Board of Assessment Appeals
Board of Assessor Appeals Defined
Municipal Boards as Appeal Agencies The Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) is among the oldest, local government agencies in Connecticut. Its history dates back to the colonial period. Created by state law, the BAA holds important powers affecting both the municipality and the taxpayer; paradoxically, they also constitute one of the lesser-known municipal agencies.
Most taxpayers are aware of the office of assessor or tax collector in their communities. Few, however, know anything about the BAA until they have a disagreement about their property valuation. Board members themselves may know little about the office prior to their elections or appointments, and frequently learn about their functions and duties only after assuming office.
The BAA is an official municipal agency. It is designed to serve as an appeal body for taxpayers who believe that town or city assessors erred in the valuation of their properties or erroneously denied them exemptions. It is important to note that the BAA is not an assessing agency.It does not value taxable property as that is the function of the assessors. Its purpose is best explained by the word “review” which was formerly in the title. To review assessments, board members must have an understanding of the three approaches to value used by assessors and real estate appraisers in mass appraisal. It is a review body and as such serves independently of assessors.
In most cases the BAA operates as an intermediary level between the assessors and the courts. During a formal hearing before the BAA, aggrieved taxpayers usually present their body of evidence to either an individual board member or to the entire BAA, depending on jurisdictional preference. The individual board member, or the board as a whole, receives the evidence from the taxpayer while the taxpayer makes their case for a lower assessment. Board members may then query the taxpayer if necessary, with regard to the evidence.
Once the hearing is completed the BAA, if meeting as a whole, may deliberate and vote as to whether an adjustment to the assessment is warranted. If the hearing is conducted with only an individual board member, that specific board member will present the evidence to the entire board during scheduled and noticed deliberations.
The BAA will then vote as to whether an adjustment is warranted. Pursuant to Connecticut General Statute (CGS) §12-111 taxpayers are then notified in writing within 1 week as to the findings of the BAA.Under FOIA regulations, all meetings of the Board of Assessment Appeals are OPEN to the public. All doors shall remain open during all appeal sessions.
The BAA now has the same educational outlets as assessors. Assessors have taken many steps to gain specialized knowledge vital to their profession. Meetings of professional organizations such as the Connecticut Association of Assessing Officers and the International Association of Assessing Officers give them the opportunity to meet and discuss issues, as well as to hear talks by leaders in the field.
Actions the Board Can Take
The Board of Assessment Appeals is governed by Connecticut State Statutes. Our powers are limited in scope. Unfortunately, the comment of “my taxes are too high” is not an argument we can legally respond to. Taxes are determined by multiplying the property assessment by the mill rate.We do not set the mill rate. That is the responsibility of the Town Council; we may only address issues concerning value.
Continue reading to see types of issues the Board can address, with some comments that may help you present your case to the Board.
Error in Information
Review your field card; Your field card can be obtained at the Assessor’s office in the town hall or online via the Vision Appraisals website. Are there informational errors on the card? If so, notify the Board at your hearing.
Loss in Value Due to Some Defect
Has your property deteriorated or been damaged? Does your property have some negative flaw due to a structural, environmental or topographical condition? Describe it in detail; photos may be helpful.
Differences in Comparative Values of Similar Properties
Be advised that the value of your property is based on land size as well as type and size of any buildings and their condition. This information is compared to similar types of property.
When comparing your property to other properties, make sure they are similar in age, style, size, and neighborhood. Try to find more than one comparison. This will reinforce your case. However, be advised that the Board has the right to increase the assessment of any property it deems undervalued based on comparable items presented to it.
To assist you, information about property descriptions, assessments and sales can be found on the Vision Appraisals website.
Economic Decline to Income Producing Property
If our rental or other income producing property has suffered an economic loss, you may appeal your assessment to the Board.
You will need to demonstrate a drop in your ability to generate income. Be prepared to present copies of the last three years federal tax returns as they relate to the property, such as IRS Schedule E or Form 8825 along with detailed depreciation schedules and worksheets. Feel free to present additional information that you feel will support your case.
Motor Vehicle values
You will be required to provide your vehicle’s mileage, as of the previous October 1st, if you are claiming high mileage.
Supply photographs of any claims of damage due to an accident or excessive wear and tear. Feel free to present any other information that you feel supports your case.
Be advised vehicle values are based on National Automobile Dealers Association guides only using the clean retail value, unless it is a unique vehicle. Other reference materials such as the Kelley Blue Book are not used. Current purchase receipts may also be helpful.
File an Appeal
Download an Appeal Application directly from the website (when available), or get one from the Assessor’s Office, directly. Applications are not needed for the September BAA meeting which is for vehicles only.
Due to time constraints, it is imperative that you fully research your appeal. Your written presentation should be concise, complete, and include specific details.
All written appeals must be “RECEIVED” at the Assessor’s Office by through February 19, 2021. It is, therefore, recommended that you mail your appeal a week prior to the due date or hand deliver the appeal by the due date. No appeals will be accepted after 4:30 pm on February 19th.
Only the legal owner of property or his or her authorized representative can be heard.No representative, including a non-owner spouse or attorney, will be heard, unless a letter to designate him or her as an authorized representative is presented.
A “Durable Power of Attorney” will be accepted; the Board will retain a copy of the document as part of their file.