Sometimes it is necessary to appeal the assessed taxable market value of your Oklahoma home or property. While the method for figuring your property tax is relatively simple, it relies on a taxable value set by the County Assessor's office. As a property owner, you have a right to appeal that assessed tax value if you feel it is too high. Here are the steps to appeal the assessed taxable market value of your Oklahoma home.
- Review Your Assessed Market Value - The County Assessor's office for the county in which a property is located typically appraises on factors such as size, use, construction type, age, location and current sales market. You will be notified prior to any increase in appraised value, and many counties (Oklahoma County, for one) make values available online. Once you receive a notice of increase, you have 20 working days to appeal.
- Determine Whether an Appeal is Warranted - Remember that it's not enough to simply think an assessed value is unfair. Appeals are based on evidence, so you must determine whether an appeal is actually warranted. Check for accuracy all of the information on file such as property description, district, measurements and age. Review recent sales of properties similar to yours. Are there defects the Assessor's office might not be aware of? And finally, weigh whether an appeal is even worth it given the potential tax savings.
- Decide Whether to Retain an Agent - If you've determined an appeal is warranted and worth the time and expense, you begin to prepare your appeal. Of course, you may represent yourself in any property tax matter, but you also have the legal right to have an "agent" represent you. This might be your lawyer, mortgage lender or any other person you give written authorization to handle your appeal.
- Gather All Applicable Evidence - Before filing your appeal, make sure you have all the applicable evidence prepared. You, or your agent as noted above, should prepare a simple and well-organized case backed by facts. Depending on the reason for your appeal, you will want to have ready any figures, testimonials, sales documents, photographs, records, blueprints or appraisals that are relevant to your reason for appeal.
- File the Appeal - Appeals must by filed by May 1st of each year or within 20 working days of an increase in assessed market value. The County Clerk's office (See Oklahoma County website for contact information) will have the appropriate "Notice of Protest" form, and it is fairly straightforward.
- Understanding the County Board of Equalization - Often, the County Assessor's office will review your protest and try to resolve the dispute in an informal way. Otherwise, the appeal goes to what is called a "County Board of Equalization." The completely independent board is comprised of 3 citizens, residents of the county appointed by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, the County Commissioner, and the District Judge.
- Attend a Hearing - If necessary, the County Board of Equalization will hold a hearing in which it listens to your case as well as that of the County Assessor's office. These hearings are typically held between April 1st and May 31st, and they are open to the public. You will be notified of the date, time and place at least 48 hours in advance, and you have the right to send a representative in your place or even a sworn affidavit containing the evidence to support your protest. It is important to be on time and prepared.
- Wait for the Findings - After the hearing, the County Board of Equalization will send a written notice of its findings by mail. If dissatisfied, you have a right to appeal this ruling to your county's district court.
- Findings by the County Board of Equalization are valid only for the year in question.
- If you do not file a notice of protest by May 1st (or 20 working days after a notice of appraised value increase), you lose your legal right to appeal.
- Don't contact County Board of Equalization members outside of the hearing. They are forbidden by law to communicate with the owner of a property under appeal.