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Board of Equalization

Filing an Appeal

This page contains some brief answers to some commonly asked questions regarding the San Juan County property valuation appeal process. Also included is some information that will assist you in completing the appeal petition.

How Can I Appeal the Assessed Valuation of My Property?

The only way to appeal an assessor's valuation of your property is by timely filing a complete appeal petition with the San Juan County Board of Equalization. There is no fee charged for filing an appeal. The appeal petition form must be used. A letter or phone call is not acceptable as a substitute for the petition form.

Who May File an Appeal?

A property owner or "taxpayer" may appeal. Taxpayer means the person or entity whose name and address appears on the assessment rolls, or their duly authorized agent.

What is the Deadline for Filing a Petition?

July 1st of the current assessment year or within 30 days of when the "San Juan County Change of Value Notice" was mailed by the Assessor's Office. If you mail your petition, it must be postmarked by midnight of the deadline. You may hand deliver the petition to the Clerk of the Board of Equalization. If you are appealing other Assessor determinations, for example, denial of an application for Open Space or a removal from the Open Space program by the Assessor, you also have 30 days from the date of the mailing of notification.

Should I Contact the Assessor's Office?

Contact the Assessor's Office to review your valuation any time you have a question regarding your property value. Property owners can often settle disagreements at this level without continuing the appeal process. However, you still need to preserve your appeal rights by timely filing your petition with the Board of Equalization. You can withdraw your petition at any time prior to a hearing.

What Information Must I Provide for a Completed Petition?

The petition form has clear directions attached. Your properly completed petition must include specific reasons why you believe that the assessor's valuation is not correct. The amount of tax, the percentage of assessment increase, personal hardship, and other matters unrelated to market value cannot, by law, be considered by the Board.

Include the parcel number of the property you are appealing on. A separate petition must be completed for every individual parcel. Also include the Assessor's determination of value, other appraisal information, your estimate of value, recent sales of comparable properties, or other supporting information for your appeal. Be sure to indicate if you intend to submit additional evidence prior to the hearing.

When Will I Have A Hearing?

The Clerk of the Board of Equalization will notify you of the location, date, and time that your hearing is scheduled. A reasonable accommodation for scheduling is possible. You are not required to be present at your appeal hearing.

What Can I Expect at the Hearing?

You and the Assessor will each have an opportunity to give oral testimony and written evidence in support of your opinions of value. You may cross examine each other and rebut evidence. The hearing is an informal review designed to enable property owners to represent themselves without an attorney. Keep in mind that the Assessor is, by law, presumed to be correct. The burden of proof is on YOU to show that the assessed value is not correct by presenting a standard of "clear, cogent and convincing evidence" to support your estimate of value.

How Soon Will I Receive a Decision from the Board of Equalization?

You will receive a written decision from the Board usually within 60 days of the hearing. The Board can either raise, lower, or sustain the Assessor's value.

What if I'm Not Satisfied With the Board of Equalization's Decision?

You may appeal the County Board's decision to the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals by filing an appeal directly with the State within 30 days of the mailing of the County Board's decision. Forms are available from the Clerk of the Board. You may also pay your property taxes "under protest", (consult with the San Juan County Treasurer's Office for direction) and petition the Superior Court for a refund by filing a lawsuit under Chapter 84.68 RCW.