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Whatcom County Board of Equalization

 

Information and Petition for Appeal

Public Notice

Summary of Hearings

Frequently Asked Questions

State Department of Revenue Information on Appealing Property Assessment to the County Board of Equalization

 

Right to Appeal

The owner responsible for paying taxes on any property may petition the County Board of Equalization for a change in the assessed valuation placed upon such property by the County Assessor. 

Filing A Petition

Appeals must be made on forms approved by the Department of Revenue. You can obtain appeal forms from the Whatcom County Board of Equalization or download here. Forms must be returned to the Board of Equalization by mail or delivered to:

Whatcom County Board of Equalization
Whatcom County Courthouse
311 Grand Avenue, Suite 105
Bellingham, WA 98225

For assistance in obtaining or filing a petition, please call NaDean Hanson, Clerk for the Whatcom County Board of Equalization, at 360-676-6690, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Filing Deadline Instructions

Petitions and supporting evidence must be submitted in duplicate.

Filing Deadline:
Petitions must be received by the Board on or before July 1st of the assessment year* or within thirty (30) calendar days after the date of the value change notice, from the Assessor. If submitted by mail, petitions must be postmarked by the post office no later than the filing deadline. Example: The assessment year is 2011. The petition must be filed by July 1, 2011 to be considered timely for taxes payable in 2012. If a change of value notice is sent from the Assessor’s office, the deadline for filing an appeal for 2011 for taxes payable in 2012 would be 30 calendar days after the date of the value change notice.

Remember when calculating your deadline some months have more than 30 days. For example, October has 31 days, so for an assessor’s determination that is dated October 21st the appeal must be filed by November 20th.

*Assessment year is the year before the tax is due. Under very limited conditions, late petitions or appeals for previous assessment years may be accepted. {WAC 458-14-056; 458-14-127} Please contact our office regarding these conditions.

If submitted by mail, petitions must be postmarked no later than the filing deadline.

If the last day to file falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline for filing is the next business day. A petition filed by mail shall be postmarked no later than the filing deadline.

If you are appealing other Assessor determinations, such as denial of a senior exemption or destroyed property, you also have 30 days from the date of the mailing notification.

To file an appeal, a taxpayer must complete an appeal petition form. A letter or phone call will not be accepted as a substitute for the appeal petition form. There is no charge for filing an appeal. For taxpayers to reserve their appeal rights a petition must be filed according to the deadlines listed above.

County Board of Equalization

The Washington State Legislature has given the Board of Equalization the responsibility to determine whether the assessed value of property represents 100% of the property’s fair market value. Boards of Equalization are quasi-judicial bodies and consider questions of valuation/equalization of property assessments; not levy rates or the overall amount of taxes due. The Board of Equalization has the authority to sustain the Assessor’s valuation, (assessed value will remain the same), or overrule the valuation by either lowering or increasing the value. Statute and the voters in the taxing district establish Washington tax levy rates. The Board will consider the value of both the land and improvements (building, etc.) in determining a final value for the property. To contest the value, the burden of proof is on the taxpayer. The taxpayer must provide clear, cogent and convincing evidence to support their estimate of market value. Pursuant to WAC 458-14-046 (5) In counties which are not on an annual revaluation cycle, the board must, in relation to a taxpayer appeal or otherwise, equalize real property values to true and fair value as of January 1 of the year in which the property was last revalued by the county assessor according to an approved revaluation cycle.