Property Tax Appeals - Board of Equalization
Right to Appeal
The owner responsible for payment of taxes on any property may petition the County Board of Equalization for a change in the assessed valuation placed upon such property by the County Assessor. Appeals must be made on forms approved by the Department of Revenue. Appeal forms may be requested:
- Download the form as a PDF file and print it on your computer.
- From the Clerk of the Board from the Garfield County Board of Equalization or from the Garfield County Courthouse-Assessor’s Office.
- Through the mail by contacting the Clerk at (509) 843-7011. Voice mail is available twenty-four hours, seven days a week. Leave your name, telephone number, parcel number, and mailing address.
Filing a Petition
Citizens must file a complete appeal petition form with the Garfield County Board of Equalization by July 1 of the current assessment year, or within 30 days of when the last Change of Value Notice was mailed by the Assessor, whichever date is later. Send to: Clerk of Board, Box 883 Pomeroy, WA 99347
County Board of Equalization
The Washington State Legislature has given the Board of Equalization the responsibility to determine whether the assessed value of your property represents 100% of the property's fair market value. Boards of Equalization are quasi-judicial bodies and consider questions of valuation/equalization of property assessments, not levy rates or the overall amount of taxes due. Statute and the voters in your taxing district establish Washington tax levy rates. The Board will consider the value of both the land and improvements (buildings, etc.) in determining a final value for the property. To contest the value, the burden of proof is on the taxpayer. The taxpayer must provide clear, cogent and convincing evidence that shows the valuation is erroneous.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Board of Equalization (BOE)?
The Board is wholly separate and apart from Assessor's Office. They are comprised of three County residents appointed by the Garfield County Board of Commissioners for three-year terms. Board members are salaried for the days they are in hearing sessions. The Board is governed by the state Department of Revenue as supported by RCW 84.08.020 and 84.08.060. The department assists property owners with procedural information for those who wish to appeal the assessor's valuation placed on their property.
How does the Assessor value property?
State law requires the Assessor to value all taxable property at 100% of its true and fair market value, according to the highest and best use of the property. Market value is the amount of money that a willing and unobligated buyer is willing to pay a willing and unobligated seller. The Assessor values real property using one or more acceptable appraisal methods: the market or sales comparison method, the cost approach, an income capitalization approach for income-producing property, or any combination of the three approaches.
How do I appeal?
File copies of completed petition forms with the BOE. Petition forms are available from the BOE or Assessor, or downloaded from this web site. There is no charge for filing an appeal.
When must I appeal?
Petitions must be received by the BOE on or before July 1st of the assessment year or within thirty (30) days after a change of value notice. Under certain circumstances a petition may be accepted if it qualifies for a Request for Reconvene.
What information is required to file an appeal?
A properly completed petition must include specific reasons why the property owner believes that the Assessor's valuation is not correct. Arguments such as the amount of tax, assessed value of other properties, percentage in which the assessment increased, personal hardship and other matters unrelated to market value cannot be considered by the Board.
What is acceptable evidence?
Acceptable evidence includes, but is not limited to contractor estimates of cost to cure; letters or documents from government agencies and/or experts regarding development limitations; deeds describing easements that impact value; appraisal documents; excise documents of property sale; photos; and maps showing access limitations, etc.
How do I find comparable sales?
Because State law requires that all property be valued at 100% of market value, sales of comparable properties are the best indicator of market value. The BOE must use the standard of comparable sales to make their decision. Therefore, it is important to include comparable sales information in your appeal. Information regarding sales of comparable properties may be obtained through personal research, local realtors, appraisers, or at the county assessor's office.
What if there are no properties comparable to mine?
Comparable properties do not have to exactly match your property. Look for properties that are most similar, then note their differences and adjust the value of the other property to reflect those differences. For example, if your property has an obscured view, and the only similar property that sold has a much better view, discount the sale price to the amount you believe someone would be willing to pay for the lesser view. If your property has deteriorated conditions that would make it difficult to sell, provide contractor estimates of the "cost to cure" those conditions. Photos are particularly effective support for arguments regarding condition. Additional evidence, above and beyond that required for complete petition, may be submitted up to seven business days prior to your hearing.
When will I have a hearing?
After the petition is accepted, the Assessor is giving a chance to review your arguments and respond. If they agree to change the value they will contact you with a stipulation for you to sign. If not, the BOE clerk will schedule a hearing and notify you at least three weeks in advance by mail of the hearing date and time.
What can I expect at the hearing?
The hearing is an informal review where property owners may represent themselves without an attorney. You and the Assessor's representative will have the opportunity to give oral testimony and review your previously submitted arguments and documentary evidence. Each party may question the other and rebut evidence.
When formulating arguments and gathering evidence, it is important to keep in mind that, by law, the Assessor is presumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on you to show that the Assessor's determination is incorrect. Evidence must be "clear, cogent and convincing."
Can the BOE increase my assessed value?
The BOE has the authority to raise, lower or sustain the Assessor's determination.
When will I receive a decision?
Decisions are typically mailed within two weeks of the hearing, unless the case has some unusual complexities that need more time to consider.
What if I am not satisfied with the Board of Equalization's decision?
Either the Appellant or the Assessor may appeal a BOE decision to the State Board of Tax Appeals. An appeal must be filed with the State Board within thirty (30) calendar days of the mailing date of the local Board's decision. Forms are available in the BOE office or may be obtained from the Board of Tax Appeals.
Should I wait until after my hearing to pay my property taxes?
Pay your property taxes when due. After your hearing and the finalization of the BOE's decision, the County Treasurer will notify you of the appropriate adjustments in your tax responsibility or refunds.