You asked: Petition needed to appeal reassessment
Published 2:38 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2016
How do I appeal my real property value to the circuit court after meeting with assessors and the board of equalization?
To appeal a reassessment of real property — such as real estate or a home — to the circuit court, the taxpayer must file a petition with the circuit court clerk’s office.
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“You file a petition. I would entitle it a petition,” Prince Edward County Attorney Jim Ennis said, noting the document should be filed with the circuit court clerk’s office. “Once you file that, and if appropriate service is had on the county, then it may or may not be right to be docketed on the calendar of the court. It’s very difficult if you don’t have a lawyer to make sure these things are done in a timely fashion.”
The step of appealing a reassessment value to a circuit court judge is one of three in trying to get an assessment changed. The first is meeting with the assessors and the second is meeting with the county’s board of equalization.
“It’s up to the landowners to have the burden of proof that
the board of equalization is incorrect. The assumption is that the board of equalization’s assessment is correct,” Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said. “It’s assumed the assessment is correct. It’s up to the taxpayer to have documentation to show why it’s not correct.”
If a hearing is scheduled by the court, a judge could rule on the reassessment value.
“You hire a lawyer,” Bartlett said. “You just go an appeal to the court. An individual could do it.”
“It’s not many at all,” he said of the number of past circuit court filings regarding appealing reassessment values.
“The burden of proof is on the taxpayer to file a petition and to present evidence to change it and … you start at the clerk of circuit court,” Bartlett said.
Prince Edward Circuit Court Clerk Machelle Eppes confirmed that the “proper papers” would be filed with her office.
According to the Code of Virginia, “Any person assessed with local taxes, aggrieved by any such assessment, may … apply for relief to the circuit court of the county or city wherein such assessment was made. The application shall be before the court when it is filed in the clerk’s office.”
“In such proceedings, except for proceedings seeking relief from real property taxes, the burden of proof shall be upon the taxpayer to show that the property in question is valued at more than its fair market value or that the assessment is not uniform in its application, or that the assessment is otherwise invalid or illegal, but it shall not be necessary for the taxpayer to show that intentional, systematic and willful discrimination has been made,” the code states.
All proceedings pursuant to the code section are “conducted as an action at law before the court, sitting without a jury. The county or city attorney, or if none, the attorney for the commonwealth, shall defend the application.”
In circuit court proceedings to seek relief from real property taxes, the code states that there is a presumption that the valuation determined by the assessor or as adjusted by the board of equalization is correct.
“The burden of proof shall be on the taxpayer to rebut such presumption and show by a preponderance of the evidence that the property in question is valued at more than its fair market value or that the assessment is not uniform in its application, and that it was not arrived at in accordance with generally accepted appraisal practices, procedures, rules and standards as prescribed by nationally recognized professional appraisal organizations such as the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) and applicable Virginia law relating to valuation of property.”