Property owners believing they’re overtaxed may not be doing everything possible to get their rates lowered, tax appeals officials said this week.
Citing a possible misunderstanding about the ins and outs of lowering property taxes, the Yellowstone County Tax Appeals Board is encouraging property owners to file appeals by Monday for properties that may be overvalued by the state. Appeals should be filed with the county clerk and recorder.
Appeals Chairman Todd Cross said the board is reaching out to taxpayers because of a possible misunderstanding about deadlines. The misunderstanding stems from information issued with new property tax assessments.
The state Department of Revenue reappraises property every six years, then mails out assessments informing property owners what the state believes the property is worth.
The notice informs property owners that they have 30 days or until the first Monday of June, whichever is later, to request an informal review of the assessment. After the informal review, the state explains, taxpayers have the right to appeal if they still believe their property is overvalued. And therein lies the misunderstanding, Cross said.
Taxpayers can appeal their current year’s taxes to the county appeals board by the first Monday in June every year, regardless of when they received their assessment notice, Cross said. They do not need an informal review by the state tax officials before appealing.
“We’re not in disagreement with the (county appeals board), but we have different laws that we follow in the department,” said Cynthia Moore, state Revenue’s Property Assessment Division administrator.
After property tax assessment notices were issued in 2009, at least 257 property owners in Yellowstone County requested informal reviews from the Department of Revenue. Residential property owners filed most of the request. Two years after assessments were issued, informal review requests drop off dramatically because of the deadline.