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Board of Equalization
Preparing Your Appeal

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I appeal?
File one (1) copy of completed petition forms to the Board. Submit separate petitions for each parcel.  There is no charge for filing an appeal.
When must I appeal?
Don't miss your filing deadline! Petitions must be received by the Board on OR before July 1st of the assessment year* OR within sixty (60) calendar days after the date of the value change notice (or other notice of determination) – whichever date is later.  {WAC 458-14-056(2)}  If submitted by mail, petitions must be postmarked by the post office no later than the filing deadline. {WAC 458-14-056(4)}

*Assessment year is the year before the tax is due.  Under very limited conditions, late petitions or appeals for previous assessment years may be accepted. {WAC 458-14-056; 458-14-127}
I appealed last year’s valuation but haven’t had a hearing or decision from the Board. Do I need to appeal again this year?
Yes!  The Assessor revalues properties each year, which means you must file a new complete petition to protect your appeal rights.  It is important to keep in mind that information submitted in a previous year’s appeal remains as part of the permanent record for that petition.  If you feel the information is still pertinent to the current year’s appeal, you may re-submit a copy of this data with your new petition.
What information is required to file an appeal?

One complete, separate petition for each parcel must include the following information:

  1. Assessor’s parcel number
  2. Taxpayer name and address
  3. Taxpayer’s representative, if applicable (must include power of attorney)
  4. Property description to include property address, parcel size, zoning, and general building information
  5. Value as listed by the Assessor
  6. Your opinion of value
  7. Specific reasons why you believe the Assessor’s value does not reflect the true and fair market value of your property. Your petition must include sufficient information or statements to apprise the Board and the Assessor of the reasons why you believe the Assessor’s determination is incorrect. Assessment comparisons of other properties, percentage of value increases, personal hardship, amount of tax, and other matters unrelated to market value cannot be considered. {WAC 458-14-056(5)}
  8. Taxpayer’s signature and date
  9. Attach a copy of the Assessor’s revaluation change notice or other determination notice.

The Board cannot consider incomplete petitions.

What types of evidence should I provide?
Remember, the issue before the Board is the market value of your property.  Accordingly, you will need to furnish evidence that demonstrates that the Assessor’s valuation exceeds your property’s fair market value.  Successful forms of evidence include:  comparable sales and/or sales of the subject property; contractor estimates of costs to repair building or land defects; letters or documents from government agencies and/or experts regarding development limitations; deeds describing easements that impact value; independent appraisals; photographs of features or conditions that you believe diminish your property’s market value; and maps showing proximity to high traffic areas, access limitations, etc.  When gathering evidence and formulating arguments, it is important to keep in mind that, by law, the Assessor is presumed to be correct.  The burden of proof is on you to show that the Assessor’s determination is incorrect.  Evidence must be “clear, cogent and convincing”.  {WAC 458-14-046(4)}
Why should I include comparable sales and how do I find them?

Sales of the subject property and/or comparable properties are the foundation of our State’s market value standard.  Accordingly, comparable sales typically provide the best indicators of market value.  [RCW 84.40.030]  This is particularly true for residential properties.  The best comparables are sales located in your neighborhood, with similar land and improvement features, which sold closest to the valuation date at issue.  Assistance in finding comparable sales is available in the Assessor’s Office, 360-337-7160.  Realtors and title companies may also be resources for comparable sales.

What is meant by the valuation date?
According to State law, the Assessor must base his assessed valuations as of January 1st of each assessment year.  For example, if you are appealing a 2016 assessment year valuation, for taxes payable in 2017, the valuation date at issue is January 1, 2016.  From a market timing standpoint, the Board gives sales occurring closest to this date most weight.  {WAC 458-14-087(3)}
What if there are no sales comparable to my property?
Comparable properties do not have to exactly match your property.  Look for sales that are most similar, note their differences, and identify superior and inferior property features.  This comparison process should enable you to determine whether your property would sell for more than or less than the price paid for each selected sale, leading you to a market value estimate.
What if I don’t have time to gather all the evidence by the petition deadline?
For the purposes of filing a complete appeal, as long as your petition includes sufficient information or statements to apprise the Board and the Assessor of the reasons why you believe the Assessor’s determination is incorrect, it is not necessary to include all the evidence you intend to use at your hearing.  While it is recommended that you provide the evidence you will use as early as possible, additional evidence may be submitted up to seven (7) business days before your hearing. {WAC 458-14-056(5)}
When will I have a hearing?
The Board schedules hearings on a first come, first served basis.  Accordingly, the scheduling of your hearing will depend on the volume of appeals and the timing of your petition filing.  You will be notified by mail of your hearing date at least 15 business days in advance.  If the date of the hearing conflicts with your schedule, we can reschedule your hearing once if you notify us within seven (7) business days of the mailing date on your scheduling notice.  If necessary or requested, your hearing may be held telephonically.
What can I expect at the hearing?
The hearing is an informal review where property owners may represent themselves without having to pay someone to argue your case. You and the Assessor's representative will have the opportunity to give oral testimony and review your previously submitted arguments and evidence. Each party will have the opportunity to question and rebut the other party's arguments and evidence. Two or three Board Members typically preside over the hearing. The Board allows 45 minutes for residential appeals, and 60 minutes for commercial appeals.
May I submit additional information at the hearing?
The timely submission of evidence by both parties is essential to the fair hearings process. WAC 458-14-066 sets forth the timing requirements for each party, stating: 1) the Assessor must provide valuation in-formation to the Taxpayer and to the Board at least fourteen (14) business days prior to the hearing; and 2) the Taxpayer must provide valuation information to the Board at least seven (7) business days prior to the hearing. Valuation information includes: comparable sales; income data & analysis; construction cost analysis; independent appraisals; contractor estimates of costs to repair building or land defects; documents delineating development limitations or easements; etc.
When will I receive a decision?
Decisions are typically mailed within two weeks of the hearing, statute allows 30 days, unless the case has some unusual complexities that need more time to consider. [RCW 84.48.010] {WAC 458-14-116(3)}
What if I am not satisfied with the Board’s decision?
Either the Appellant or the Assessor may appeal the Board’s decision to the State Board of Tax Appeals. An appeal must be filed with the State Board within thirty (30) calendar days of the mailing date of our Board’s decision. Appeal forms are available at the Board of Tax Appeals website or by phone 360-753-5446. These forms are also available by contacting our office. {WAC 458-14-170(1)}
What if my taxes are due before I have a hearing or receive a decision?
It is important to pay your taxes by the deadline in order to avoid interest and penalties.
If the Board decreases the value of my property, how will that affect my taxes?
If the Board decreases your value, the Assessor’s records will be adjusted and the Treasurer’s Office will either 1) send a revised tax statement if the decision occurs before before April 30th or October 31st of the tax year, or 2) issue a refund if your full year’s taxes have already been paid. {WAC 458-14-116(3)} This process may take a couple of months to complete.
Last Updated:  May 10, 2016