After many months of strategizing, negotiating, researching, and putting together our cases for our client’s, Cantera Consultants & Advisors Inc. recently settled all of its cases on the controversial apartment property tax lightning cases for 2010 (click here to read the summary).
In a recent (and copyrighted) Albuquerque Journal article, The Bernalillo County Assessor has indicated that she intends to roll back the 2010 values on all apartments that were raised more than 3% over their 2009 values.
If you own an apartment that experienced an increased of more than 3% in value (over 2009), and you did not file a protest by May 20th of 2010, there is one additional option available to reduce your property taxes for 2010 – you can file a claim of refund.
While this is a normal a service we offer our clients for contingency fee, in this unique situation, I believe the work we (and others) have done for our client’s this year has laid the foundation for the remaining apartment owners who haven’t filed to seek a refund.
If you meet the following criteria, you might be able to handle this case yourself:
– If you are the owner of a property not held in a partnership or corporation, you can represent yourself at district court to seek a refund of your property taxes.
– If you have already paid your property taxes, the full amount (not the first half installment)
– If you fill out a claim of refund (again, its more than a form, it is a lawsuit)
– If you file, in person, and pay the filing fee
In New Mexico, a claim of refund is lawsuit against the county, in which you, as the property owner, claim that you have overpaid the county in property taxes.
While I am not an attorney, and cannot offer any legal advice, I have been involved in a handful of claim of refunds and I can tell you that you can go to the district court website at www.nmcourts.gov and search the cases for the name “Karen Montoya” (our current assessor) and request a copy of a claim of refund from the court (you must do so in person, and they will charge you a copy fee) and use it as a model for your claim of refund.
You can also download Chapter 11 of our book “Understanding NM’s Property Tax System -2010 edition” that includes a blank form that we’ve used before. The deadline to file the lawsuit is 60 days after the property tax bills were sent out.
When filling out the form – be sure and look up your property’s property tax bill information at Bernalillo County’s website. Part of the form requires that you calculate what your property tax bill should be (based on 2009 values + 3%) vs. what it was on the actual tax bill.
Most tax consultants, such as our selves, are also working with attorneys and can provide assistance, but this maybe one of the rare situations, where everything has already been resolved (thanks to those owners who filed protest, and there consultants/attorneys who worked through the cases in 2010), that an owner maybe able to simply handle this themselves.
****disclaimer – in case I haven’t made it totally clear – this information is provided as a public service, and it not intended to offer legal or real estate advice. Going to court without legal representation is not a wise idea.
Todd Clarke @ December 28, 2010