Real Estate Tax Appeals

by Brad Stout

Notices mailed late March—30 days to appeal
If you haven’t already, you will soon receive your tax valuations for real estate from the County Appraiser’s Office. The mailing of this notice starts the clock running to challenge the valuation of property.

There are two ways to challenge the tax valuation of property. One is by appealing the valuation immediately. You must contact your county appraiser within 30 days from the date the notice of value was mailed. The other way to challenge your property valuation is to file a protest at the time you pay the taxes. You can do one or the other, but cannot do both.

After the appeal or protest has been made, the next step will be an informal meeting with a representative of the county appraiser’s office. You need more of an argument than “My taxes are too high.” An appraisal helps, demonstrating the valuations of comparable properties. Other arguments can be made, depending on the type of property, its use, and the basis for the county’s valuation. If you are dissatisfied with the results of the informal meeting, your next step is to appeal to the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals. You have 30 days from the date the county mails your notice of informal meeting results to file an appeal. Trial before the Court of Tax Appeals is conducted in a manner consistent with rules governing any other trial.

Brad Stout of our office represents commercial property owners in these types of tax appeals. Brad has handled tax challenges for a variety of commercial properties, including: office buildings, shopping centers, movie theatres, and oil and gas leaseholds. He brings two special talents to tax appeals: he’s an experienced trial lawyer and has spent over 15 years working with property valuations in condemnation proceedings throughout the state.

Our representation of property owners is done on either our hourly rate or a contingency fee basis. In the latter, our fee is based on the savings to you. Brad adds additional value because he handles the appeal at both the local level and serves as your attorney if an appeal is taken before the Kansas Court of Tax Appeals.

(Article appeared in Adams Jones April 2009 Newsletter)