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Appealing Your Property Tax

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Appealing your property tax

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 form.

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, WA 98225

What is the Deadline for Filing a Petition?

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 of notification.

Should I Contact the Assessor's Office?

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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