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No. You are not required to attend an informal review in order to file a formal appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals, even if you chose not to schedule an informal review, further legal review is available if you have filed an appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals.
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A reassessment does not increase or decrease tax revenues. It only redistributes the total tax burden more fairly. A resident’s county, municipal, and school taxes are all based on the assessed value of a property. Past practice from reassessment shows that about one third of properties will see lower taxes, one third will see little to no change and one third will see a tax increase. The reassessment will be revenue neutral for the county. As per state law, the point of a reassessment is to make things fair and equitable for all taxpayers using the most accurate property values as a basis. By state law, total countywide tax revenues collected from Wayne County tax parcels cannot be more in the year following a general county reassessment than they were in the previous year. Millage rates will be readjusted to take into account the new assessed values.
The market value of your property is determined by using the property data that was collected earlier in the project. Digital photos will be taken of all improved properties (parcels with structures), and then data mailers will be sent to ask you to verify that the collected data is correct. Tyler Technologies Inc., the company hired by the county to work in conjunction with the county’s own Tax Assessment Office, will analyze recent sales of similar properties, and consider construction costs and income and expense information, when appropriate.
There are several long explanations of market value, but simply put, it is the most probable price a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for a property on the open market if neither party is under pressure to buy or sell.
You should ask yourself, could I or would I sell my property for the amount listed as my new assessment. You can check this against sales of similar properties in your neighborhood. To help you compare, listings of preliminary values and other data for almost all properties in the County will be available for comparison on the internet at the County’s website. Properties currently for sale can be found on the internet at sites like Realtor.com, Trulia, and Zillow.
The goal of the assessment equity project is to determine the fair market value of every property in Wayne County. If you purchased your house within the past year and if the purchase was on the open market and had no unusual conditions, the assessed value on your notice should be reasonably close to the sale price, but probably will not be the exact amount. Just because one person is willing to pay a certain amount for a property doesn’t mean that the majority of buyers would be willing to pay the same price. During the valuation process, each property is compared to up to five similar properties to determine the most probable selling price. While sale prices may vary slightly, even for identical properties, the assessor must be equitable in their valuations. Therefore, similar properties should have the same assessed value, even if they might have differing sale prices, with adjustments made to account for differences between property characteristics.
Along the same lines, even if you appealed your value (assessment) in a prior year to the Assessor’s Office, or to the Board of Assessment Appeals, and the value was adjusted, the revaluation appraises each property as if it had not been valued before. Any prior changes are not considered since those changes were based on the 2004 countywide reassessment. The new value you receive should be a reasonable estimate of market value and equitable with surrounding properties of a similar type.
Any existing exemptions are not included in your preliminary value, but will be in the taxable value you receive from the County after the reassessment. (Taxable value equals the assessed value less any exemptions that may be applicable). Questions concerning exemptions should be directed to the local assessment hotline: 570-251-8985, ext. 1152.
If you feel that the value is not reasonably close, make an appointment for an informal review to go over the data and value. Data compiled during the revaluation will be available for inspection at the informal review.
No value changes will be made at the informal review, but all information you supply will be reviewed. You will be notified of the results of the review by mail.
If you disagree with the results of the informal review, your next step would be to file a formal appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals.