Property Taxes: When to Consider an Appeal

“… in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin, 1789

As the end of summer approaches, so, too, does the dreaded arrival of the Summit County Property Tax Notice. While rising property values are beneficial if you’re buying or selling, the increase also means a home or business owner’s tax burden will go up over the previous year.

Taxes in our community fund essential services, such as road maintenance, public schools, fire and police protection. The amount of tax paid is based on the appraised home value, which the office of the Summit County Assessor, Stephanie Larsen, determines the reasonable market value for your home, based upon prevailing local real estate market conditions but not necessarily “market value.”

A mountain biker enjoys one of the many trails maintained by the publicly-funded Basin Recreation.

In Utah, if a property is a primary residence, is it taxed at 55% of assessed value for up to one acre – anything more than one acre is taxed at 100% of assessed value. This can also apply to a property that is rented to a single tenant year-round, provided the owner applies for a Primary Residence Exemption. Second homes used as vacation homes, along with homes that are rented nightly or for short periods of time, are taxed at 100-percent of assessed value.

Make sure the county has not listed your property as a second home or vacation property if it is your primary residence, which can nearly double your taxes owed. It will state “Primarily Improved Property” as the property type. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure the information on record at the assessor’s office is accurate, and property owners cannot receive refunds for any previous taxes on properties not listed as primary. The exemption form can be found online by clicking here.

If the amount on the notice seems unreasonable, property owners do have the option to appeal their market value by the mid-September deadline. The following are a few steps to take to determine if your property’s assessed value is fair:

Double Check the Property Description

If the number of bedrooms, square footage and/or other amenities are inaccurate, this can affect the assessed value. This can be corrected by a reappraisal of your property, or by submitting drawings to the assessor’s office. The office relies on property owners to provide the most accurate information possible.

Talk to Your Neighbors

If your bill seems high, it’s likely your neighbors are having similar thoughts. Get together to strategize and possibly present a unified appeal for your particular neighborhood or subdivision. A homeowners association in Georgia recently mobilized, involving the state in their appeal, when their taxes increased by as much as 1,000%. However, if recent sales in your neighborhood demonstrate a significant jump in property values, which is not uncommon in Summit County, it might be best to appreciate the fact that your investment is sound.

Hire an Appraiser or Use a Recently-Conducted Appraisal

It’s possible your property was over-assessed. If you’ve recently purchased your property and have a current appraisal that falls well below the county’s version, it’s likely the professional appraisal provided at the time of your transaction will be considered as valid.

Filing Your Appeal

After receiving your property tax notice, you have 45 days to file an appeal. This can be accomplished by either submitting an electronic Board of Equalization Appeal Form via the county’s online portal, or downloading a PDF version to fill out and send to the Summit County Board of Equalization. You must include a copy of your property tax notice, along with any evidence, such as an appraisal, sales comparable to your property or MLS – Multiple Listing Services – data to support your appeal. Contact me if you would like help with this.

Decisions depend on the availability and workload of Board of Equalization Appeal Officers, and could take several weeks. Once a decision is reached, you can expect to receive a “Notice of Determination.” If your appeal is denied, you cannot appeal your final property tax bill when it is received in November.

For more information, contact the Summit County Assessor’s Office at 435-336-3257, or visit them at the county courthouse in Coalville, at 60 North Main Street. The Assessor can be emailed at [email protected].

If you have any questions or need help finding comparable properties to support your appeal, please reach out to me. I’m happy to walk you through the art of how to appeal your property taxes anytime.

There are many reasons people Choose Park City beyond continually-increasing home values. Connect with Christine Grenney at 435-640-4238, or visiting her website by clicking hereto learn more about the many benefits to living in this amazing area.

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