March 3, 2014 Leave a comment
I filed two appeals in Douglas County for tax year 2013. I don’t work there very often and hadn’t had an appeal there in ten years, until filing those two appeals last year. I finally had one of the 2013 real tax appeals, on a small retail strip center, on February 4, 2014. I was able to get the fair market value reduced at the Douglas County Board of Equalization. I was able to get the fair market value reduced from $998,000 to $750,000 based on the income approach to value. The Douglas County assessors don’t employ the income approach to derive their commercial values, even though it is 2014, and even though most other metro county assessor’s offices use that approach. No, Douglas County is in the stone age and uses the cost approach to value its’ properties and occassionally they will use the sales approach. After I conducted the board of equalization hearing, and won it, I saved my client $3,800.00. About a 24% reduction in the 13′ fair market value, meaning they will be receiving a refund too. Well, last week, the Douglas County Board of Assessors filed our results to court. They have the right to do so, just like the taxpayer does as well, but this is the first time in 20 years of doing tax appeals that a county has filed suit on the results of me obtaining a reduction in the value at a board of equalization hearing. So the chief appraiser called me after I left him a message last week and mentioned that the next step is that their attorney would be mailing me a letter to set up a hearing for mediation and that hopefully this could all be amicably worked out without going to court. I bet so…after asking around to some of my colleagues, Douglas County has been doing this for years when it loses at the board of equalization and they do this to re-coup some of the fair market value on the real estate, thus bringing in more tax money….to pay for the taj mahal county office buildings and improvements they erected prior to the real estate market going in the tank. So, now I’ll have to go through with this process and see where it takes me. I’m inclined not to work out the value and I’m inclined to have a 12 man jury trial in Douglas County, to expose the bully attitude of the assessor’s office. Surely the courts could be better used for matters other than real estate tax appeals. If anyone has had the same thing happen to them in Douglas County, I’d like to hear about it. Please email me, Rob Vinson, email@example.com, or call me at 404-218-7874 to further discuss it. Also, 2014 real estate assessment notices will be out in the next few months. If you would like for me to analyze your property tax situation for free, please contact me. Thank you!