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Property Valuation

Most appeals filed with the State Board are property valuation appeals from decisions of the County Board of Equalization (County Board). The State Board's duty is to determine if the assessed value of your property represents fair market value.

Forms

Link to E-File Informal Property Valuation Appeal Web Form(interactive online form)

Informal Property Appeals Form (Adobe PDF)

Informal Property Valuation Appeal Form (Word Fill-In Form)

Comparable Sales Data Worksheet (Excel Spreadsheet)

Questions & Answers

Who can file an appeal with the State Board?

What does the State Board do?

How do I file an appeal with the State Board?

What is my deadline to file?

What does 'on or before the 30th day' mean?

Where do I get the appeal form?

Is there a form for a formal appeal?

What's the difference between an informal and a formal hearing?

Do I have to have all of my evidence and materials ready when I file my appeal?

What happens after I file my appeal?

Will I have to go to Olympia for my State Board hearing?

What if I don't attend my State Board hearing?

What happens at the State Board hearing?

How do I show 'clear, cogent and convincing' evidence that the Assessor's value is incorrect?

What type of evidence will be considered at the State Board hearing?

Do I have to prove the market value of both the land and the improvements?

How can I determine market value?

If my appeal is for my residence, which approach is best to determine market value?

Can I use different comparable sales for the State Board than I used for the County Board?

Where can I get the comparable sales information I need to prepare for my State Board hearing?

How can I use comparable sales information to prepare for my State Board hearing?

What are 'key characteristics'?

Do maps help?

What other things would help me make my case?

When would I use the cost approach to determine market value?

If my appeal is for commercial or industrial property, what valuation method should I use?

When will I get the State Board's decision?

If my taxes are due before I receive the State Board's decision, what should I do?

What if I am dissatisfied with the State Board's decision?

Questions & Answers:

Who can file an appeal with the State Board?

The property owner or the County Assessor can file if they are not in agreement with the County Board of Equalization decision.

What does the State Board do?

The State Board holds a hearing with the County Assessor and the property owner and makes a written decision about the property's value. The State Board decides that the property value is more or less or the same as the County Board decided. However, it cannot raise the value higher than what the County Assessor originally set.

How do I file an appeal with the State Board?

You need to send in two things:
1. Notice of Appeal - Informal - Property (form BTA100)
and
2. Copy of your County Board of Equalization Order or decision.

What is my deadline to file?

Mail or deliver your appeal to the State Board's office in Olympia on or before the 30th day after the mailing date of the County Board Order.

Detailed instructions for mailing or delivering your appeal are included on the Notice of Appeal - Informal - Property form. See also WAC 456-09-325 or WAC 456-10-325.

What does 'on or before the 30th day' mean?

The first day of the 30-day period is the day after the County Board Order is "mailed" (the County Board Order may simply say "dated" or "issued" and not say "mailed"). The last day of the period--the 30th day--is included in the count, unless it falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal state holiday. Then, the 30-day period runs through the Saturday, Sunday, or legal state holiday to the next business day.

Remember that some months have 31 days, so you cannot assume, for example, that you have until June 18 to appeal a County Board Order that was mailed on May 18. If you do, you will be one day late, and the State Board cannot accept your appeal. See Spieker Properties v King County Assessor, Docket No. 50119 (1996)

Where do I get the appeal form?

Notice of Appeal - Informal - Property form (BTA100) is available from the County Assessor or County Board of Equalization, or by contacting the State Board at 360-753-5446. It's also available on the State Board's web site at http://bta.state.wa.us. There is also a format outlined in WAC 456-10-310 for informal hearings.

Is there a form for a formal appeal?

Forms are not available for formal appeals. You will need to use the format outlined in WAC 456-09-310 for formal hearings. A template of that format is available here.

What's the difference between an informal and a formal hearing?

Informal hearings are often chosen by persons representing themselves when appealing their property tax valuation. Hearings are informal and often held in the county of the appeal. Even though the hearings are informal, they are recorded. Exceptions or motions for reconsideration are available. See WAC 456-10-730 and 456-10-755. Once the Board decision is final there is no appeal to the next level, Superior Court. The Board's decision is the final level of Appeal.

A formal hearing can be appealed to Superior Court under the Administrative Procedures Act, chapter 34.05 RCW. The person appealing to Superior Court must pay the cost incurred in reproducing the recod for transmittal to the Court. Most of the formal hearings are held at the Board's Olympia office. Many of the parties asking for a formal hearing are represented by attorneys or other professionals although representation is not required. See chapter 456-09 WAC.

For further discussion of practice before the Board of Tax Appeals, see 33 Gonzaga Law Review 141 for a 1997 article by Laura VanderVeer King. The article includes a discussion of the choice between an informal and formal hearing.

Do I have to have all of my evidence and materials ready when I file my appeal?

No. You will have time to prepare before your hearing with the State Board and up to 10 business days before the hearing to provide evidence.

What happens after I file my appeal?

The State Board will notify you of the docket number assigned to your appeal. You will be notified of your hearing date by mail at least twenty calendar days before the date set for your hearing.

Will I have to go to Olympia for my State Board hearing?

The State Board conducts many informal property valuation hearings in the county where the property is located.

Formal hearings, hearings involving large valuations, or hearings involving complex legal issues are usually held in Olympia.

What if I don't attend my State Board hearing?

You risk the possibility of having your appeal dismissed unless you do one of the following:

  • Have a representative attend for you.
  • Stipulate that the appeal be heard on the record. See WAC 456-09-745(2) or WAC 456-10-550(2).
  • Request to testify by telephone. See WAC 456-09-565 or WAC 456-10-520.
  • If you don't do any of the above the State Board has the discretion to make a decision on the record or dismiss your appeal.

    What happens at the State Board hearing?

    You and the Assessor will each have the opportunity to present your respective opinions of value using written and oral testimony.

    The law (RCW 84.40.0301) presumes that the valuation placed on your property by the Assessor is correct. You must show by 'clear, cogent and convincing' evidence that the Assessor's value is incorrect.

    How do I show 'clear, cogent and convincing' evidence that the Assessor's value is incorrect?

    You need to present evidence of your property's market value.

    What type of evidence will be considered at the State Board hearing?

    The evidence, written and oral testimony, must relate to the market value of your property, not the assessed value of other properties. See Bobzin v King County Assessor, Docket No. 32243 (1987). State law requires property to be assessed at 100 percent of its true and fair value. True and fair value is market value; market value is the amount your property would sell for on the open market.

    Do I have to prove the market value of both the land and the improvements?

    Yes. The State Board will consider the market value of both land and improvements in determining a total value for the property. Your written and oral testimony should support the total market value of the property under appeal, not just the value of the land or the value of the improvements.

    How can I determine market value?

    There are three acceptable methods for determining market value:

  • Sales comparison approach.
  • Cost approach.
  • Income capitalization approach.
  • Or any combination of the three approaches.
  • Market evidence may include: "Any sales of the property being appraised or similar property with respect to sales made within the past five years." RCW 84.40.030(1).

    If my appeal is for my residence, which approach is best to determine market value?

    For residential property the best way of determining market value is usually by sales comparison.

    The best sales comparisons are sales of your property or sales of similar properties located in your area which have occurred within five years of your assessment date. See Geis v Snohomish County Assessor, Docket No. 60520 (2004).

    Sales occurring closest to your assessment date and sales considered the most comparable to your property are given the greatest weight.

    Can I use different comparable sales for the State Board than I used for the County Board?

    Yes. Both you and the Assessor may present different comparable sales to the State Board than those presented to the County Board. However, both parties must provide any new comparable sales or other supporting documents to the State Board and to the other party at least ten business days before the hearing.

    Where can I get the comparable sales information I need to prepare for my State Board hearing?

    You can get comparable sales information from records at the Assessor's Office or from realtors or title companies.

    Select sale properties that sold closest to your assessment date and are the most comparable to your property.

    Property owners in King County can receive additional assistance by contacting the office of the King County Tax Advisor at 206-296-5202.

    How can I use comparable sales information to prepare for my State Board hearing?

    Prepare a written comparison sheet which shows why the Assessor's sales are not comparable to your property and why the sales you have selected support your opinion of value.

    For each comparable sale be sure to include the account number or parcel number of the property, the address of the property, the date of the sale, and the sale price. Also include as much information regarding the key characteristics of the property as you feel necessary to support your opinion of value.

    What are 'key characteristics'?

    Things such as the following:

  • Location - sales in the same subdivision or neighborhood are the best evidence.
  • Unit of Comparison - lot size; acreage; square feet; waterfront feet.
  • Desirable or Undesirable Features - view or waterfront, access problems or wetlands Sewer/Septic System/Water System.
  • Zoning.
  • Type of construction - wood; brick; other.
  • Square feet of total finished living area (all floors).
  • Year built.
  • Number of stories.
  • Improvement type and construction quality.
  • Building condition.
  • Number of bedrooms/bathrooms.
  • Fireplace.
  • Garage/carport.
  • Do maps help?

    Yes. Include a map showing the location of your property and the comparable sale properties.

    What other things would help me make my case?

    You must provide enough data to support your opinion of value. Your written and oral testimony should be understandable, logical, and believable. You should also include any other evidence which supports your reason for challenging the assessment; for example:

  • Appraisals prepared by others.
  • Documentation by qualified experts concerning problems.
  • Written commercial estimates of the cost to cure problems.
  • Photographs, maps.
  • See Cone v. Pacific County Assessor, Docket No. 55169 (2000).

    When would I use the cost approach to determine market value?

    If you have new construction on your property, use a cost approach to determine the value of the improvements and the sales comparison approach to determine the value of the land.

    Cost approach details the cost to reproduce or replace the improvements at current prices. You must include all costs, including labor performed by you or a contractor, materials, permits, drawings, etc.

    The State Board accepts construction cost data per third-party sources such as the Marshall and Swift Valuation Service.

    If my appeal is for commercial or industrial property, what valuation method should I use?

    Income capitalization or sales comparison approaches are usually given more weight than a cost approach for commercial properties.

    Your income capitalization approach should be based upon market conditions. Income and expenses of the property under appeal may also be used. Income, expenses, and capitalization rates must be verifiable and supported. See Regency Park v. Spokane County Assessor, Docket No. 38041 (1990).

    You should provide a copy of your income and expense statement and all leases pertinent to the property. If the income or expenses of the property under appeal vary from typical market income and expenses, you must show why such variations are reasonable or typical for the property.

    When will I get the State Board's decision?

    The State Board's decision will be mailed to you. This is generally within 90 days following the hearing.

    If my taxes are due before I receive the State Board's decision, what should I do?

    You should pay your taxes when they are due to avoid any interest and penalty charges. If the State Board's decision lowers your valuation, you will be entitled to a refund from the County.

    What if I am dissatisfied with the State Board's decision?

    You have the right of review or reconsideration. This will be explained at the end of the decision below the signature of the presiding Board Member(s) or Tax Referee. Please note that you must request review or reconsideration within specific time periods. See Chapter 456-10 WAC.

    Appeal rights are also available for decisions issued following a formal hearing. See Chapter 456-09 WAC.

    FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

    For a complete copy of the State Board's administrative rules, see WAC 456-09 and WAC 456-10 or contact the State Board for a printed copy of the rules.

     

     

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