Property Tax Appeal Process
During the year of the reappraisal or any year of the reappraisal cycle, a taxpayer may appeal the appraised value of his property. The taxpayer may appeal any property valuation in the county, so long as the taxpayer owns property in the county.
In many cases, the first step is to contact the tax office informally and seek to resolve the difference without filing a formal appeal. If the appeal cannot be settled informally, the taxpayer may appeal to the local Board of Equalization and Review, which begins its deliberations around the first week in April. The board of county commissioners may comprise the Board of Equalization and Review or the county commissioners may appoint a special board to handle the appeals. This level of the appeal process is more formal, with the taxpayer being allotted a specific amount of time to present his case and the county also having time to present its side. The Board of Equalization and Review may choose to decide the appeal immediately or choose to delay its decision and deliberate further. The taxpayer should receive a copy of this decision in writing.
If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the decision of the local board, he may appeal to the State Board of Equalization and Review, known as the Property Tax Commission. The Commission meets monthly in Raleigh to decide questions on valuation and exemption. The Commission is a trial court. Like any trial court, it is required to follow the North Carolina Rules of Evidence. When the taxpayer appeals, the taxpayer has the burden of proof. Individual taxpayers may present their own cases, but are encouraged to hire an attorney. Corporate taxpayers are required to have an attorney. The Commission will render its decision within a short time, based upon the greater weight of the evidence. Evidence is usually presented as sworn testimony and/or documents. The county has the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses. The taxpayer may appeal a decision of the Property Tax Commission to the state Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, but those bodies may choose to not hear the case as the grounds for appeal are more limited.
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