Friday, September 22, 2017
     

Guide to the Appeal Process in Kansas

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By law, your county appraiser figures the appropriate value of your property in a uniform and equal manner. The county appraiser does not control the amount of your property taxes and the county does not receive more money by simply raising property values. The value of property in the county is used as a means of spreading the cost of providing local services.

If your property value goes up, it does not necessarily mean you will pay more taxes. Likewise, if your property value goes down or does not changes, it does not automatically mean you will pay less or the same amount of taxes.

The money needed for local services is set and budget hearings are held in August. Increases or decreases in property values do not change the amount of tax dollars needed for local public services. These services include roads, parks, fire protection, police protection, public health, and public schools among many others.

The "notice of value" on your land and buildings should be mailed from the county appraiser by March 1, and by May 1 for personal property. If your county appraiser asks for an extension, it may be later than the above date before you get your notice of value.

There are two ways to challenge the value of your property:

You may appeal the "notice of value" of your property by contacting the county appraiser's office by phone or in writing within 30 days of the mailing date of the notice, or..you may fill out a "payment under protest" form with the county treasurer at the time you pay your taxes. If you paid all your taxes prior to December 20th then the protest can be made no later than December 20th (unless an escrow or tax service agent pays your property taxes in full, then no later than January 31st).

You cannot appeal using both methods for the same property in the same tax year. So, if you start to appeal your "notice of value", be sure that you follow through with the appeal. You will not be allowed to "pay under protest" later.

Contact the county appraiser's office by phone or in writing within 30 days of the mailing date of the notice for real property or by May 15th for personal property. The county will send confirmation of the time and date of the scheduled informal meeting at least ten days prior to the meeting.



The county appraiser will hold an informal meeting with the property owner by May 15th and notify the owner of the county's final value by May 20th for real property. These dates may be extended by order of the Director of Property Valuation.

If the property owner disagrees with the county's final value, the property owner may appeal to one of the following: Small Claims, if the property is classified as residential, or has an appraised value that is less than 2 million and is not agricultural land; or if the HOP is not available in your county, you may appeal directly to the State Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) .



If the county does not have a HOP, you must appeal within 30 days from the county's final value to small claims or  BOTA by filing with BOTA. Appeal forms are provided by the county clerk.

If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with BOTA's decision, either party may request a rehearing or reconsideration within 15 days.

If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with BOTA's decision on rehearing or reconsideration, either party may appeal to the district court where the property is located within 30 days.

Timely file a written payment under protest with the county treasurer on a form provided by the treasurer. The county appraiser will schedule an informal meeting with the property owner within 15 days after receiving a copy of the protest. The meeting does not have to be held within this 15 day period, just scheduled within 15 days. After the informal meeting, the county appraiser must notify the property owner of any change in value within 15 business days. A "no change" notice may be received later.

If you disagree with the county's final value, you may appeal to one of the following by filing a written request with the Board of Tax Appeals within 30 days of the county's final value: small claims if the property is classified as residential, or has an appraised value that is less than 2 million and is not agricultural land; or directly to the State Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA).

After a small claims appeal you may appeal to the State Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) by filing a written request with BOTA within 30 days after notification of results of the small claim hearing. If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with BOTA's decision, either party may request a rehearing or reconsideration within 15 days.

If the property owner or the county appraiser is dissatisfied with BOTA's decision on rehearing or reconsideration, either party may appeal to the district court where the property is located within 30 days.

During the informal meeting, the appraiser will show how the appraised value was determined for your property. During or before the meeting, review the record on your property to be sure all the information such as age, style and size is correct. The county appraiser is interested in appraising property accurately, in a uniform and equal manner and should not be considered an adversary.

You will want to provide documentation that supports your request for a lower value. Owners who appeal successfully usually do so by finding comparable properties with lower market values or comparable properties that have recently sold for less than the value assigned to their property. Below are examples of documentation that may be used to support a change in market value.

Recent sales information about property similar in condition, quality, style, age and location to the property at issue. The appraiser's office will furnish you with a comparable sales sheet for your property upon request. Allow several days for processing and mail time. The sales contract for the property if it was purchased within the last three years. Photos and contract/engineering estimates of the cost to repair any structural damage if the damage was not fully considered. A recent appraisal report of the property at issue prepared by a professional appraiser. Rent income and expense information if the property at issue is an income- producing investment (example, apartment buildings).

This documentation is not appropriate for agricultural land and commercial personal property appraisals because, by law, such property is not appraised at market value.

Someone else may attend the informal meeting or HOP hearing. However, the owner must complete a "Declaration of Representation" form provided by the county appraiser. Contact your county appraiser for more information.

At a small claims hearing, the owner may appear personally or be represented by an attorney, CPA, certified appraiser, member of the owner's immediate family, or authorized employee by filing a "Declaration of Representation" form with BOTA. Generally, BOTA requires that the actual property owner appear at its hearing, unless you are represented by an attorney.

BOTA members travel around the state. Both parties may present testimony and exhibits at the hearing. Generally, the property owner and the county appraiser must exchange exhibits and a list of witnesses 20 days prior to the hearing, so each side knows what to expect. BOTA will provide more specific instructions and may be contacted at (785)296-2388.