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Taxpayers can
protest real estate values

Platte County Assessor David Christian says taxpayers who feel that the valuation of their real estate by the assessor's office is too high have an opportunity to challenge those values.

The assessor's office has mailed notices to any property owner whose assessment for 2013 has been increased over 2012.

Assessments have either stayed the same or decreased for the remaining properties.

Land owners may contact the assessor's office at any time and discuss the valuation with the appraiser who valued their property. At this informal hearing, the taxpayer may provide additional information for the appraiser to consider and get an explanation of how the property was valued from the appraiser.

A taxpayer who is still not satisfied after the informal hearing may appeal to the Platte County Board of Equalization. An appeal to the board of equalization must be filed at the Assessor's office by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 14, or postmarked by Saturday, June 15.

The board is composed of three Platte County taxpayers who will hear the appeals in early July.

The taxpayer may appear in person or through a representative to present information to the board which may raise, lower or decline to change the value of each property. Taxpayers who are dissatisfied with the decision of the board may further appeal to the State Tax Commission by Sept. 30.

Christian noted, “Values placed on real estate by my office are based on fair market value. We have five appraisers on our staff who go through the same training and licensing as private real estate appraisers, but they have a very different job. The appraisers in the assessor's office value over 40,000 parcels with limited information about the property and fewer than 1000 sales per year in the county. A private appraiser makes a thorough inspection of a home and uses five comparable sales for each subject property.”

Christian explained: “At an informal hearing, our appraisers may be able to adjust the valuation based on additional information provided by a homeowner such as an appraisal for refinancing or a sales contract. The assessed value for residential property is 19% of the market value. Commercial property is assessed at 32% of market value.

“State law provides for reassessment only in odd-numbered years. The assessor's staff began working on the 2013 reassessment last summer, reviewing recent sales throughout the county and identifying areas where sales were consistently above or below the values in our records as the top priorities for review,” Christian added.

He said appraisers from the assessor's office then inspected each parcel in these priority areas to determine the accuracy of the information in county records as to the type and square footage of improvements, quality of construction and current condition of the improvements and the topography of the site.

Christian added that the appraisers reviewed the values assigned to the land, calculated depreciated replacement costs of the improvements and confirmed these calculations by comparing them to recent sales in the neighborhood. Each parcel is assessed individually based on the fair market value as of Jan. 1, 2013, without regard to any prior assessed value.