Skip to main content
King County logo

Petitioners Ask Three Very Good Questions

Answers to why your petition could be denied – Common Invalid reasons to appeal

1. Why aren’t assessed values of my neighbor’s property good evidence to show my property is over assessed?

Answer: The Board of Equalization can only make a determination of fair market value and has no direct knowledge about the validity of other property assessed value. Since the Board is independent from the Assessor and none of the members are county employees, they have no idea if the neighbor’s property value is correct or not so comparison has little meaning to the Board. Your neighbors may be appealing their value too or may have applied for and been granted an exemption that makes their assessed value less than fair market value. The Board just has no way of knowing if the property assessed values you are using for comparison represent the fair market value of those properties. Thus, assessed values are not evidence of fair market value.

2. Why does the Board disregard evidence showing a value or percentage of value increase greater than what experts say is normal or reasonable?

Answer: Much like the answer above, the Board has no way to know if the pervious value was the fair market value of your property since assessed values are not evidence of fair market value. Only market evidence can prove that the assessed value you are appealing is erroneous and that market evidence can also show what value is correct. Value and percentage increase information is just not evidence of fair market value, which is the question the Board must be able to answer to change the assessed value. In addition, the assessed value can be shown to be erroneous when the petitioner can show that there were defects the Assessor was not aware of that affect the value of the property; this usually done with photos, reports, and/or cost to repair estimates from contractors or other third parties.

3. Why can’t I limit my appeal to the value of the improvements? The land value is OK but the improvements changed a lot and I have not made any improvements.

Answer: The term “improvement” generally means the value of the buildings and is not intended as a statement that something has been improved since the previous assessment. And, property taxes are levied on the basis of the total value of the property, not a portion of the value. Thus the total property value is the subject of the appeal and what the Board is charged by law to determine. Proving that a portion of the value is too high can often lead to an increase in the value of the other portion unless it is shown that the total value is erroneous. When sales of comparable property are the basis of the valuation and the property appraised is land with a building/structure it is unlikely that there will be sales of just building/structures separate from land. Sales of vacant land and sales of land with structures tend to be the evidence of value available to appraisers. When that is the case they may appraise the land and also appraise the property as improved with building/structures. The “improvement” value is then the residual or difference between the two appraisals rather than the result of an appraisal of the improvements.