Process of Appealing and Deadlines
How Can I Appeal the Assessed Valuation of My Property?
The only way to
appeal an assessor's valuation of your property is by timely
filing a complete appeal petition with the Whatcom County
Board of Equalization. There is no fee charged for filing
an appeal. The appeal petition form must be used. A letter
or phone call is not acceptable as a substitute for the petition
Who May File an Appeal?
A property owner
or "taxpayer" may appeal. Taxpayer means the person or entity
whose name and address appears on the assessment rolls, or
their duly authorized agent.
Where Can I Get an Appeal Form?
Appeal forms are
available from the Clerk of the Board of Equalization at the
Whatcom County Council Office, or forms are available
at the Whatcom County Assessor's Office, both locations on
the first floor, County Courthouse, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham,
What is the Deadline for Filing
July 1st of the
current assessment year or within 30 days of when the "Whatcom
County Change of Value Notice" was mailed by the Assessor's
Office. If you mail your petition, it must be postmarked
by midnight of the deadline. You may hand deliver the petition
to the County Council. If you are appealing other Assessor
determinations, for example, denial of an application for
Open Space or a removal from the Open Space program by the
Assessor, you also have 30 days from the date of the mailing
Should I Contact the Assessor's
Contact the Assessor's Office to review
your valuation any time you have a question regarding your
property value. Property owners can often settle disagreements
at this level without continuing the appeal process. However,
you still need to preserve your appeal rights by timely filing
your petition with the Board of Equalization. You can withdraw
your petition at any time prior to a hearing.
What Information Must I Provide
for a Completed Petition?
The petition form
has clear directions attached. Your properly completed petition
must include specific reasons why you believe that the Assessor's
valuation is not correct. The amount of tax, the
percentage of assessment increase, personal hardship, and
other matters unrelated to market value cannot, by law, be
considered by the Board. Include the parcel
number of the property you are appealing. A separate
petition must be completed for every individual parcel.
Also include the Assessor's determination of value, other
appraisal information, your estimate of value, recent sales
of comparable properties, or other supporting information
for your appeal. Be sure to indicate if you intend to
submit additional evidence prior to the hearing. You
must submit additional information at least seven business
days prior to your hearing. (See the "Preparing an Appeal"
section for more assistance.)
If I Do Not Meet the Appeal Deadlines, Can the Board be Reconvened
to Consider a Late Filed Petition?
Forms to request
a reconvening of the Board are available at the County Council
and the Assessor's Office or from the Washington State Department
of Revenue. There are only limited reasons, by law, (RCW 84.08.060,
WAC 458-14-127), that allow the Board to reconvene to consider
assessments when an appeal was not filed in time to meet the
deadline. If a taxpayer did not receive a Change of Value
Notice and submits a sworn affidavit to attest to that fact,
a petition may be accepted until April 30th of the following
year. If a new purchaser bought a property in an arms-length
transaction after July 1st and before December 31st of the
assessment year, and the sale price was less than 90% of the
assessed value, a petition may be accepted as well.
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Appealing Your Property Tax