By Dennis Brown
If the value of your
real property has increased from the previous year and you don’t agree with
the assessment made by the property valuation administrator’s office, you can
appeal that determination.
A Lewis County resident
said he has been through that process and said he wanted to make other property
owners aware of the steps to take in making sure the value placed on their
property was a fair one.
Section 172 of the
Constitution of Kentucky requires that all property be assessed for taxation at
its fair cash value. The assessment date is January 1 each year.
A Kentucky Department of
Revenue pamphlet spells out the steps you should take to have your assessment
reviewed and the fair cash value of your property set for assessment purposes.
Fair cash value,
according to information contained in the pamphlet, is the price a property
would bring at a fair, voluntary sale with a willing buyer and a willing seller.
Whenever an assessed value of real property changes from the previous year’s
assessment, the local PVA is required to send the affected property owner a
notice of change.
When property owners
disagree with the new assessed value, the first step in the process to appeal is
to schedule a conference with the PVA’s office.
The conference must be
scheduled prior to the end of the tax roll inspection period, which affords
property owners the opportunity to review all assessments for the current year.
The inspection period is normally scheduled to begin on the first Monday in May
and continues for two weeks. The schedule may be adjusted depending on
assessment work going on that county.
inspection period schedule is required to be published in the local newspaper
with the widest circulation.
The pamphlet indicates
that most PVAs send out assessment increase notices one to two weeks prior to
the beginning of the inspection period although some may send notices earlier.
Property owners wanting to discuss the new assessment should schedule a
conference as soon as possible after receiving the notice.
At the conference, the
PVA or a designated deputy will explain how the new assessment was derived. All
information used to reassess the property should be presented to the property
owner at that meeting.
Property owners must
declare their opinion of value for the property and be prepared to present any
evidence to support the declared value. That evidence could include sales or
assessment data from comparable properties; any recent appraisals of the
property; original construction or cost of additions or improvements to the
property; documentation of insured value; asking price information if the
property has been offered for sale recently; and, for commercial properties,
income and expense statements for the past three accounting periods.
While it is best for the
meeting to be face-to-face, it is permissible for the conferences between PVAs
and property owners to take place over the telephone.
Most disagreements over
assessments, according to information in the pamphlet, are resolved at these
conferences. Either the property owner understands more about the
assessment process and
accepts the new assessment or an error is discovered in the PVA records and
the value of the property is changed.
If the conference does
not end in agreement, the next step would be for the property owner to file
an assessment appeal with the county clerk’s office.
A copy of the written
summary of the conference results from the PVA’s office is presented to
the county clerk as documentation that a conference was held with the PVA
when an appeal is filed.
Appeals forms are
available from the county clerk’s office in the county where the property
is located. Property owners are required to provide general information
about the property and confirmation is required that a conference has been
held with the PVA.
The property must also
state the owner’s opinion of the fair cash value of the property and
explain why they think the assessment is too high. Once the appeal is filed
with the county clerk’s office an appeal hearing will be scheduled.
The last day to file an
appeal is one working day after the close of the inspection period.
Appeals are head by a
local three member board of assessment appeals. The board is comprised of
three local residents who are knowledgeable about real estate values in the
county. Local hearings are informal although property owners may have an
attorney or representative present if they desire.
At the hearing the PVA
will present information in support of the assessment and the property owner
must present factual evidence to support their claim of value. A decision
will not me made immediately and the property owner will be notified by
certified mail of the board’s decision. If the property owner is
dissatisfied with the local board’s ruling, an appeal can then be filed at
the state level with the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals (KBTA).
The appeal to the KBTA
must be submitted within 30 days of the date of the mailing of the ruling
notice sent by the local board of assessment appeals. The property owner and
PVA will be notified of the time and location of the appeal hearing. Those
hearings are more formal than the hearings before a local board, although
legal representation is not required.
The property owner must
again present evidence to support their opinion of the property’s value
and the PVA will again document the basis of the new assessment. Rulings of
the KBTA are mailed to the property owner and the PVA.
If the property owner
disagrees with the ruling of the KBTA, the matter can then be taken to the
circuit court in the county where the property is located then on to the
Kentucky Court of Appeals, if necessary.
While the matter is
being resolved, the property owner is still required to pay property taxes.
A supplemental bill with be sent, if warranted, to the property owner after
the matter is resolved.
concerning the property assessment appeal process is available at the local
PVA office in the Lewis County Courthouse or by writing to the Office of
Property Valuation, 501 High Street, Station 30, Frankfort, KY 40620.