A Formal Appeal begins when a property owner schedules to go before their local Board of Equalization. At this level, all decisions affecting the appraisal of a property are made outside of the Assessor’s office. The order of a Formal Appeal is:
Taxpayers must typically first appeal a disputed valuation or classification to the local county board of equalization. The Assessor’s office provides an informal review, which can sometimes expedite a solution and prevent the need for an appeal. However, informal review is not an appeal and taxpayers must appeal to the county board of equalization should they wish to preserve their rights to appeal further.
The Board of Equalization is a panel of five to seven persons empowered to hear complaints of a taxpayer and make certain changes to disputed assessments. Board members are selected from various professions and locations around Sequatchie, in an attempt to provide a large variety of experience and association with all property owners. Notice of the decision and action of the county board will be sent to the taxpayer who may accept or appeal the decision.
Should a taxpayer disagree with a decision of a county board of equalization the taxpayer may appeal to the State Board of Equalization for a hearing and determination by an administrative law judge. An appeal to the State Board must be filed before August 1st of the tax year, or within forty-five days of the date on the local board’s action, whichever is later. While there is no specific timeframe for when a hearing will be scheduled before an administrative law judge, the taxpayer and Assessor will receive a notice approximately thirty days in advance of any scheduled hearing.
An Initial Decision and Order regarding a taxpayer’s appeal will be issued by the administrative judge within ninety days of the hearing. A taxpayer has thirty days from the date of the Initial Decision and Order to appeal to the Assessment Appeals Commission, otherwise the appeal becomes the final decision of the State Board of Equalization.
Should a taxpayer disagree with the Initial Decision and Order of the administrative law judge, the taxpayer may appeal to the Assessment Appeals Commission. The Assessment Appeals Commission is a panel of three or more experienced property tax professionals who may affirm the decision of the administrative law judge or remand the case for further proceedings. The Assessment Appeals Commission may reverse or modify the decision if the rights of the petitioner have been prejudiced because the administrative findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions are:
The Assessment Appeals Commission will issue a Final Decision and Order within ninety days of the hearing. If the State Board of Equalization does not elect to review the decision of the commission the decision becomes final forty-five days from the date is it entered.
A party who desires the State Board of Equalization to review a decision of the Assessment Appeals Commission must file a written petition with the Executive Secretary of the State Board within fifteen days from date of the Final Decision and Order. Review by the State Board of Equalization is permissive only and is not guaranteed. Parties who petition for review by the board will be notified if their petition is granted.
A taxpayer wishing for judicial review of a final action of the State Board of Equalization must file a petition with the chancery court in the county where the disputed assessment was made, or in an appropriate chancery court within sixty days from when the order of the State Board of Equalization becomes final.