Douglas County must raise property valuations of homeowners by 7 percent in a large swath of central and west Omaha, a state tax equalization commission ruled today.
The county also must decrease residential property values by 8 percent in most of northeast Omaha.
The changes would affect Douglas County valuations for property tax purposes for the 2016 tax year. The Nebraska Department of Revenue analyzed the preliminary values that had been set by Douglas County Assessor/Register of Deeds Diane Battiato for 2016 and considered some areas to be outside the range allowed by state law.
To meet the constitutional requirement for uniform taxation across the state, Nebraska law requires that residential, industrial and commercial valuations be within 92 percent to 100 percent of market value. The acceptable range for agricultural land is 69 percent to 75 percent of market value. The state is not taking issue with the industrial, commercial or agricultural valuations
With seven percent increases across the board, I suspect there will be many homeowners who feel their property tax assessment is too high. Are you stuck paying those rates? Does this mean that because of increasing real estate values, some residents because of their age or income won’t be able to pay the increasing taxes? With home prices rising across Omaha, will there be a revolt against rising property taxes rise like that which has occurred in California, Oregon, etc.
If you decide to appeal, what specific things do you need to do to appeal?
According to NOLO, to successfully challenge the taxable value, you’ll need to establish at least one of the following facts:
If you establish any one of these, the first step is to Confer with the tax assessor. If you have convincing evidence that the tax assessor has overvalued your home, he or she may agree to change the value. If that happens, you won’t need to pursue an administrative appeal.
Pursue an appeal. If you can’t reach agreement with the tax assessor, you can appeal the valuation. Here’s where to appeal and useful evidence for doing so:
You can file a written protest with the county clerk by June 30. Call the tax assessor’s office for details on what paperwork you need to submit. The county board of equalization will conduct a hearing at which it will consider your evidence. In most counties, the hearing will take place on or before July 25. In Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties, the board may hear cases through August 10.
What if don’t agree with the board’s decision? You can appeal to the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission. In most counties, you must appeal on or before August 24. In Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy counties, you have until September 10.
Here you might have a problem because it is this board that told Douglas County that it was in violation of the Nebraskan Constitution.
But just in case you get to appear before the board, several types of evidence may be useful, including:
At the hearing, you’ll probably have just five or ten minutes to present your case, so be succinct. Bring extra copies of your documentary evidence so that each hearing officer has a copy. Try to include a chart showing comparative sales prices and taxable values. You may want to arrive early so that you can observe – and learn from – other people’s hearings.
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