What is an Abatement?

An abatement is an assessment appeal process that occurs when, generally, there must be either an error in the physical data of your property or the assessment must not be proportional to other properties.

Reasons for Abatement Application

An abatement may be granted for "good cause shown". Generally, this means a disproportionate assessment or an assessment based on an error, but it can also include other reasons. The fact that property taxes may be considered to be "too high" is not adequate grounds to justify an abatement. The amount of tax is not subject to appeal since the local legislative bodies, through the budget process, determine the amount of money needed to fund local government operations.

Supporting Your Application
If your request is based on other reasons, please be prepared to state them with specificity. If the application is based on a disproportionate assessment, the taxpayer has the burden to prove disproportionality. Therefore, state with specificity all the reasons supporting your application. Statements such as "taxes too high" or "assessment exceeds market value" are insufficient.

Generally, specificity requires the taxpayer to present material on the following (all may not apply):
  • Physical data: incorrect description or measurement of the property. To verify the physical data on which your most recent property tax bill was based, please go to "Assessment Data". After accessing the summary page of your property's data, other data specific to your property can be accessed by selecting the tabbed categories and the sub-categories at the top of the page. If you find there is incorrect assessment data listed, this incorrect data should be listed in your abatement application.
  • Market data (Compared with the level of assessment): The property's value on the April 1, 2015 assessment date for the 2015 tax year, exceeds the ratio of assessment to sales of all valid comparable property sales from October, 2014 to September 30, 2015 (6 months prior to and following the date of assessment, April 1, 2015). Assessments were updated in 2013 and the ratio for that year was 96.0%. The ratio for 2015 will be known sometime in March, 2016.
If the reason is market data, this should be supported by comparable sales (see "Property Sales Lookup") i.e. no foreclosures, bank re-sales, etc., or for income-producing properties, by an income analysis. A professional appraisal report (according to USPAP) is also very good evidence to provide however if this appraisal has not been done for purposes of an abatement, the City would not be listed as an "intended user". In most cases the appraisal has been done for refinancing or for purchase of the property, in which case the intended user is a bank or financial institution and the taxpayer has been provided a copy of that appraisal. Due to USPAP rules, the appraisal report cannot be used for other than the intended purpose listed in the report. In order to allow us to use the appraisal in defense of the abatement, the taxpayer must provide this office with written authorization from the lender as well as the individual appraiser (if permission is granted from the lender) allowing us to utilize the appraisal for the abatement application. If we do not receive these authorizations within 30 days after the abatement is submitted, your abatement application will still be processed and your assessment evaluated based on current market data.

Burden of Proof
Please note that the burden of proof that your assessment is incorrect lies with you, the taxpayer. To carry this burden, you must show what the property was worth on April one of the year appealed. This value and the assessment will then be compared to recently sold properties in the City. Therefore, comparable sales are an essential part of most appeals. It is required that you provide in writing all evidence of your claim. This information is essential for the Board of Assessors to review your claim. A blank form or a simple statement of "we feel we are over taxed" will result in a denial based on insufficient evidence. The taxpayer needs to show why the assessment is wrong, and how the assessment has resulted in the taxpayer paying a disproportionate share of taxes.