[r20] Rep. Dermody Notifies Taxpayers of Options for Appeals (2/14/2008)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Start Date: 2/14/2008 All Day
End Date: 2/14/2008

Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) urged property tax-payers to consider all options available to them in the property tax appeals process. Indiana state law outlines varying options available to property tax appellants, hinging on the date they may have filed their appeal.

"Taxpayers have the right to be heard if they believe there has been an error in their assessment," said Rep. Dermody. "I encourage taxpayers who need to appeal their property tax assessment to be aware of the options available to them. If they do choose to file an appeal, they should be sure to be prepared and look to resolve the appeal as early in the process as possible."

LaPorte County Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals President Sherry Ritter-Banic encourages taxpayers to meet with their township assessor before initiating the appeals process. During the formal appeals board hearing, it is important to have all required forms and documentation available. Indiana law does not require taxpayers to submit appraisals to appeal their assessments. The LaPorte County board is currently scheduling additional hearings in an effort to handle the large numbers of appeals waiting to be heard there. Rep. Dermody has suggested that the LaPorte County appeals board add an additional hearing officer from the Department of Local Government Finance to expedite the appeals process.

"I appreciate the great amount of time and effort President Ritter-Banic is putting into improving the property tax appeals process in LaPorte," said Rep. Dermody.

All property tax owners are entitled to an appeal if they disagree with their assessment. An informal review of the assessment occurs at the time of the filing of an appeal. If the initial review does not resolve the appeal, an informal preliminary conference with the county or township assessor is scheduled. Within 10 days after the conference, the county or township assessor must notify the auditor and the appeals board of the results of the conference.

Those who filed an appeal on or before June 30, 2007, and are still waiting on action by the county appeals board may be precluded from appealing to the Indiana Board of Tax Review under old, but still applicable, state law. The applicable law requires the county appeals board to hear a taxpayer's case within 90 days, but does not provide an additional appeals avenue if delays continue beyond the 90 days. Once the case has been heard by the county appeals board, the property taxpayer may petition to the Indiana Board of Tax Review if they believe their appeal was not resolved by the county board. This must be done within 30 days of the county appeals board's determination.

"There are many steps in the property tax appeals process, and I want to make sure property owners are aware of the state statutes that apply to their specific situation," Rep. Dermody said. "There may be further options available to some property taxpayers if their appeal is still waiting to be heard by the LaPorte County appeals board. I want all taxpayers to know that they can contact my office directly if they have any questions on the appeals process."

For those who filed an appeal after June 30, 2007, if more than 180 days have elapsed since the appeal was filed by the taxpayer, and LaPorte County board has yet to hold a hearing, the property tax-payer is entitled to petition the Indiana Board of Tax Review. Additionally, if 120 days have passed since the county board heard the appeal and has not issued a determination on the appeal, the taxpayer may petition the Indiana Board of Tax Review.

Once the Indiana Board of Tax Review gives notice of its determination, the taxpayer may seek a review by the State Tax Court within 45 days of the Indiana Board of Tax Review's determination.

The Department of Local Government Finance launched tools late last year to assist taxpayers in the assessment appeals process. These tools are available on the Department's Web site at www.in.gov/dlgf and enable Hoosiers to search the assessed values for other properties in the area defined as their neighborhood by their assessor. Additionally, the tools allow taxpayers to search sales prices on properties that sold in each county during specific calendar years. This information is submitted to the DLGF by counties, so the most recent assessment information might not be immediately available.

Rep. Dermody encourages constituents to contact him with questions or concerns through e-mail at h20@iga.in.gov, by calling the Statehouse toll-free at 1-800-382-9841 or by writing him at the Statehouse at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.