Property Owner Warning

January 29th, 2013 Posted by Auditor's Office 0 comments on “Property Owner Warning”

County Auditor John S. Federer is warning property owners to beware of companies offering to assist with valuation appeals.

ValueAppeal, LLC of Seattle is one of several companies mailing letters to area residents saying they could be overpaying their taxes because “the County” value of their property might be in error. “I have seen solicitations that say owners could be overpaying by thousands of dollars”, said Federer.

Some mailings offer what some companies term “a custom report”. One charges $159. Federer said owners can do the research on their own and can file an appeal for no charge with the Board of Revision (BOR).

“We often advise homeowners to contact a Realtor who is active in their area for an independent opinion of their value as a first step,” he said. “They can also review recent sales of comparable properties on our website”.

“The information is available and easy to access,” said Federer. “Why pay some out-of-town company to provide what anyone can get at no cost?” he asked. He said similar letters have been mailed to property owners in counties across the state.

He noted that no one can offer a “guarantee” or “a very high likelihood” of a value reduction. “Promises of ‘risk free’ filings are extremely misleading. Each case is considered on its merits and the BOR can increase a value”, he said. “Filing a BOR complaint is the initiation of a legal proceeding. Potential filers are urged to carefully review the instructions we provide to best present their case,” he added.

The BOR is a three-member board which includes a County Commissioner, the County Treasurer and the Auditor.

Auditor Federer will complete a full reappraisal in 2013.  The 2013 values become effective with the first tax bill in 2014. Owners who believe their value is inaccurate should make sure their BOR complaint forms are received by the Auditors office by 4:30 pm on Monday April 1st.

Complaint forms and instructions are available from the Auditor’s office or may be accessed on the Auditor’s website.