A Revaluation Is Coming
As written about in a previous blog, municipalities in NH are required to conduct revaluations every five years. The purpose of a revaluation is to bring the assessed value of each property up to or as close as possible to its fair market value in order that taxes are fairly assessed. During a period of revaluations taxpayers should pay particular attention to their property values as a revaluation offers property owners an opportunity to favorably influence their assessed values which may remain the same for as long as five years. If a taxpayer takes a proactive approach to a revaluation, a reduced assessment may be achieved without having to go through the appeal process.
Before discussing what property owners can do to favorably influence the assessed value during the revaluation process, it is important to understand the types of revaluations that are used by cities and towns. The most common form of revaluation is commonly referred to as a full revaluation or a full measure and list. A full revaluation involves measuring the exterior and inspecting the interiors of all properties in the municipality. The full revaluation usually occurs during the span of one tax year. Other, less comprehensive, types of revaluations are permitted and often used by municipalities as the cost is lower than a full revaluation. Another type of revaluation that used is a cyclical revaluation. Unlike a full revaluation, a cyclical revaluation takes place over a number of tax years. During a cyclical revaluation, each year an appraisal company or in-house assessing department will update the information for one section of a municipality each year by geography or property type. In the final year of a cyclical revaluation all assessments will change based on the data gathered during each year of the cyclical revaluation. A final type of revaluation used by municipalities is a statistical update. A statistical update relies upon existing data on the properties without inspecting all properties and updates the values based on recent market data.
Whether it be a full revaluation, cyclical revaluation or statistical update, there is usually a period of data gathering during which the assessor or appraisal company will gather information about individual properties. A proactive taxpayer can gather information about the property in preparation for information requests and assemble data that is supportive of a reduced assessment, such as estimates for a property undergoing substantial repairs or maintenance or amounts spent historically on repairs.
If an inspection is involved in the type of revaluation used by your municipality, a property owner should accompany an inspector and point out any aspects of the property that would tend to reduce its value. For example, an inefficient heating system or leaks in the ceiling may be pointed out to the inspector by the property owner.
In most revaluations, the assessor will provide a notice of change in assessment as the result of the revaluation. This will often be accompanied by information as to when and where informal hearings will be held. These informal hearings often take place in July or August as the final values are usually set by September 1. Informal hearings are a very good opportunity to provide the assessor or appraisal company with information about the property to support a lower assessed value. Property owners should prepare for informal hearings by reviewing the property tax card for any errors, gather information about the property, and be familiar with assessed values on similar properties in the municipality. After the informal hearing the assessor will issue a revised notice of change assessment to reflect any changes as the result of the informal hearing. The only remedy at this point if the assessed value is not acceptable is to file an application for abatement after the tax bill is issued and before March 1.
Finally, the property owner should consider consulting with professionals during the revaluation process. The experienced tax representatives at Allobar Strategies will be able to assist with the complex issues in property tax valuation during the revaluation process in order to obtain a reduced assessment.
For assistance during a revaluation or more information on property tax abatement appeals, please call (603) 333-2211 or visit Allobar Strategies.
By: John F. Hayes, Esq., General Counsel/Senior Tax Representative to Allobar Strategies