Watching Your Local Tax Bill in 2020
Welcome to the new year! The holidays are over and it’s time to get ready for tax season. Specifically, it’s time to review the property tax data related to your local property tax bill.
The local County Assessor estimates the actual value of your property as of January 1 of each year. For property owners, the best place to start the review process is to actively monitor your current assessment data.
There are many reasons you may disagree with your assessed value, and the most common is that you believe the assessed value exceeds the actual value of your property on January 1 of that year.
If you disagree with the current estimate of the actual value of our property, here is a general summary of the property assessment appeal process in the State of Nebraska and specifically Lancaster County.
- Local Informal Appeal – Preliminary values are established by the local County Assessor by January 15 each year and you have until February 1 to contact the Assessor’s office to meet informally to discuss the assessed value. Meeting with the Assessor’s office staff is an opportunity to review the objective data related to your assessment as well and to ask questions about the methodology used to value your property. This is also a great time to request a site visit if that helps get the objective data correct. Good news, this process is free to participate.
- Local Formal Appeal – Formal assessed values are issued by the local County Assessor on June 1 each year and you have until June 30 to file the appropriate paperwork with the County Clerk in order to request the County Board of Equalization review your assessment data and consider your arguments for a different value. In some counties, the County Board sits as the Board of Equalization. In most major counties, the Board of Equalization will appoint a Referee to hear each case and make recommendations to the Board of Equalization. Meeting with the Referee is an informal discussion related to the value of the property as of January 1 of the tax year being protested. These meetings generally take place between late June and late July each year. In all cases, the Board of Equalization makes a final decision by August 10. Good news, this process is free to participate.
- State Formal Appeal – Once the local Board of Equalization takes final action on the value appeal, the protestant is notified of their decision. If the protestant is still not satisfied, the next step in the appeal process is to file an appeal with the Nebraska Tax Equalization Commission with a deadline of approximately 30 days after final action by the local Board of Equalization. The hearing at the State level is generally more formal and you may need professional guidance. Some filing fees will apply.
We live in a great community where our property taxes fund our schools and community services. Like many, I’m willing to pay my fair share of the bill, but I don’t want to pay more than necessary. It’s time for all of us to pay close attention and appeal if necessary.
If you have any appraisal questions you would like discussed in future articles, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year!