On the 30th of January, 2012 our firm had a formal property tax protest hearing in front of the Bernalillo County property tax protest board.
The hearing took approximately 2 and 1/2 hours and the Bernalillo County assessor was represented by one commercial appraiser, one residential appraiser, the head of the residential department, as well as the county assessor.
We framed ourside of that case that this was not a not a decision of “value”, but rather implementation of the law and that the assessor’s office had not been executing the current laws consistently for all apartments. The assessor’s office framed their case as one of “value”, and we stipulated to the assessor’s updated value if the board found in favor of the assessors (this means that your property will receive a reduction either way, the only question is how much of a reduction).
Since we had close to a dozen apartment property tax lightning cases that had the same issue, we respectfully requested that the board here the arguments for all property’s and implement them individually on each property (this allowed the board to hear a dozen cases in 2.5 hours vs. 30 hours).
The outline document that is attached served as our narrative as we walked the formal property tax board through the following steps:
– demonstrate that your property is classified as residential
– demonstrate that your property had experienced more than a 3% increase
– demonstrate that other counties have been executing the law with no more than a 3% increase
– demonstrate that the Bernalillo County assessor’s office lost apartment tax lighting cases in 2010
– pull apart the logic underlying the assessor’s case as to why apartments should be treated different than single family homes
– pull apart the logic underlying the assessor’s case as to why apartments should be treated the same whether they are owner occupied or not
– share with the board the stipulated agreement we negotiated with the county in 2010
– remind the board of former board decisions that have found in favor of the apartment owner
– remind the board of former district court decisions that have found in favor of the apartment owner
Finally, we were able to get one of the appraisers to testify that the assessor’s office had a policy of rolling back apartments to the 3% over previous years value, but only in cases that had been previously protested, which demonstrated an uneven application of the law.
The assessor’s office presentation was focused entirely on how they had arrived at the value for the protest.
Unofficially, we have been informed from 3 different sources (including the assessor’s office) that we have prevailed in these cases, but as of this date, have not received written confirmation. As soon as we do, I will forward a copy for your files as well as an invoice showing the new value. The treasurer should then have their records updated prior to the May 2012 payment window.
If you would like a refresher on how our county got to where we are on apartment values – you can find a series of updates on our website at http://www.toddclarke.net/?s=property+tax, with the most detailed explanation at http://www.toddclarke.net/?p=969 .
Please email me if you would like to receive copies of the outline and/or the exhibits presented.
Todd Clarke @ March 3, 2012