Property Taxes? A Guide to Better Risk Management, this question was asked: “What mistakes should finance leaders strive to prevent as they appeal assessments?”

Here are the most common mistakes that were discussed:

  • The devil is in the details – taxpayers must follow the rules of the assessing authority
  • Filing deadlines must be observed
  • Filings must comply with “received on” or “received by” rules
  • Identifying info must match the taxing authority’s data (owner’s name, address, parcel #)
  • Taxpayers need to comply with evidence requirements
  • A non-compliant appeal can be rejected and you lose your opportunity to appeal until the next assessment cycle

 

For more detailed insights, read the complete transcript below or watch the video.

What mistakes should finance leaders strive to prevent as they appeal assessments?

Edited transcript: Webinar presentation and discussion with Anne Sheehan, CEO of Real Property Tax Advisors, Stu Hueber, VP of Tax for Dean Foods, and moderator Joe Fleisher, Editorial Director of CFO.com.

Anne Sheehan, CEO, Real Property Tax Advisors:

With property taxes, the devil is in the details. That’s true whether you’re the taxpayer or the assessing jurisdiction. There’s a little bit of irony when you think about it. Taxpayers foot the bills for these jurisdictions, yet we are at the mercy of the system when we have to comply with all of their rules, their regulations, and dates.

Filing deadlines must be met. Taxpayers need to know whether the rules say “received by” or “received on.” Applications need to include identifying information that matches the taxing authority’s data, such as owner’s name, address, and parcel number. Failure to pay attention to these nitpicky details can prevent you from presenting a legitimate appeal to the taxing authority.

Once you’ve jumped through all the administrative hoops necessary to get your appeal considered, you still have plenty of work to do. You can’t just sail in there and say “Hey, I have a problem with this value.” It’s a detailed process, and if you want to make the most of your day in court or in front of the board, you need to pay attention to the evidence requirements that the authority sets for appeals. From start to finish, you have to pay close attention and focus on the details.

Joe Fleisher, Editorial Director of CFO.com:

Thank you, Anne. And Stu, what are some things that you would recommend finance leaders, particularly those in your role, pay attention to based on your experience?

Stu Hueber, VP of Tax for Dean Foods:

That’s a really tough question. I’m not sure that I can peg an answer on that. I think one of the big things is to understand the concept of fair market value and to really push back when the assessor or board digs in. Especially if you have multiple experts on your side saying “No, that’s not the right answer,” you have to keep pushing.

Joe Fleisher, Editorial Director of CFO.com:

That’s a great recommendation indeed.

 

Watch the Webinar: Pay More than You Should in Commercial Property Taxes? A Guide to Better Risk Management 

Tags: Personal property, business personal property taxes, commercial property tax management

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