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Protesting an Equalization Order

Protesting an Equalization Order

BOARD OF REVIEW SPECIAL SESSION GUIDELINES – SCOTT COUNTY 2019

Read more about the Iowa Department of Revenue issues 2019 equalization order of 21% to Scott County multi-residential property values

IOWA LAW 441.49 IOWA ADMIN RULE 701-71.17

  • When the Iowa Department of Revenue orders an equalization “increase” in assessment values for any class of property, the jurisdiction is required to have a Board of Review special session in the fall.
    • It is not required to have a Board of Review special session for equalization decreases.
  • Equalization order protests can be filed from Oct 9 to Oct 31.
  • Board of Review shall reconvene for special session from Oct 10 to Nov 15
  • During equalization increase special sessions, if no valid protests are filed, the Board of Review is not required to meet.
  • Board of Review can only hear protests that have been timely filed.
  • Board of Review can only hear protests from of properties affected by equalization order.
  • Board of Review can only act on protests from properties “increased” by equalization order.
  • Board of Review cannot take action on any property that has not been validly protested.
    • i.e.: Board cannot act on own initiative or take own action in any way.
  • Protests will be in writing, or filed on official dept of revenue Board of Review special session form only (IDR #56-065A), or filed using assessor’s assessment appeal link on website.
  • Board of Review is not allowed to remove or reduce all orders for an entire class of property.
  • The only ground for protest during special session is that “the application of the department of revenue’s equalization order results in a value greater than fair market value (FMV).”
    • This is essentially a ‘market value’ ground protest, but is different than regular session in that it can only apply to the increase in value due to the equalization order.
    • Board of Review is not allowed to act on protests of the following grounds:    
      • Inequity – subject not comparable to like properties in tax district.
      • Misclassified, non-assessable, or exempt from taxation
      • Error – clerical error in assessment of subject.
      • Fraud – fraud or misconduct in assessment of subject. 
      • Any other ground – (other than “value is greater than FMV due to order”)
  • Board of Review can only adjust property values if the equalized value results in a value greater than fair market value.
    • i.e.: the petitioner must “prove” to Board of Review what the current fair market value of the subject property is (as of Jan 1).
    • Simply requesting the order be removed is not proof of fair market value.
      • Proof of FMV includes; a recent appraisal, historical rent rolls, historical property expenses (expenses incurred by the owner, not the tenants).
  • Board of Review cannot adjust the property value (reduce or remove equalized value) below the value prior to the equalization order.   (i.e.: the value after the spring board of review, which was final on 7/1).
  • Board of Review is required to exercise honest judgement, as provided by law, on all protests before the Board of Review.
  • Board of Review actions are considered final, subject to equalization review by the Director of the Department of Revenue.
    • If Board of Review ‘substantially alters’ the overall total equalization value increase for a certain class of property, the Director has the ability to undo the board of review’s actions and ‘re-equalize’ the entire class of property again.   
    • There is no ‘set standard’ from the dept of revenue of what a ‘substantial reduction’ in value by the Board of Review is. This is at the Director’s discretion.  
    • Board of Review cannot simply, blindly remove or reduce all orders for an entire class of property. 
    • Board of Review must ‘only’ take action to remove or reduce values on individual properties, one at a time, and only if proven by the petitioner that the equalization order increased the subject value in excess of fair market value.
  • After appealing the equalization order through Board of Review first, higher appeal is available to property owners still aggrieved.
Posted: 
October 11, 2019