If I pay the tax amount due, does that negate my appeal rights?


In Oregon and Washington, the answer is no.



Should I still pay my taxes even though I plan on appealing them?


We encourage you to pay your taxes in a timely manner. You can receive the benefit of the early discount and paying your taxes does not affect your appeal rights.




If we cannot lower the real market value below the assessed value we cannot lower the taxes, right?


No. Because of Measure 5 there are savings available through com-pression. It is a long conversation to explain to you what compression is, that is why we encourage you to submit your tax statement for our review and we will let you know if your taxes can be appealed.




If I receive a favorable decision from the county, is there an impact on my property values and taxes in following years?


In Oregon, if a board or Magistrate signs an order changing the real market value it creates adjudicated value. Essentially, the county assessor is compelled, by statute, to market adjust the real market value for the five ensuing tax years after the signed decision. You should be receiving tax savings through the process. In Washington, there is no provision and assessor’s typically raise the value up the year after the decision was made.




If I prevail, does the refund accrue interest?


In Oregon, yes at a 12 percent annual interest. Washington does not pay interest on awards from the appeal board or appellate decisions.




Is there any guarantee of success if we appeal with you?


We do not guarantee results and would encourage you to run, not walk away from someone in our industry guaranteeing results. Each case is different and has its merits and detractions.




Are there property tax reductions based on other issues?


Yes. In Oregon and Washington there is a veteran and war widow reduction in the values and taxes available. Contact your local assessor office for more information. In Washington, there is a property tax reduction program for seniors based on household income. You can apply for it if you meet the guidelines. Oregon does not have a corresponding program. Both states have farm and forest deferrals available based on different criteria. I would suggest contacting your local assessor to see if your property might qualify.




How long after I win my case is the refund check available to me?


We are experiencing 45 days as our average time from decision to check from the county. This obviously varies county to county and state to state.




When do I find out the decision?


Most boards will give you the answer the day you are there. Multnomah County mails their decision within two weeks after the hearing.




How long before the decision is available to me?


In Oregon and Washington it is usually within 30 days.






What is the timeline involved for filing an appeal?


You have until Dec. 31 to file either in person or have your petition postmarked that day. All petitions need to be addressed to the right address. That address is available on the Oregon Department of Revenue website.




The timeline is so confusing, do I give them evidence around my hearing date, when I paid the bill, etc?


The assessment date which is the first of January in the year you received the bill is the date you need to be concerned about. All evidence should bracket that date.




How do I know whether I can file

or not?


If you can prove you paid the property taxes you would have standing and therefore would probably be able to appeal.




Can I have someone else represent me since I will not be available for the hearing date and time they have scheduled for me?


The board will consider represent-- atives for you subject to your authorization. Typically they allow Attorneys, CPA’s and Realtors along with designated representatives such as trustees, etc.




Can I or the county appeal the board decision?


Yes, the appeal process in Oregon is a filing fee of $281 and you have to be able to prove that you are aggrieved. Washington has an appeal process that has no fee assigned to it. Both states require the appeal be filed within 30 days of the signed board decision.




What is GOMAR? (General ongoing maintenance and repair)


You are taxed on improvements to the property, not maintenance. Items that are usually involved in any kind of construction should not be viewed as improvements. Dropboxes, porta potties, replacement of sewer and water lines, driveway and sidewalk repair, painting, carpeting, rot repair are just some examples of GOMAR. Typically, the county receives a finaled permit from the contractor who did the project and they will include all the costs associated with the project. We find that the older the building, typically the higher ratio of GOMAR versus improvements. Aging buildings have a larger need for repairs.




What is cost to cure?


Along with the above discussion.


If the property in question is in serious need of repair, we can usually get the assessor to assign a temporary value reflecting the amount it would take to have the property brought up to current market standards. Say you have EIFS siding and it is failing (or LP siding for that matter) most mortgage lenders would require the issue be addressed before they would finance the property. We apply that amount to the real market value and the county will usually allow it for one year. If the property has not been fixed in the 12 month period, the county will extend the time period another year provided the property owner notified them of the continuing problem. The county assessor typically will mail a card to the property in question. It is imperative that the property owner timely respond to that correspondence if they wish to extend the value reduction on the property.




Do I have to appear at the hearing?


No. You can submit your petition with your evidence and hope either the assessor or the board agrees with you and grants you the request you are asking for.






How can the assessor adjust my real market value so high?


The assessor is allowed, by statute, to assign any value they want on your property at any time. It is up to you to prove them wrong through this process. You are stuck with the value until you appeal.




The assessor is requesting an inspection of my property, am I required to allow them in?


No. You would probably want to call us for advice on this matter.




Can I appeal a decision from the board?


Yes, you can. Either party (you or the assessor) has the right to appeal a BOPTA decision within 30 days of the hearing. Oregon Tax Magistrate Court would be your remedy and currently they are charging a filing fee of $252 for these cases.




Why are taxes different on properties with the same values?


In Oregon, the property tax system is based on two different values. Comparing your taxes with someone else is not a basis for an appeal in Oregon. Unfortunately, there is no fairness or equity in how property taxes are assigned in Oregon. Washington only has one value on the account and if you are in the same tax district the taxes would be the same on like valued properties.




Can the local board option of appealing taxes actually raise my values and taxes?


No, they could possibly raise them in the following year if they found something they were not aware of on the property through discovery. In both states the county can ask for a larger value in the appellate process.




What is omitted property?


In Oregon, the assessor is able to change both the real market and assessed values at any time for any reason. This change can be applied for the current tax year plus the previous five tax years. Omitted property is applied to all property classes not just residential. Washington has a like provision but we have not seen any significant application of the rules locally.




What is exception value?


In Oregon, the assessor is required to create a real market value as of January 1 every year. If you are in the process of new construction or remodeling and the project spans the January 1 assessment date, the assessor would add the improved value to the rolls and the leftover, still to be finished improvements would be considered exception value to be added on the next tax statement. Since this action changes both the real market and assessed values, it is important that you agree with the values they are assigning to the account. Washington has the ability to create an updated notice of value reflecting the improvements.


 Our staff includes two registered Oregon appraisers, the same license that the assessor staff has. If you have any questions regarding property taxes in Oregon or Washington, we encourage you to contact us, not the assessor about your particular situation.

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