Appeals Process Step by Step
The Process to Appeal Your Assessment
This information is presented to help property owners understand the appeal process and the way properties are valued. You may also find it helpful to view this step-by-step explanation of the appeal process.
What Causes Property Values to Change?
The assessor’s main task is to estimate the full and true value (fair market value) of your property. A property's value can change for many reasons. The most obvious is that the property has changed. Perhaps a bedroom, garage or outbuilding is added, or part of the property is destroyed by flood or fire. The most frequent cause of a change in value is a change in the market. In a recession, larger homes may stay on the market for a longer time, while more affordable homes are in greater demand. In our case, lack of developable land in Anchorage may create pressure on prices in the Mat-Su Borough. The market is always changing.
Property Owner Questions
If you believe the assessor's estimated value of your property is excessive, improper, unequal, or too low, you will want to know:
- How the assessor values property. (See Taxes and Value)
- How to gather information about your property and similar properties.
- How the appeals process works and what the deadlines are.
You also have a responsibility to furnish accurate information about your property to the assessor.
What are the Grounds for Appeal?
An assessment appeal is an attempt to prove that your property's estimated market value is either excessive, unequal, improper or too low. It is not a complaint about higher taxes. An appeal is appropriate when you can prove one of the following:
- Items that affect value are incorrect on your property record. For example, you have one bath, not two. You have a carport, not a garage. Your home has 1,600 square feet, not 2,000.
- The estimated market value is too high or too low. You have evidence that similar properties have sold for more or less than the estimated market value of your property.
- The estimated market value of your property is accurate but inequitable because it is higher than the estimated value of similar properties.
NOTE: There are exemptions for senior citizens over the age of 65 and for disabled veterans. The assessor’s office can give you information about exemptions.
Step 1: Review Assessment Notice
When you receive your assessment notice, read it for instructions, deadlines, and filing procedures. Be sure you understand and follow the instructions. If you have questions or if you do not receive your assessment notice, call the Assessor's Office.
Note that AS 29.45.180 requires that you advise the Assessor of errors or omissions in the assessment of your property within 30 days of the mailing of the assessment notice. A missed deadline or incorrect filing can cause an appeal to be dismissed.
Preparation for an Informal Review
An informal review with someone in the assessor’s office can be very helpful to learn how your property was appraised and ensure that the assessed value is based on accurate information about the property. This informal review can be handled by telephone.
The informal review also provides a chance to address your issues directly with the Assessor’s Office to see whether an adjustment can be made. According to state statute and borough code, where an alleged error in valuation is not adjusted by the Assessor to the taxpayer’s satisfaction, the property owner may appeal to the Board of Equalization for relief.
In Alaska, information from the Assessor’s Office is public record. You can use this information to help you prepare for your informal review and/or formal appeal to the Board of Equalization.
- Find your property account number on your assessment notice. Use this number to review your property record online at the Borough's myProperty Site and/or in person at the Assessor’s Office.
- Review the facts on the property record. Are they correctly stated? If not, a recent photo of your home may help correct the information. Check the living area of your home, size of your lot, number of bathrooms, presence or absence of a garage or finished basement, construction materials, condition, and so on.
- Gather as much information as you want on similar properties in your neighborhood. Ask the Assessor’s Office or a real estate broker about sales prices (not listings) on these properties. Use the addresses of comparable properties and review their property records, which should also show their appraised values. Compare the features of these properties to the features of your own. If there are differences, the values of the properties may be different.
Step 3: Informal Review
The purpose of the informal review, which is not yet an appeal, should be:
- To verify the information on your property record.
- To make sure you understand how your value was estimated.
- To discover if the value is fair compared with the values of similar properties in your neighborhood.
- To find out if you qualify for any exemptions.
- To be sure you understand how to file a formal appeal, if the issues are not resolved to your satisfaction during the informal review.
The appraiser you speak with will probably review your property record with you and may be able to give you information about comparable properties. Present any information you have gathered. The appraiser may not commit to a change in value at this time, even though you may have uncovered an error or the assessment appears to be inequitable. Your appraiser may need to do some additional research before a change can be made. If changes are made to your assessed value, you will receive an adjusted notice of assessment.
Keep in mind that the last week of the appeal period can be quite busy in the Assessor’s Office. Your appraiser will generally be able to review your property and address your concerns with you more thoroughly if the review takes place in advance of the appeal deadline, avoiding the final rush!
Step 4: Formal Appeal
Residential appeals are often resolved at the informal level. If you are not satisfied with the results of your informal review, a formal appeal can be made to the Board of Equalization which is made up of volunteer citizens with expertise in real estate.
During the appeal period, the appeal form is available from the Assessment Office and from this web site. Be sure to read the instructions and other information provided with the form. This information will assist you in knowing how best to prepare for your formal appeal.
Your formal appeal is more likely to be successful if you present information to show that your assessed value is unequal, excessive, improper or undervalued. According to AS 29.45.210, the only grounds for valuation adjustment are unequal, excessive, improper or undervaluation. You may want to provide copies of comparable property records, with information on their sales prices or estimated market values. Note any differences between your property and the comparable and note these differences. A recent appraisal may be good evidence of your property value.
The Board is interested only in the fairness and accuracy of the value placed on your property. If you disagree with the Board's decision, resolution may be found by appealing to superior court.
Thanks to the International Association of Assessing Officers for their permission to adapt copyrighted material for use by:
350 E. Dahlia Ave.
Palmer, Alaska 99645
Real Property (907) 861-8642
Personal Property/Business Inventory (907) 861-8637
Appeals Process (907) 861-8640