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How to Appeal Your Portland Property Tax Valuation

If you’re thinking about your financial picture since it’s the end of the year, one of the things you might be thinking about is property taxes. Here’s everything you need to know about appealing them if you feel that your property’s valuation is wrong. Important note: your appeal must be postmarked or delivered by December 31st, so the time is coming fast!

Receiving and Reviewing Your Property Tax Notice

Multnomah County tax bills are mailed by October 25th of each year. Carefully review all of the information on your bill. If you have any questions or concerns, make a list of them.

Multnomah County’s Department of Assessment and Taxation asks that you contact the office via live chat, phone, or email for more information about how your property value was determined before you actually file an appeal. The appraisers can help you understand your value and give you more information that may help you determine whether or not an appeal is a smart move.

Reasons to Appeal Your Property Valuation

There are three reasons why you can file an appeal:

Value: You can appeal your property’s Real Market Value (RMV), Specially Assessed Value (SAV), or Assessed Value (AV) for the current year. This includes business property, floating property, and also manufactured structures. In this case, you’re asking for a reduction in the value of your property.

Exception Event: If you’ve updated or remodeled your property and you think that the Assessor has increased your property’s value to be too high, you can appeal the amount of the increase that is associated with the improvements you’ve done to your property.

Penalty: If you disagree with a penalty you were assessed because you filed your taxes late, you can ask to have the penalty waived. The penalty is only waived under extraordinary circumstances like an illness or disability which meant that you couldn’t pay taxes or because misinformation provided by county taxation or assessment staff made your property tax return late. Penalty appeals can be filed with this form.

Filing a Property Valuation Appeal

This section will deal with the first two situations above (value and exception event appeals).

Remember, all appeals must be delivered or postmarked by December 31st, or they will be dismissed.

  • Fill out this form and include the $30 filing fee. You must either be the owner or prove that you’re otherwise obligated to pay the taxes on the property.
  • Decide whether or not you or a representative of you will attend at the hearing. If you don’t attend, the Board of Property Tax Appeals will make a decision about your property without you there.
  • Include the RMV you’re appealing and the RMV you’re requesting. This amount should be what you think your property was worth on the open market as of January 1 of the current year. You can appeal either the total value of your property or the value of components (including land, machinery, buildings, and manufactured structures).
  • If you’ve recently remodeled or added to your property, address it in the Changes to Property section of the form.
  • Attach all evidence you have for your appeal, as it’s your responsibility to prove the original assessment wrong. This brochure includes helpful information about the types of evidence that can lead to a successful appeal. Note that pieces of evidence (pictures, appraisals, etc.) will not be returned to you.

The Appeal Process

Hearings will take place between the first Monday in February through April 15th. You’ll be notified so you or your representative can attend.

If you disagree with the decision from the Board of Property Tax Appeals hearing, you can appeal the decision to the Magistrate Division of the Oregon Tax Court by filing a written complaint. The assessor can also appeal the board’s decision. You have 30 days to file a complaint with the court after the board’s order is mailed or delivered to you. You can download appeal forms at http://www.courts.oregon.gov/.

You can appeal the magistrate decision to the Regular Division of the Oregon Tax Court. File your complaint with the court clerk within 60 days after the magistrate’s decision. The tax court clerk will give you a trial date and time. You will likely want to be represented by a lawyer during this formal proceeding.

Any further appeals about your property tax valuation must go to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Limitations on Appeals

There are several limitations on property tax appeals that you should keep in mind, including:

  • Hardship isn’t a factor in establishing value.
  • Although property taxes are based on value, you’re not actually appealing the amount of tax you owe, just your property’s value. A reduction in the Real Market Value of your property may not actually reduce the tax you owe.
  • You can only appeal values for the current year.
  • Lack of normal property maintenance is not a basis for appeal.
  • You can’t appeal tax rates or the tax system.

If you have any questions about your property’s value, I’d be happy to help! These can be complicated questions to figure out, so don’t be hesitant to reach out.