Is An Online Property Assessment Appeal in Your Future?

By Michael Brady and Richard L. Sanderson

The statements made or opinions express by the authors do not necessarily represent a policy position or views of the International Association of Assessing Officers, or those of the author’s employers.

What are Online Property Assessment Appeal Systems?

Local property assessment appeals are an essential component of effective property tax systems, but the process often takes valuable time and effort on the part of assessment office staff, as well as property owners and tax agents filing appeals. One solution may be online dispute resolution systems especially designed for property assessment appeals. While online dispute resolution (ODR) systems have been around since the early days of the Internet – mostly to resolve e-commerce issues – they have only recently been considered for property assessment appeals.

Research Funded

The International Association of Assessing Officers has recently funded research that will look at several online assessment appeal systems and report on those findings. This important study will be of mutual benefit to local assessors, taxpayers, and tax agents currently using these systems and those who hope to use such systems in the future.

The research study will include surveys and interviews of:

Tax assessors and other property tax administrators offering online assessment appeal systems
Vendors that have developed and implemented such systems
Property owners and tax agents who have used online systems to resolve disputed tax assessments

Identification Phase of Study

We are currently in the process of identifying tax assessment jurisdictions that offer online assessment appeals, as well as firms that have developed and implemented these systems.

Below is a preliminary list of assessment jurisdictions we have found that are using online assessment appeal systems. Please note that we are not including places that only have an online appeal form available. Although the systems we have found vary widely with regard to sophistication and complexity, we believe that an effective online assessment appeal system should provide the ability to submit an appeal form and supporting evidence without requiring follow up with paper forms and other information.

CANADA

British Columbia

USA

Alabama – Baldwin and Montgomery Counties

Arizona – Maricopa County

California – Riverside County, City & County of San Francisco, Santa Clara County, Ventura County

Colorado – City & County of Denver, Larimer County, Colorado Board of Assessment Appeals

District of Columbia – Real Property Tax Appeals Commission

Florida – Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Flagler, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Martin, Nassau, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sarasota, and Volusia Counties

Georgia – Fulton and Gwinnett Counties

Hawaii – City & County of Honolulu

Indiana – Tippecanoe County

Illinois – Cook, Lake, and McHenry Counties

Iowa – Iowa Property Assessment Appeal Board

Kentucky – Boone and Jefferson Counties

Louisiana – Orleans Parish

Missouri – St. Louis County

New Jersey – Burlington, Hudson, Monmouth, and Union Counties

New York – Nassau County

North Carolina – Brunswick, Buncombe, Durham, Franklin & Iredell

Ohio – Ohio Board of Tax Appeals

Tennessee – Davidson & Shelby Counties

Texas – Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Johnson, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis, & Williamson Central Appraisal Districts

Utah – Weber County

Virginia – Arlington County

Washington – King County and Washington State Board of Tax Appeals

The assessment jurisdiction list is being updated continuously, so click here for the latest information. We also want to include locations outside of the U.S. and Canada in our study.

Taxpayer as External User Focus

One of the important features of an effective online assessment appeal system is that it must be designed with the taxpayer in mind. Traditionally technological advancements in a property assessment office focused on internal users (use by data enter clerks, staff appraisers, senior staff of the assessment office, and needed compatibility with appeal body systems).

An online assessment appeal system is a subset of a larger online dispute resolution (ODR) movement that has its roots in traditional consumer disputes from the early days of e-commerce. The research study will not only look closely at the advantages and disadvantages of implementing an online assessment appeal system for assessment jurisdictions, but also for taxpayers and tax agents expected to use the system.

Alachua County, Florida implemented an online system for requests for review of assessments in 2013. According to Wendy M. Sapp, Administrative Analyst with the Alachua County Property Appraisers Office, “Success has been achieved because improving the process of the office entails improving the experience for taxpayers.”

How to Participate

You can participate in this study in several ways. You can comment on this post to share your concerns about OAA systems in general as a local assessor, tax practitioner, or property owner who has not yet used one of these systems.

You can also share your experiences with an existing online assessment appeal system as an assessment jurisdiction, software vendor, or user by completing this brief contact form http://www.taxassessor.net/iaao/. Researchers conducting the study will then get in touch with you for more information about your specific experiences. You can also connect with me or Richard Sanderson and follow along on our research journey in the upcoming months.

About the IAAO

The International Association of Assessing Officers is a nonprofit, educational, and research association. It is a professional membership organization of government assessment officials and others interested in the administration of the property tax. IAAO was founded in 1934, and now has a membership of more than 7,000 members worldwide from governmental, business, and academic communities.

About the Authors

Michael Brady has worked for the City of Ocean City, NJ since 2002 and is currently the Deputy Tax Assessor. He has been a real estate appraiser in southern New Jersey for more than 30 years. Mr. Brady has implemented several assessment change and appeal tracking systems during his tenure with the City of Ocean City.

Richard L. Sanderson is a consultant who regularly shares his insights on local property taxation, real property valuation theories, and promoting best practices in property tax assessment administration. He spent more than 30 years working as an appointed local assessor in Michigan and Virginia, which included attending thousands of assessment appeal hearings.