Property Review & Appeal
Property owner participation and education is key to a fair system of taxation. My goal is to ensure all taxpayers are aware of their rights and to make the process efficient and easily understood by the property owner.
Wyoming Statute 39-13-103 directs that all property will be listed, valued and assessed as of January 1st of each year. Notices of Value must be mailed to all property owners on or before the 4th Monday of April. Albany County aims to mail on the 1st or 2nd Wednesday of April every year.
Wyoming Statute 39-13-109(b)(i) requires persons wishing to contest their assessment to file, not later than 30 days after the date of the Notice of Value, a statement with the Assessor outlining their reason or disagreement with the assessment. The Assessor and Petitioner must disclose witnesses and exchange information, evidence and documents relevant to the appeal no later than 30 days prior to the scheduled County Board of Equalization hearing. Hearings are typically scheduled mid-August to early-September. The County Board of Equalization must have a written decision by October 1st.
Notices of Value mailed by the Assessor’s Office contain the legal description of the property, the estimated fair market value, the assessed value, and estimated tax for the current year and the year prior. When the property owner receives the notice it should be opened immediately and reviewed.
Particular attention should be paid to the "Total Valuation used to Calculate Tax". Does it represent what the property would have been worth if sold on January 1st of that year? If the value is within reason and no other errors are noted on the notice, further action is not required. However, if you disagree with the value, contact the Assessor’s Office as soon as possible to initiate the review process.
When the property owner contacts the office, the account is reviewed and all characteristics of the property are checked for accuracy. This includes:
- Construction type
- Finished area
- Out buildings
- Square foot size, etc.
In cases where the property has buildings, an interior/exterior field inspection by County Assessor staff is required and an appointment will be set.
During this review, the property owner may provide any information they would like to have considered such as appraisals, market analysis, special conditions or influences they feel may affect the property value. The owner should provide what they believe to be the market value as of January 1st for the property in question.
When available, the Assessor's Office uses sales data from prior year(s) to arrive at market value. In cases where sales were used, the property owner will have the option to review the sales. Keep in mind Wyoming is a non-disclosure state and it is only during this 30-day appeal period that the Assessor's Office can release the sale prices used to determine the value of your property.
Under Wyoming Statute 34-1-142, sales information is not a "Public Record" and must be kept confidential. Persons receiving sales information may not disclose it to other individuals. Property owners may disclose this information to the County Board of Equalization in conjunction with any hearing. Due to the confidentiality of the sales information the property owner must sign an affidavit before review.
Completion of Review
Upon completion of the review the property owner will receive by mail or phone:
- An Amended Notice of Value reflecting updated market value and estimated tax amount for that tax year, or
- Notification that no changes have been made
Once the review process is complete, if the property owner feels the value of their property is still incorrect, he/she may file a formal appeal to be heard in front of the County Board of Equalization. The formal appeal form must be returned to the Assessor's Office within 30 days of the date on the last Notice of Value. The appeal should include the location of the property, the reason for the appeal, and what the property owner believes the property to be worth.
The Assessor's Office will mail the Petitioner a packet of information including County Board of Equalization practices and procedures, rules and regulations from the Department of Revenue and the State Board of Equalization. The County Clerk will notify the Petitioner of the time and date of the hearing.
An appeal may be withdrawn at any time by written notification to the Clerk's and Assessor's Offices.
Order of Proceedings
A general order of proceedings follows:
- A hearing time/date is set and the Petitioner is notified by mail by the County Clerk.
- The County Assessor and the Petitioner must disclose witnesses and exchange information, evidence, and documents relevant to the appeal no later than 30 days prior to the hearing. This includes anything that is to be presented as evidence during the hearing.
- The County Commissioners serve as the County Board of Equalization. Other persons attending the hearing will include the:
- Hearing Officer
- Parties to the appeal - (County Attorney represents the County Assessor)
- Recording secretary
- Secretary to the board - (County Clerk)
- The Petitioner is first to present evidence or witnesses. Any testimony presented may be questioned by the Assessor, the Assessor's attorney, or member(s) of the board.
- The Assessor or a deputy presents evidence or witnesses. The testimony may be questioned by the Petitioner, his/her agent, or member(s) of the board.
- After all testimony and evidence is presented, a brief closing statement may be made by each side.
- The County Board of Equalization will notify participants in writing of their findings and any appeal action available to them no later than October 1st.