The meeting with the assessor or open book session can be helpful. Perhaps there was an erroneous description of the property or an arithmetical mistake. These errors are correctable by the assessor very easily.
For other changes, the owner should ask the assessor to explain the procedure used in arriving at the assessment. The assessor should have detailed records and other information to do this. If a taxpayer, after talking with the assessor, still feels the property is not equitably assessed compared with similar property in the municipality, the next step is to appeal the assessment.
While each assessment of real estate is divided between the value of land and the value of improvements, only the total value can be appealed. In making the decision to appeal, the owner should be aware of the following:
- The assessor's value is presumed correct unless proven otherwise
- The board of review may change an assessment based only on evidence presented to it by the taxpayer or his or her representative
- The evidence must be factual in nature, not just a matter of opinion
- A small percent difference between the market value as established by the assessor and the taxpayer's idea of value usually is not sufficient to warrant a change by the board of review
Finally, a property owner who previously had refused the assessor's written request to view the property is not eligible to protest the resulting assessment.