You may have recently received, or will be receiving soon, the annual “Assessor’s Notice of Value.” Those who disagree with the change of value have 30 days to file an appeal with the Board of Equalization (BOE).
The BOE is a quasi-judicial Board, as mandated under state law, comprising of four citizen volunteers: R.A. McKibbin (Chair); Kevin Frankeberger, Ph.D. (Vice-Chair); Deborah Reis, (Member); and Gene Currier, (Alternate). This group is tasked to hear appeals from Mason County property owners per the assessed value of their real property and similar appeals such as forest land, agricultural and senior/disabled reductions. the BOE is totally separate and apart from the Assessor’s Office.
The appraised value of your property, as delineated on the “Notice of Value” is defined by Washington State Statute: “Appraised value is the market value or the amount of money a buyer, willing but no obligated to buy, would pay to a seller who is willing but not obligated to sell.” Those who disagree with the appraised value then have 30 days from the date of mailing to file an appeal.
Chair McKibbin stated, “It is important that an appeal be filed ‘timely.’ It doesn’t have to be complete with all the evidence at the time of filing but it must be received within that 30-day window with few exceptions.”
The form can be found on the BOE’s recently improved webpage: http://www.co.mason.wa.us/equalization/index.php. There is also a new Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section to help citizens. Additional questions should be directed the the board’s clerk, Becky Rogers, at 360-427-9670, extension 419 or 360-275-4467, extension 419; or email: BOE_clerk@co.mason.wa.us.
“Once the two-paged appeal form has been sent to our Clerk,”McKibbin continued, “I’d encourage our citizens to call and have a discussion with the Assessor’s Office at extension 491. Many times concerns per the assessment can be settle at that level without having to appear before the BOE.”
It is anticipated that the BOE will begin hearing cases in December as it does take some time for the process to come together (the Assessor’s answer to the appeal must be prepared, site visits might be needed to the property, the BOE Clerk needs to manage the calendar and so forth.)
Traditionally, the BOE holds hearings on Tuesday and Thursdays in their hearing room, 423 N. Fifth Street in Shelton. Although it is a friendly atmosphere, as this is a quasi-judicial proceeding, certain protocols are in place.
Those appearing will be sworn in, promising to “tel the truth.” Typically, the appellant presents first up to 15 minutes. Then the Assessor’s representative for about 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes of the 45-minute hearing is set aside for the board to ask questions. Board orders are issued within 25 business days.
Mr. McKibbin added, “By state law, the Assessor is presumed correct. For the Board to overrule the Assessor “clear, cogent and convincing” evidence must be presented to the BOE.”
Look at your Notice of Value. If you believe it not to be the market value of your property, exercise your right to be heard but follow the steps.
“All of us on the BOE are homeowners here in Mason County. We are simply here to be sure all of us ‘equally’ share the burden.” McKibbin concluded. “Thus the name: Board of Equalization.”