Connecticut real property tax appeal season is rapidly approaching. The Grand Lists of Connecticut municipalities are stressed by Connecticut’s continued economic struggles and declining state aid. Property owners are stressed due to increasing real property tax burdens accompanied by a variety of other economic challenges. By statute, February 20 is the deadline to appeal to your Town’s Board of Assessment Appeals. Although the process can seem intimidating, Ciulla & Donofrio are here to provide expert legal advice to guide you through the process. Jeff Donofrio has nearly 30 years of experience prosecuting and defending tax appeals related to all types of properties – commercial, industrial and residential. There are five essential points you should be aware of before filing your property tax appeal in Connecticut. Here is what you need to know:
- How the assessment is determined- Every five years, municipalities are required to undertake a mass appraisal process called revaluation. Revaluation is intended to assure that real properties are valued based on their current true and actual value (market value).
- Fair Market Value of your property- There are three approaches to determine the fair market value of your property. The first is cost approach. This is typically for properties that are new construction or have a special use. The second is the sales comparison approach, which can be used for all types of properties but is especially common for residential properties. The third is the income capitalization approach, which is used for properties that generate income.
- Process for appealing your assessment- By February 20th you must file your appeal with the Board of Assessment Appeals (some towns obtain a 30-day extension of the deadline but do not assume the deadline has been extended unless you have specific evidence of the extension). You will then receive a letter from the town notifying you of your hearing date and you will be required to appear for a brief and informal hearing with a member of the local Board of Assessment Appeals. After your hearing, you will receive a notice in the mail stating informing you whether your appeal was accepted or denied. If your appeal was denied, or you are not satisfied with the amount of the reduction you received, you have 2 months from the date of the notice of decision to appeal to Connecticut Superior Court.
- The issue in a tax appeal is not whether your taxes are too high; rather, the issue is the fair market value of your property. You cannot appeal if you think your taxes are too high
- Costs to appeal- Costs include legal fees, appraisal fees and court costs. We can explain and discuss different fee alternatives to assist you in your decision making process.
Listen to Jeff Donofrio cover these topics in depth by clicking on the podcast below: