1. Should I Appeal the Value of my Property?
If you believe that the county's value does not reflect the fair market value of your property on January 1, you should appeal. The appeals process is an opportunity to review a property in more detail. We all want values to be accurate so we have a fair basis for sharing cost of local services.
You are welcome to request information about how your property was valued from the county appraiser's office in order to determine whether you should appeal.
2. How do I Appeal?
• Appeal the Notice of Value
The first opportunity to appeal is when you receive the written notice of your property’s value (usually first part of March). To appeal, contact our office to set up an appointment within 30 days from the date the notice was mailed.
Once you start this appeal, be sure to pursue it to your satisfaction. If you abandon your appeal, you cannot "pay under protest" later for the same property and tax year.
Or you can…
• Appeal by Paying Under Protest
The second opportunity to appeal is when you receive your tax statement (usually mid-November). If you did not appeal the notice of your property’s value in the spring, you may pay under protest. If you pay the full amount before December 20th, you have until December 20th to file the “Payment Under Protest” form. If you are paying a delinquent tax bill, you are to file the form at the time of payment. You can file the form at the time of your first half payment. You can also file a form when paying your second half payment if you did not already protest your first half payment. (It is preferred for you to protest the first half payment.) If your taxes are paid in full by an escrow or tax service agent on or before December 20, you have until January 31 of the following year to file the form.
All “Payment Under Protest” forms are to be filed with the county treasurer.
Both appeals (Notice of Value and Payment Under Protest) processes are:
Informal Hearing: The appeal process begins with an informal meeting with an appraiser in your county. At the informal meeting, the appraiser must provide you with documentation supporting the county’s value. This is your opportunity to explain why you believe the county’s value is incorrect. You will receive a results letter in the mail.
Small Claims Division: If you still disagree after receiving your informal hearing results letter you can appeal the results. You must appeal to Small Claims if your property is a single family residential property before proceeding to the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA).
You may appeal to Small Claims Division if:
- The property is a single - family residential property
- The property has a value of less than $2 million and is not agricultural land
To appeal, file the proper form with BOTA within 30 days from the date the county mailed your results of the informal hearing. The appeal form should be part of the notice. Contact your county clerk or appraiser for the appeal form if necessary.
Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA): If you decide to appeal a Small Claims decision, you may appeal to BOTA. You may also appeal your informal hearing results directly to BOTA, if your property is not a single family residential property.
To appeal, file the proper form with BOTA within 30 days from the date you were mailed a notice of (a) Small Claims Division decision or (b) the county appraiser's informal hearing results. Again, the appeal form should be part of the notice. Contact your county clerk or appraiser for the appeal form if necessary.
3. What is a Board’s Small Claims Division hearing?
The Small Claims hearing officer is appointed by the Regular Division of the Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA), rather than by the county.
The hearing is held in the county where the property is located, or an adjacent county. The hearing must be scheduled within 60 days after the appeal is filed in the small claims division and decided within 30 days after the hearing.
You and the county appraiser each have the opportunity to present documentation that supports your opinions of value.
The meeting is informal and confidential; all records are returned to the taxpayer at the conclusion. You may appeal to the Board of Tax Appeals if you are not satisfied with the small claims division’s decision.
4. What is a Kansas Board of Tax Appeals (BOTA) hearing like?
The Regular Division of the Court of Tax Appeals hearings are more formal. One or more of the three BOTA judges will hear your appeal.
BOTA is located in Topeka, but its members travel to regions throughout the state. Your hearing may be held in Topeka or a city in your area.
BOTA keeps a record of the proceedings. Both you and the county may present testimony and exhibits at the hearing. This is the record that is used for any subsequent appeals.
Generally, the property owner and the county appraiser must exchange exhibits and list of witnesses several days prior to the hearing, so each side know what to expect.
BOTA will provide more specific instructions prior to your hearing. Be certain to follow BOTA’s rules. You may contact BOTA at (785) 296-2388.
5. Can another person attend hearings on my behalf?
Someone else may attend the informal hearing with the county appraiser. However, you must complete a “Declaration of Representation” form provided by the county appraiser. At a Small Claims Division hearing, the owner of the property under appeal may appear personally or be represented by an attorney. In addition, the owner may be represented by a certified public accountant, certified appraiser, member of the owner’s immediate family, tax representative or an authorized employee by filing a “Declaration of Representation” form with BOTA.
Generally, BOTA requires that the property owner appear at its hearings, unless represented by an attorney. You may contact BOTA for more information.
6. What facts should I bring to a meeting or hearing?
The county’s value is not presumed to be correct; the county must show how they determined the value of your property. However, don’t’ take it for granted that you will win your appeal because the county must support its value. Be ready to show why your value is more accurate. You will want to provide information that supports your request for a lower value. Some examples are:
- Recent sales information about property similar in condition, quality, style, age and location. The appraiser’s office will provide you with a comparable sales sheet for your home or similar homes upon request. Allow several days for processing and mail time.
- A sales contract for your property if it was purchased within the last two to three years.
- Photos and contract/engineering estimates of the cost to repair any structural damage the county did not fully consider.
- A recent appraisal report for your property prepared by a fee appraiser.
- Rent income expense information if the property is an income-producing investment (example, apartment building).
7. The County must satisfy certain “Burdens of Proof” on Appeal.
Small Claims Division: The county’s value is not presumed to be correct; the county must prove it is.
Board of Tax Appeals: The county must show that the value of residential or commercial property is correct. However, if commercial real property is leased, the owner must provide income/expense information (up to 3 years) or the county’s value is presumed to be correct.
Increases in Value: If real property increases in value from the prior year, the county must review the record of the property’s last physical inspection and have documentation supporting the increase. If the value increases following a year when the value was reduced by appeal, then the county appraiser must also show substantial and compelling reasons for increasing the value.