Homeowners in Pennington County recently received their property tax assessments and there were many assessments that jumped up significantly. Some people may want to contest their assessed value. There are quite a few things to understand before moving ahead with an appeal. First, you must be aware of the timelines.
Pennington County provides the following information regarding appeals:
A notice of appeal for a property located within a city, town, or organized township must be submitted in writing to the clerk of the township no later than the Thursday preceding the third Monday in March. The appeal will then be heard by that local township at a public meeting. If the property owner is not satisfied with the decision of that board, an appeal can be submitted in writing to the County Auditor no later than the first Tuesday in April. If the property is located outside of any local municipality, this would be the first step in the appeal process. The appeal will then be heard by the County Board of Equalization at a public meeting. Please include a phone number with all written correspondence.
It’s important to understand that even though you may not like the amount of property tax that you are paying, you cannot use this as a forum for making that argument. Typically, you must make your voice be heard when budget discussions are going on at the city and county level. As a former elected official for Rapid City, I voted consistently against tax increases. Unfortunately, I was always in the minority. But I digress…
If you are unhappy with your assessed value, you must look at it objectively. In a nutshell, the question is whether or not your home is as valuable as the county assessment indicates.
As an example, a home was formerly assessed at $225,900 and the new assessed value is 25% higher…at $282,375. If the home is actually worth $282,375 or more there is no point in trying to argue the assessment. In this scenario, if the home is actually valued at $300,000 then a person appealing their 25% increase could actually end up with a 33% increase to their assessed value and have it revised to be $300,000.
So, you want to make sure that your home’s actual value is less than your assessed value if you are going to appeal an assessment decision.
Keep in mind that most times county assessors are usually only looking at the outside of a home (unless you’ve let them inside for their assessment). If your home needs significant work inside but looks really nice outside, there is a better likelihood that it will be valued higher than it is actually worth.
In the county’s defense, property values have increased significantly over the past 10 years and many property assessments had been lagging behind.
If you are going to appeal your assessment, you want to be prepared and have as much objective information as possible. If you had an appraisal done recently or you purchased the home for much less recently, that would be very helpful. I have helped people by providing a comparative market analysis (CMA) on their home to give a person a better idea of the current market value of their home. Sometimes the results can be surprising.
Here is a link to Pennington County’s assessment appeal process:
If you are on a fixed income, disabled, or a senior citizen, you may qualify for a tax freeze. The various criteria for a tax freeze are pretty strict and has several qualifiers including one that the home must be valued at less than $100,000. Additionally, there are income guidelines.
There is also a property tax refund that may be available depending on income. To learn more, visit the South Dakota state website at: https://atg.sd.gov/victim/seniors/taxes.aspx
As always, if you are looking at buying or selling a home or if there is anything else that I can help you with, please give me a call at (605) 593-3759.