Board of Equalization
The Board of Equalization (BOE) is a special jury that hears appeals of property values and denials of homestead and other exemptions. Briefly explained on this page are the following aspects of BOE hearings:
- Who can present a case?
- When does the hearing take place?
- What should be done to prepare?
- What takes place at the hearing?
- What if I don't agree with the decision?
Who can present a case?
For appeals of property value, only property owners who received an assessment notice for the current year and who filed an appeal, in writing, to the Tax Assessors within 45 days of the postmark on the assessment notice. The appeal is reviewed by the Board of Tax Assessors; and if the Board deems “no change,” the appeal is forwarded to the Board of Equalization. For appeals of denial of exemption, anyone who was denied the exemption.
When does the hearing take place?
Appellants (people who filed an appeal) should receive a notice of the date and time of the hearing. Please be sure to note the date and time. The BOE is required to give the Appellant and the Tax Assessor ample time to prepare for the hearing. Therefore, they expect that both parties will be ready to present all evidence at the scheduled hearing and in the allotted time.
What should be done to prepare?
The following information may not be all-inclusive and should not be taken as legal advice. The parties to the appeal should determine in advance what additional steps may be necessary to prepare the case and should consult an attorney if legal advice is needed.
- If for any reason either party has a legitimate problem with the date and time of the hearing, they may request a change by notifying the secretary of the Board at least five days prior to the hearing. If an emergency arises that will prevent either party to the appeal to be on time, the secretary of the Board may be notified up to the time of the hearing. If there is no such request prior to the hearing, the Board shall hold the hearing in that party's absence and shall notify both parties of the Board's decision as required by law.
- Note the names of the members who will be hearing the case (shown on the notice of hearing). Should the objectivity of any one of the members be doubted, a request to have that member removed from the case must be made in writing at least five days prior to the hearing.
- The taxpayer has the right to be represented at the hearing by an agent, attorney, appraiser, etc. If any taxpayer plans to be represented by another person, the taxpayer must submit the name of the person in writing to the secretary of the Board at least five days prior to the hearing. This must be done whether the taxpayer decides to attend the hearing or not. No one will be permitted to present evidence or speak on behalf of anyone unless the Board receives the written notification above. (Immediate family members and/or spouses are exceptions to this rule).
- Both parties should consider carefully what prima facie evidence (such as appraisals, photographs, etc) will support his/her case and should be sure to bring the evidence to the hearing. Prima facie evidence is evidence that establishes a fact. If the case is an appeal of value, an opinion of value and anything that the taxpayer believes will support that opinion are a necessary part of the evidence that should be presented.
- The law requires the Board to hear, consider, and deliberate evidence. Because this jury is required by law to be neutral and independent, it does not investigate or research; its role is to listen to information presented and make a decision based on the evidence or information. Therefore, all research must be done by the parties in the appeal and must be brought to the hearing to be considered.
What takes place at the hearing?
At any time during the hearing, members of the BOE may ask questions of either party. The chairperson may administer oaths, reprimand, exclude, or dismiss any person because of improper conduct or other circumstances.
The taxpayer and the Tax Assessor are allowed to present evidence. The law requires the Board to consider the facts presented by the Tax Assessor to be prima facie correct. However, the Board of Tax Assessors shall have the burden of proving their opinion of value and the validity of their proposed assessment by a preponderance of evidence.
When all evidence has been presented and all closing statements have been made, the three members of the BOE will deliberate the case and make a decision. (All written or hard-copy evidence remains with the BOE throughout its deliberations.)
Once a decision has been made by the majority of the members of the BOE, it will be mailed (via certified mail) to the taxpayer within five days of the hearing date. It is given to the Tax Assessor by filing the original copy with the Board of Tax Assessors.
What if I don't agree with the decision?
Since the BOE takes no further action in this matter nor can it alter its decision, the taxpayer and/or the Tax Assessor has the right to appeal to the Superior Court.