Property owners in Yellowstone County, Montana, were recently issued new appraisal notices, causing confusion and concern for many. With an average increase of 32 percent in property values, homeowners are facing higher property tax burdens. In this article, we will discuss the process of appealing your property tax assessment in Yellowstone County, providing step-by-step instructions and explaining the importance of understanding your rights as a property owner.
Understanding the Tax Appraisal Process
The appraisal notices sent by the Montana Department of Revenue are based on estimated home values as of January 1st, 2022. These valuations are determined by assessing what your property could have sold for at that time. While higher appraisals generally result in higher property taxes, it’s important to note that the final tax amounts are not set until the end of September or early October, when mill levies are determined.
Discrepancies in the Appraisal Process
While property values may have increased, not all homeowners agree with the state’s handling of property taxes. Andy Ron, the owner of Montana Land Source, a company that tracks land sales, believes that Montana’s heavy reliance on property taxes is flawed. He suggests implementing a sales tax instead, as he feels the current taxation system does not align with the state’s economy.
Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment
If you disagree with the estimated value of your home and believe that it could not have sold for the amount stated in the appraisal notice, you have the right to appeal the assessment. To begin the appeals process, you will need to complete an AB26 form, which can be found on the Montana Department of Revenue’s website.
The AB26 form is a seven-page document, but don’t be intimidated. You only need to complete the first four pages. This form allows you to provide evidence and arguments supporting your claim that the estimated value is inaccurate. It’s important to gather any documentation, such as recent sales of similar properties in your area or any unique features or issues that may affect the value of your home.
Assistance from the Montana Department of Revenue
If you have questions or need guidance during the appeals process, the Montana Department of Revenue is there to help. Paula Gilbert, a representative from the department, states that many property owners in Yellowstone County have already filed appeals. The department has explained the process to them, making them more comfortable with the value presented in the assessment.
It is worth noting that there are currently over three thousand active appeals across Montana. If you plan to join those appealing their property tax assessments, it’s important to be aware that the deadline for filing is July 31st. Failing to meet this deadline may result in a missed opportunity to reassess your property value.
The Outcome of Appealing Your Property Tax Assessment
Although appealing your property tax assessment does not guarantee a decrease in taxes, it provides an opportunity to challenge the estimated value. The outcome of the appeal will depend on various factors, such as the evidence and arguments presented, as well as the local real estate market conditions.
As property owners in Yellowstone County, Montana, face significant increases in property taxes due to recent appraisals, it is crucial to understand your rights and options. By appealing your property tax assessment, you can challenge the estimated value and potentially lower your tax burden. Remember to gather supporting evidence, complete the necessary documents, and file your appeal before the July 31st deadline. Contact the Montana Department of Revenue for guidance throughout the process. Together, we can ensure a fair and equitable property tax system in Yellowstone County.