The Lewis County Board of Equalization is an independent body of private citizens that hears and decides appeals related to property valuation and other determinations by the Lewis County Assessor. Appointed by the County Commissioners, the Board is established by the laws of Washington State and governed by the Washington State Department of Revenue. The Board of Equalization is committed to ensuring that adequate guidance and information is available to taxpayers in preparing a proper appeal.
Washington State Department of Revenue
The Washington State Department of Revenue website provides extensive information on property taxes including links to publications, forms and applicable laws. You can visit this website at: http://dor.wa.gov/content/taxes/property/. A helpful guide entitled “Appealing your Property Tax Valuation to the County Board of Equalization” can be found in the publications section of this website.
The Appeal Process
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your property valuation, you may contact the Lewis County Assessor’s Office at (360) 740-1392. An assessor’s representative will review your petition and may contact you at your daytime phone number. If you are able to reach an agreement on the true and fair value of the property, you will be offered a form to sign that establishes the new value and withdraws the petition, and no hearing will take place. Filing a timely petition will assure your ability to talk with the Assessor regarding your property values and if need be schedule a hearing with the Board.The completed petition must be filed by July 1st of the assessment year or within 30 days of the date that change of value notices were mailed, whichever date is later.
This process may take anywhere from two to twelve months depending on the number of appeals filed.
Appeal forms can be obtained by contacting Candy Hallom, Clerk of the Board of Equalization (360) 740-1391. The appeal process is informal and does not require an attorney. Washington State law does require that the appellant submit clear, cogent and convincing evidence that the appraised value does not reflect market value. Evidence should include sales of comparable properties in the area, or information on conditions of the property not known to the assessor. If the appellant is not satisfied with the determination made by the Board of Equalization, an appeal can be made to the Washington State Board of Tax Appeals.
- To file an appeal on the assessment of your property, you must complete an appeal petition form with the Lewis County Board of Equalization. A letter or telephone call will not be accepted as a substitute for the appeal petition form.
- The deadline for filing an appeal is July 1st of the assessment year or within 30 days of the date that Change of Value Notices were mailed by the Assessor’s Office, whichever date is later. For the 2016 assessment for taxes payable in 2017 that date is December 23, 2016.
- There is no charge for filing an appeal and an attorney is not required.
- A completed petition must include specific reasons why you believe that the Assessor’s Office is incorrect. Statements that the Assessor’s valuation is too high or property taxes are excessive are not sufficient. You should be specific as to why the assessed values does not reflect market value. Examples might include sales of similar property that reflect a lower value for your property; a recent appraisal of your property; or excessive deterioration of your property.
- You may also note other issues are relevant to your appeal. Comparison of your assessment relative to assessment of other properties, percentage of assessment increase, or other issues of uniformity may be addressed.
- The burden of proof is with you to provide “clear, cogent and compelling evidence” that the set value is incorrect. The Board is very open to hearing your case and concerns, but cannot find in your favor if you do not provide them with evidence to back up your presentation.